My YAPC::EU 2015: The Art of Community


YAPC is always a special time - for all of us. YAPC::EU was my first YAPC and no matter which YAPC I attend, I always remember it as the first YAPC I had (back in Italy), where I met Ovid, Aristotle, and other people I nowadays get to call friends, for the first time. It was my first community event.

YAPC::EU 2015 was an amazing chance to visit yet another country I never stepped in: the artistic and artful country of Spain. When you think of Spain, you probably think of Barcelona, of Madrid, but I will personally first think of Granada from now on.

Granada is a gorgeous city and provided such a marvelously decorative backdrop to our conference, to our intimate get-together, hundreds of people's worth intimate get-together. With a mouth-watering view, the blazing heat of south Spain, and the smiles, hugs, and laughs of a group that has been waiting to see each other for a while now.

The conference was well organized. The venue was comfortable and sheltering from the weather. The breaks were well coordinated, and we enjoyed many a tapas every lunch. Even the restaurants were marked with what they had to offer, and whether it was vegetarian or vegan (amongst other categorizations) - something I sincerely appreciated. Organizers even walked between restaurants to make sure we have no translation snags. My Spanish is progressing, but it's not close to asking profound questions on small tapas dishes.

The attendance was varied. Did you know the youngest person in the crowd was 16 years old? Oh yes. We also had a larger amount of women attendees and women speakers - something the conference organizers noted was "not yet good enough". I cannot but appreciate when we see an improvement along with an understanding that it is only the tip of the iceberg, and committing to making it even better. I want to thank JJ Merelo for his clear caring about the subject. I want to thank the women speakers, especially those that pushed other women to speak at the next conference. I had also always wanted to address the distance between the Japanese community and non-Japanese community - something I got to do this year, and I was surprised and delighted to see so many in attendance. The only thing more delightful was seeing how well they were received and how successful their attendance was. They weren't just "there", they were a crucial part of the conference and they were a crucial part of us. Overall this conference did so many things right. I want to thank the organizers from the bottom of my heart.

I didn't get to attend many talks, but those I've seen were very well done. I've learned a lot.

My SotV

The year was my first carrying the torch after mst, giving the State of the Velociraptor. This has occupied my mind ever since I was asked to give the keynote. I wasn't sure what to talk about. I knew the basic concept, I've been at several of mst's SotV talks and viewed a few online. I knew of quite a few things that happened in the community: I try to keep track of blogs, stay up to date on Twitter, and have the pleasure of attending many conferences, speaking to many people, seeing various talks. I got to attend a variety of conferences that, I believe, gave me some insight across different types of events: YAPC::NA, YAPC::EU, YAPC::Russia, YAPC::Asia, GPW, DPW,,,,, FOSDEM, OpenFest, etc. But did that really give me enough insight to stand up on stage and talk to everyone about it? I'm still not sure, but I'll go with "I'm the current Bond, so I'll just try to do it justice until a proper Bond comes along", and continue to try to convince myself I wasn't a total farce up there. Also, this gives me an opportunity to picture myself as Bond, so there's that.

Instead of going over the language and the projects in detail, I tried to focus on the community. A lot of things are happening with Perl - the project, the language, and what we make with it - but I wanted to take a different approach this time. I wanted to focus on our biggest strength. I wanted to appreciate and pay respect to all we admire, such as CPAN or our TIMTOWTDI approach, but to understand that - above all - our sense of community is actually the strongest and more admired feature we have. I hope I did the concept justice.

And so

I could write more - a series of articles highlighting every day, every night, and the ever few hours I spent sleeping while still thinking of who I still wish to talk to, have a drink with, catch up with, hear speak, hear joke, or share a laugh with. But no matter how much I write, I will not do justice to this event, to this feeling I have every time I attend a YAPC. Every time I am with this family of mine.

I miss it already. Thank you all.


1 Comment

And that Japanese are fast? :-)

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