Reflections on DrupalCon Denver 2012
Having just returned last week from a trip to the annual North American DrupalCon in Denver, I wanted to reflect a bit on the importance of the events of the week. First of all, I'm grateful to MCN for sending Joe Stewart and me to the conference for yet another opportunity to further our education and network amongst our peers. This was my second DrupalCon and Joe's third, and it seems to get better every year. For those of you who may be new to the concept, I've posted some highlights below.
From the top-tier keynote speakers (Drupal creator Dries Buytaert, Mozilla's Mitchell Baker and Mobile First writer Luke Wrobleski) to the three days of sessions, the opportunity for learning was ever-present. The sessions ranged from introductory to advanced, from business development to Drupal core conversations. Whether you attended as a designer/developer new to Drupal, an entrepeneur seeking to start a Drupal company or are one of the key people in moving Drupal forward as a software into the future, there was plenty to fill your time. Even as I become more seasoned with Drupal camps and conferences, I still find myself gleaning a lot, particularly from the Core Conversations (tracks pertaining to Drupal core) and Birds of a Feather (impromptu group conversations) available.
One of the first things you notice at a Drupal camp or conference is the incredible feeling of community. Even with 3,100+ attendees this year at DrupalCon Denver, that feeling remained consistent. Although I have built up a few years of relationships in the community, it never ceases to amaze me how easy it is to make new friends and even connect with some of the most "famous" people in the Drupal community throughout the week. I have never felt like there were cliques or echelons in the community, which is something that is hard to come by in most groups of people. If you want to learn or work, everyone is there to encourage and help you along, which leads me to my final highlight...
Joe and I both took part in this year's coding sprint the Friday following sessions. Although Joe has helped in the past, this was a first for me and was probably my favorite experience of the week - and not even because I offered a lot of help myself. Instead, it was purely the reality of sitting in the same room with some of the brightest minds in the community sharing and working toward the same final goal, improving the Drupal experience, that really got to me. Looking around and watching as Drupal's founder, core maintainers, some of the most important contributors, friends and colleagues giving their valuable time to the project was genuinely inspiring to witness.
In case you were wondering, this is most definitely my shameless plug for attending DrupalCon. It has become one of the highlights of my year, and I believe it is a key element to being involved in the entire Drupal experience. And one of the many side perks - you get to do some pretty exciting things, like go hiking in the Rockies. :)