In March I announced via Twitter my participation as a speaker at 4Developers 2014. 4Developers 2014 was a single-day, multi-track and multi-language conference held in the lovely Warsaw on the at the Gromada Airport Hotel. The tracks for the edition of this year were: Java, .Net, PHP, Python, Front-end (HTML5, JS, CSS), UX, Games Development, Mobile Systems & Apps, Mobile Games, Cloud Technologies, Application Architecture, Soft Skills & Business Relations, IT Project Management, and IT Security. At the conference I gave my talk Modern front-end with the eyes of a PHP developer in the PHP track.
The aim of this post is to describe my experience as a speaker and as an attendee.
Great organization. Lovely and friendly organizers. Nice people.
Since the day I received the notification that my proposal had been accepted, the organizers, in the person of Piotr Snarski, have taken action to arrange my flights and to book the room at the conference hotel. I really want to give a shout-out to them because they are one of those conference organizers who cover all your expenses, not just part or not at all. I know this may sound silly, but a lot of other conference organizers don’t act in the same way. In addition, they have always been at my (and I guess other speakers) disposal to address any issue or need.
The conference hotel, the Gromada Airport Hotel, was also the conference venue. The location was very nice and convenient to reach from the airport (not to mention from my room). I think it has been a very good choice.
I know it’s a bit unusual but the conference party was held the day before the conference at the Warszawianka club, a bowling-pub. Having the party the day before the event was a risky choice because, you know, Poland has good beer, Polish people love drinking, and the union of these two points can easily turn into an issue. As the organizers confessed at the party, at the previous edition there were some speakers who weren’t be able to speak because they were too drunk or sick. So, my concerns aren’t just imaginary.
Apart from this detail, the party went really good and I had a lot of fun. At the party (but also at the conference) I was probably the only non-Polish attendee and surely the only non-Polish speaker. For this reason a lot of people spoke Polish only, hence it was not so easy for me to chat with someone. Of course, most of them were surely able to speak in English but, you know, everyone usually tends to speak his native language if there is the possibility. Anyway some of the organizers have been so kind to stay with me most of the time and I’ve really appreciated it. I had the chance to meet Janusz Kamieński, Jakub Kozioł, and Sylwia Wojtas. We had a great time together and I really hope to meet them again.
I think the conference has been well organized and what I liked was the informal time given to help people socializing. If you’ve ever attended a conference, you’ll know that socializing is actually one of the most relevant factors to attend a conference or not. While it’s true that at a conference you can learn new tools, techniques, and frameworks, having the chance to build new relationships is essential both from the human and the business perspectives.
During the conference I’ve had the chance to meet and drink some beer with these nice guys: Jakub Zalas, Kacper Gunia, and Leszek Prabucki. In regard of the beer, one thing that I really loved was the free beer offered at the end of the event. It created the ideal, informal environment to entice people to talk. Other people that I want to mention and thanks for their help are Justyna Bień and Sławomir Jabs. Sławomir in particular is a delightful guy and I had a couple of occasions to discuss with him not only about programming but also about politics, economy, the IT community, and of our respective nations.
One of the things that as a foreigner I didn’t like too much was that almost every talk was in Polish, so I hadn’t the chance to attend a lot of them. I discussed with the organizers about this point and they explained me that the 2014 edition wasn’t really meant to be international. However, moving a step forward and pushing the conference over the edge of Poland is the goal of the 2015 edition. Having seen how they managed this year conference, I’m sure they will succeed in achieving this goal.
I was located in one of two largest rooms of the conference because the PHP track was one of the most interesting topics for the attendees (how lucky I am!). The room was almost full and luckily nobody decided to leave the room. I felt that people who attended my talk were attracted by the topic and hopefully the presentation was also entertaining. I’m very happy of the final result because, as I said, mine was one of the few talks given in English and I felt people were focused on what I was saying. At the end of the conference I’ve been asked a couple of questions that I think I’ve addressed properly.
I also received few compliments from people who attended my talk, both personally and via Twitter, as shown below.
— Przemek K (@Kolemp) 7 Aprile 2014
@AurelioDeRosa great talk – I have a lot of things to think about 🙂 for instance, now I don’t want to implement assetic 😉
— Leszek Krupinski (@leafnode) 7 Aprile 2014
— Mateusz Sojda (@msojda) 7 Aprile 2014
In case you’re interested in my presentation, you can find the slides on SpeakerDeck.
My experience at 4Developers 2014 has been awesome! The organizers of the event treated me like a star even if, honestly, I’m not. All the people I’ve met during the conference were very nice and the organizers were excellent. If you want to attend a conference next year, you really should consider 4Developers.