Barcelona Perl Workshop 2016 in 3 movements
So Barcelona Perl Workshop 2016 happened this 5th of November. This is my report in three movements.
I've been listening for quite a few time that we should blog about the events we attend and love. I know it's good for multiple reasons, and I think it's a good advice. I've helped organize, attended and talked at the workshop and I knew I wanted to write about it, but it took me a few days before even thinking on actually do it.
I needed these days to recover because of my three roles in the Workshop. As organizer, I've put a lot of energy and hope in the project. As attendee, there were a lot of friends I was looking forward to see again and a really good speakers I expected to see. Because I'm not currently living in Barcelona this also involved traveling and all the associated stress. As a speaker... well, you know, public speaking is exhausting if you are not used to it. You are anxious days before it happens and there's a little vertigo until you finish your talk.
Movement 1: Organizing a Perl Workshop
When we started planning the workshop, we talked about things we wanted to achieve. For me, the most important was to open (even more) the event to other communities. In particular, we were talking about other local tech communities and the international Perl community. We wanted to consolidate the Workshop as an important event for both two communities and plant the seed that will make more diverse attendees to come in future editions.
I think it's the team's general sense is that this has been probably the best Workshop we've organized. We learned for past years errors, started a bit earlier and avoided some of the burn that always follows the organizer's work. Our weekly meetings started with a bit of a pain but we improved the process and became more executive. We had less problems with the t-shirts, an easy relation with the venue and we put more effort on our social media campaign.
A week before we were already sold out. To be honest, because CAPSiDE offered their offices we started with a bunch of people from the very beginning and it was a little easier to reach the sold out. The fact that it was free event helped too, of course. But we were asking people to spend a whole Saturday away from their beloved ones and sometimes to travel, so it feels good to fill the venue.
We allocated 90 minutes for lunch, which seemed enough time to go out and eat something, given that we weren't providing anything this time. We went to a really nice veggie restaurant with all the organizers and sponsors, but it was so busy that we ended up being late for the first talks after lunch. There was other people with the same problem and at that moment we began to lag. That's something to learn from, because it was not nice for the speakers to find the rooms almost empty.
We recorded all the talks and we'll publish all of them soon. I suggest you to follow us on twitter for news, we are really proud about the final schedule and the level and topics of the talks. We made an effort to give most of the talks in English to allow more people to access them, but in the end it was up to each speaker to chose the language they felt most comfortable with.
Movement 2: Attending
On Saturday, I arrived before most of the attendees, but Alex, josé Luis and Alba were already taking care of everything. A few minutes later we started the registration and I was glad to see all the familiar faces. An important part of Madrid.pm traveled to Barcelona, and there also were Ferenc and Sawyer, our international guests this edition. Then, Uri "volunteered" to do the opening talk and that was it, we were up and running!
Nowadays any tech conference must have a 101 Docker talk. I've seen quite a few and, until now, the one I enjoyed more was 'Docker para desarrolladores' from Javi. He's a really good speaker and has given a lots of talks on the topic. His energy is contagious and I think it was an excellent way to start the morning. We had to cut him because he probably had material for a couple of hours.
The next one was 'Kubernetes for Dummies' from Dani. I have to say I was not as focused on the talk as I should. I was starting worrying about my own talk and eventually left the room. Plus, the fact that part of the talk overlapped with the previous one did not help. I will watch the talk again once the videos are published because Dani really knows what he's talking about regarding Kubernetes. Every time I see him giving a talk it's a bit better, so I hope he continues doing it.
And then it was time for the Pumpkin. Last thing I knew is he was planning to give a Dancer's talk and I was glad that he decided to do 'Perl, up to 5.24'. I agree with him that it was better suited for the audience we have, and I think most of them enjoyed the talk a lot. You know you have a good speaker when he decides to change the talk the night before and works like a charm. Also, i think it's good to talk more about the goodies of the language, because there's a lot of people with past Perl experience who might use an update.
I was glad that Jorge submitted a talk. He's a regular on multiple meetups in Barcelona and always seems to have something relevant to say. I was a bit sad he had to start his talk, 'Immutable Infrastructure Lessons Learned' with the room half empty after lunch. I'm also quite influenced by The Twelve-Factor App, so everything he said made a lot of sense to me, but I'm curious about the impact that did in people with other experiences.
As a former Soysuper.com employee and Diego's friend, 'A bot to rule them all' was an absolute must. I've used that bot many times and I knew Diego had been working hard the previous week to update the code to show us and I was really curious about it. He didn't had much time to prepare the talk and probably because of that he did it with less confidence than usually. The topic is really interesting and I'm looking forward to see the next iteration of this talk, because even if wasn't a bad talk at all, I really think he can tweak it to be an excellent one.
The last talk I attended was special for me, and I'm sorry I didn't make until the end because at that time I was anxious enough that I had to pretend I was working on my talk. I personally asked Albert to give a talk because I thought he would be a great speaker. He liked the idea and presented 'Faking GPS!', in which he showed us how to send data to Android emulators and multiple strategies on positioning in a fun and understandable way, in my opinion. That's another one I'll rescue on video.
Movement 3: Public Speaking
And then, It was finally time for my talk. I was literally the last one to submit the talk proposal and that was because I really wanted to do it but I was not sure if I'd have time to prepare it properly. So I submitted 'Make Yourself Indispensable' as a 20 minutes talk because I figured that in the worst case I'd be able to talk about good/bad practices without good slides support for a few minutes.
I was scared that being almost the last talk I would find the people so tired to even listen at what I was saying and I'd end talking alone for 20 minutes. I had the whole day to worry about almost everything: I was already feeling that I was not prepared enough, that I should have mentally run the talk at least a couple more times, that maybe it's a good idea to first write the talk and then send the proposal. And what about repeating one talk for once instead of trying new ones every time? Also, public speaking is a bit (even more) scarier if you do it in a language you don't feel comfortable enough with. Not to say if all the audience is in your room.
I feel terribly lucky for how it went.
I was at home, with the people I know and I took my time to relax before starting talking. Then, the first time I saw them laughing I thought that I could make it. I stopped tracking the time, missed a few puns and improvised a bit, but I was enjoying more and more while getting to the end because all the audience was into the talk and they also seemed to like the games I was playing with them. Never completely relaxed but holding up.
Then, it was over. I introduced the lightning talks and took no real questions, got my free beer and went outside the room to calm myself. It took me a few minutes to recover my usual heart rate and breathe normal again. Adrenaline did the job and I was feeling better and better. I was there but not really attending most of the lightning talks. Yes, all the trouble and worry was worth it. Making people laugh is one of the most pleasant experiences one can experiment.
So I'm happy. I feel that we achieved most of what we wanted of this edition and learned some more thinks for the next ones. I think people enjoyed it and I can say I really enjoyed it. So I also want to thank everyone who make that possible.
Thanks to my fellow organizers, thanks to all our sponsors (CAPSiDE, Soysuper.com, víntegrisTECH, Booking.com, Ascii164 and Sysdivision), thanks to all the speakers to make that happen and thanks to all the attendees, specially the ones who've traveled so far to spend the weekend with us.
I'm looking forward to next year's edition!