Last year was my first venture to the conference circuit in more than a decade. Hell, who am I kidding, Windows 2000 was the new kid on the block at the time. So, with a #PSHSummit and #DevOpsCamp under my belt, I’m chomping at the bit to dive into some great sessions, rekindle some friendships, and get to know some more like minded folks.
Having not been to a conference in “forever” last go around, I was a bit nervous and was crippled with the “impostor syndrome”…OK, well, crippled may be an exaggeration, however, I was a bit nervous. My mind was quickly put at ease when I started to connect with Summiteers (is that a word) on the @Slack channel. Quickly meeting up with Wes and heading down to a pub (my home away from home) and the rest was a breeze. Keep an open mind, participate on @slack and get involved early and often.
My plan this time is to enjoy the days and hit sessions as they are scheduled. Yes, I wanted to see @mminasi last year but @Delta had other plans. The point is, be fluid and flexible. The sessions I plan to attend this go around will have backup plans, and you know…sometimes the side-sessions or just conversations (quietly) outside the rooms are as valuable as some sessions themselves.
I was awestruck last year. All the rockstars of the community were there. “Holy sh!t! There’s Don Jones”, “Wow, Jeff Hicks!”, “Mike F.’n Robbins!” (Mike thought I was nuts when I approached him at the meetup and said just that…Sorry Mike, open bar). Jason Hemlick, @lee_holmes @thedevopsdiva, @techtrainertim…and yes, Jeffery F’n Snover…the man! They are all here and then some. I could list all of them, but it would defeat the point. My point is, they are here, they are human, and most are pretty approachable ;)…they ALL are approachable. Say hi, hug some, and say THANK YOU for all they do. They are my inspiration to blog more, share more and do more in the community.
My best connections were the people I met and didn’t read, follow or whatever. Getting off the plane, I met Bob Dillon…yes, THE BOB DILLON @hag624. Wes Kirkland and I met in the lobby of the hotel via @slack to head down to the first meetup. Found @titoaldorando then @jbirley and @ryandcoates (cocktails were a plenty). I got to know @dagryphy at @devopscamp in July and we’re in touch often and I consider him a great friend. There are others, and I consider all of these folks great friends, and what’s better, I KNOW I can reach out to all of them and they will respond almost instantly. My point being, these are like minded life-long contacts and better yet, life-long friends. Embrace it.
Summary and Advice
I really need this breakout with some like minded folks to share where I’m at. I’m looking forward to making more great connections, shaking hands and a hug with old friends…oh yeah, and great conversations over some well deserved cocktails. Don’t freak out if you’re not making the sessions. Eat, hydrate and well, repeat. Your brain is your asset and someone paid for this gig so get what you can out of it. To be honest, the contacts I made are invaluable and worth more than the sessions. The sessions were inspirations of what can be done! Brain cramming for an entire week is overwhelming! Hopefully the sessions will be available as recorded. So cultivate the contacts, have fun and get inspired. Some of us our in our own echo chambers, this is your opportunity to drink it all in…literally (my liver will attest). I am looking forward to meeting you! Come say hi!