Thoughts on NodeConf 2013, 4-Square, and The Auld Triangle
In a way, the bus ride 90 minutes north of San Francisco set the table for what the attendees had in store for the 4 days we’d spend in the hills of Marin County. There were introductions, stories swapped, jokes made, and sights to be seen. But the most significant part of the bus ride was that most of the attendees were all experiencing it together.
NodeConf was a markedly different Conference. For the first time in 2013, NodeConf Summer Camp and NodeConf proper were merged into a single event at the fantastic Walker Creek Ranch north of San Francisco in Marin County.<!-- more -->
Instead of traditional presentations, the sessions were classroom focused with core contributors and community members running them. Everyone had an unique schedule to maximize meeting new people, and getting exposure to a number of different topics.
The sessions were great, if only because of how broad the topics were, but it was what happened outside of the conference schedule that made NodeConf shine for me.
Most of the conferences I’ve attended have been more formal in nature. At a convention center or hotel, with sessions running during the standard working day, and usually ending at a reasonable hour in the evening. Even when these conferences host parties or evening activities, there’s an inevitable scattering at five or six o’clock that results in most groups coalescing around already established relationships.
In contrast, NodeConf had a “captive" audience. The result of this was a fantastic inter-mingling of folks that might not otherwise spend time getting to know one another.
For example, during nearly every open period, games of 4-square broke out. Who knew that 4-square would be an unifying force in the Node community? At one point on the final night we had three games going simultaneously, but it wasn’t about the game as much as it was building new and strengthening existing relationships.
In the end, NodeConf was community building at it’s finest, and is exactly what makes me so excited for future of Node, our community, and gets me motivated to take part in shaping where things go from here.
As the lead node.js Developer Advocate for the Developer Relations Group, Ken spends most of his time developing Rackspace's node.js plans and code contributions. A recently appointed core commiter on pkgcloud, Ken joined Rackspace in March of 2013 after 2 years at Clipboard and almost 9 years at Microsoft. Follow Ken on twitter at http://twitter.com/kenperkins