A Lookback of YAPC::Asia Tokyo 2013
Here's a brief look-back of YAPC::Asia Tokyo 2013 using the official photo set, hosted by 30 Days Album. All the talk slides (at least the ones that the speakers uploaded) are available on our site, along with videos from each talk. The videos can also be checked out from our Youtube page
Also, if you find this interesting, you might want to read Miyagawa's blog post about it, too
Day 0 has always been the day where we, the staff, get our materials (swags, random equipments) together and do the initial preparation. Also, we host some smaller event during this time so that we can check our check-in process. This year we had a LTthon::Tiny (which stands for Lightning Talk-a-thon, where people just continuously keep presenting lightning talks after another), hosted by Hachioji.pm.
This year we completely underestimated how many people were going to show up to this pre-YAPC event. To be honest, our check-in operation failed miserably. Of course, this is why we do day 0: to test our operation, and to get our volunteer staff familiar with the process.
While we're struggling the overwhelming number of attendees, LTthon got started. Of course, we provide some beer, refreshments, and snacks.
One of the slogans that we started was "YAPC ain't over until you blog about it". This year one of our sponsors (who runs a blogging platform), used it in one of their in-venue ads.
2.5 hours of Lightning Talks. Ain't it great?
Apparently there was a "Best Lightning Talker" award, courtesy of Hachioji.pm
Day 1 got rolling, starting with my partner in crime Kushii (aka 941)-san doing the opening talk, immediately followed by Ricard Signes' talk on current state and future of Perl5.
This year's Main Hall has a capacity of about 500, even equipped with a second-floor seating. Ricardo looks so alone on the stage :)
For this year's YAPC::Asia, we decided the theme of the event to be "お祭り" = (Japanese Traditional Style) Festival. So we made decorations as such.
Some sponsors also got an お祭り-style booth.
Not only did big companies helped us financially. Some individual attendees bought our +$50 tickets to aid us, so we made them extra cool T-shirts and these lanterns with their names on it.
BTW YAPC::Asia Tokyo 2013 fell right on the time for Harvest Moon. In parts of Asia, this time is celebrated according to local customs: In Japan we make these little sweets made with rice, and enjoy the beautiful moon.
If we just placed the sweets and the flower it looked kind of sad, so we got a real calligrapher to write these pieces. Yes, we got all this stuff just for YAPC :) The left one says "Ruby, Python, And Languages All Shall Be Friends", the center one says "Place Your Soul In Thy One-Liner", and the right one says "Pearls (Perl) Shall Fill The Sky and Hackers Shall Do The World As The Please".
We also had drawings for lunch meetups. We basically have attendees draw tickets and match them up and send them to lunch, so even if you came to YAPC w/o knowing anybody, you still got to socialize (forcefully) with others. If you were lucky, you also got one of our free bento lunches.
All while this is happening, talks for Day 1 are going on... This year we had a total of 70 talks on 4 tracks, including a hands-on session for Perl beginners.
During lunch time on both Day 1 and Day 2, we had a sponsored session where some of our sponsors got to present who they were, and what kind of cool stuff they were doing. Hey, we even got Microsoft to come talk!
Meanwhile people who drew the lunch meetup tickets were being called. I had to order a total of approx 400 bento boxes for this event. Phew!
And the show goes on. Speakers this year got a $10 (about 3 cups of coffee) worth of Tully's Coffee prepaid card, by the way.
Then it's time for ... Lightning Talks Day 1! Yes, YAPC::Asia Lightning Talks are notorious for their quality. The Main Hall was packed!
This guy did (pretty much) a stand-up comedy talk in 5 minutes. It had NOTHING to do with Perl, but boy, it was wicked...
The author(s) of JSX were also present in the Lightning Talks. Also one of the speakers did a presentation in Chinese. For the first time, I knew exactly what it feels like to go to a foreign conference and not understand a word being said.
Social / Free Dinner
This year the venue had this restaurant / ceremony hall called Queen Alice in the same building. We were so lucky to have this place for us. We packed 300 people for the dinner, but the food/beverage was never-ending. This is probably the first time where I was able to talk in a caterer to provide us with enough food/beverage so that it lasted until the social was over. Yes, YAPC attendees eat like a starving teenager.
This year's Dinner was sponsored by DeNA
On Day 2 the check-in was much more relaxed. about 90% of the 1131 attendees had already registered by this point.
Day 2 is also full of talks!
During the afternoon, we had panel discussion session title "Tell Us What's Great About Ruby" ("And We Will Steal It" is implied :). I think it was a great session that showed many people where these two technologies are similar and/or different. Many people seemed to appreciate the session, as it was voted 3rd place in the Best Talk Awards later. Many thanks to the panelists and the moderator.
Again, the talks go on...
During Day 2, we asked the people at Perl Entrance to host a special one day workshop/hands-on for Perl beginners. Perl Entrance is a great program which takes people through learning Perl during a 6 month semi-regular schedule. One of the really attractive things for this project is that many well-known/expert Perl programmers come and provide guidance to the newbies. I hope to see this program grow over the coming years.
And again, it was Lightning Talks Day 2!. I dunno, but there's always a lady who wants to be the "gong girl". The one on the left did Day 1, and the one of the right did Day 2. Un?fortunately, I can only remember 1 or 2 people who actually had to be stopped by the gong, so I think they didn't have much work to do. Yes, Japanese people are so punctual that even their Lightning Talks are on time...
Since so many people wanted to give Lightning Talks, I crammed in 15 talks in 1 hour. so I asked them to shorten their talks to a 3 minutes, if possible. Yes, I'm the organizer. I'm an evil organizer.
I always put Takesako-san as the last guy, cause he always have something wicked and/or funny to show. This year he did an all-hands quiz for the audience to answer, with questions like "Can Perl handle identifiers as long as 255 chars? Yes/No?". The person standing until the last question got a prize (a book he wrote)
The last keynote was from Ikebe-san, talking about engineers and management.
Then it was my turn for the closing talk. As I've already said, we had 1131 attendees this year. We raised approximately 12 million yen for this event, and it took us about 9 months of preparation. It was a long way, but in the end it wasn't as hard as it sounded because of the help from our sponsors, staff, and others.
The Best Talk Awards are given to people who got the most votes during the conference (we have a little app for attendees to cast votes to). 3rd place was Masahiro Nagano (aka kazeburo), 2nd place was Tatsuro Hisamori (aka myfinder), and the first place winner was Yusuke Wada (aka yusukebe). The winners of the first and second place were actually the same as last year. Impressive.
Then I announced that this will be the last YAPC::Asia Tokyo, at least for Kushii-san and myself. The venue went kind of silent, but unfortunately that's the way it had to be. I'm pretty sure somebody will pick up where I left off, and maybe in a few years, when my son gets old enough I can go back to helping whoever doing the even then.
Finally, our staff. This year was interesting because we built a custom network just for this event. Upon hearing about the venue's built-in network, (even with my half-baked knowledge about network) I immediately realized that it wasn't going to be able to sustain hundreds of engineers working the Wi-Fi to its limits, so I asked people from JANOG and LLNOC to help us. They contracted the local network provider, got help for the upstream network, and built a custom Wi-Fi network for the entire venue. It was very stable, and it even survived half the audience downloading iOS7 at the venue (the new iPhones/iOS came out on that day...)! Kudos to them, I'm so glad I met these people.
And our volunteer staff. This event wouldn't have been possible without them.
So that was it. The staff spent the next hour packing, and our YAPC was over.
I was involved in the first YAPC::Asia Tokyo 2006 as staff, and have been involved in all of the YAPC::Asia Tokyo's since then. The last 5 years, I was the organizer. During the last 4 years, I had the help of Kushii-san, who became the mastermind of what goes on, so I could focus on financial stuff, speaker relations, and legal stuff. Organizing YAPC::Asia Tokyo was one of the hardest assignments in my life, but it was also one of the most fun. I had a really great ride during the last 8 years. Thank you for all those who have helped, visited, and otherwise supported our event. I'm sure I'll miss it in the near future, but for the moment I'm moving on. See you at YOUR next YAPC.