Open Source

Day 18: DrupalCon Tips

Inspired by poettersbetters' article on prepping for DrupalCon, I thought I would share a few tips of my own. I used to plan conferences professionally and I've seen a lot. There are people who show up and drag their way through the day, perking up only for coffee and snacks. There were also people who showed up and killed it–walking in with friends, learning a ton, leaving with new friends, handing out business cards left and right–it was like there were two conferences going on at the same time: one where everything was boring, terrible and isolating, and one where you were hanging out with friends and peers, revitalizing your network and generally having a great time. I suggest you choose to spend most of your time at the latter conference–you can always check out and go back to the terrible conference at any time.

Before the conference

  • Plan your party schedule, at least a little. Trivia night is ridiculous and if you stay long enough, vendors will give you all the stuff they don't want to take home.
  • Related: Leave room in your suitcase for swag.
  • Add all the sessions you're interested in to your calendar. Make sure to look at the BoF schedule.
  • Update your website & social media profiles. You're gonna be making friends. Many of the friends you make will start on Twitter so, you know, be up-to-date about it.
  • Review your goals. For me, this is kind of a huge investment and I need to get some specific things out of it. Knowing what I want before I get there helps me make quicker decisions and saves me some thought-molecules. You will need those little thought-molecules, because DrupalCon is crazy. It is full of All the People, All the Sessions, All the Drinks, etc.
  • Look suspiciously at everyone at the airport. There are very likely some Drupal types in your very midst! Look for clues: Beards, Drupal t-shirts, etc. Bonus: wear a drupal t-shirt to and from the con so people have an excuse to talk to you.
  • Re-up your DA membership so the little badge appears on your actual badge. Cool kids support open source projects.

At the conference

  • Bring a spare phone battery. ALL the wall plugs will be full, all the time.
  • Bring a warm layer. Even in New Orleans.
  • Coffee comes AFTER the keynote so be prepared.
  • I've always liked Twitter, but DrupalCon made Twitter into a whole different experience. Use whatever your favorite social media app is and follow #drupalcon.
  • Bring so many business cards and also a sharpie with which to write on them.
  • Susan Rust is good. Jeff Eaton is good. MortenDK is good.
  • Go to at least one BoF. Just do it. You will meet lots of people there and have an incredibly in-depth conversation that most people are totally disinterested in. They don't record them so this is your only chance. You don't even have to choose mine.
  • Pantheon DOES have the best shirts.
  • Go to the sprint. The first-time sprinter workshop is leaps and bounds better than it was the first time I went four years ago. Every time I go the sprint changes my understanding of my work, of how people collaborate with each other, and of what, exactly, open-source is.

After the conference

  • Email everyone you said you would. Put them in your CRM (you have one, right?) and follow up. Because Drupal is more fun the more friends you have.
  • Put some time in your calendar to revisit whatever issue you were working on at the sprint. I don't have any core commits yet but I assume it's like 200 times as cool as having the “I have edited documentation on” line on your profile.
  • Maybe stop drinking for a few days so your liver can recover.

Thanks to Siteground for giving me a free ticket to DrupalCon 2016!

Blog Section: