Why conferences are amazing [LS14]

I really felt like I couldn’t not write at least a really short write-up on why I really loved helping with and attending the 14th Linux Session this weekend. It was a very rewarding and enriching experience for a bunch of reasons.

The meat of the matter

First and foremost – the content. Unfortunately I didn’t manage to listen to all the lectures during this year’s conference because of other business I had to attend to. Nevertheless, the ones that I have witnessed personally, I think were really insightful and entertaining. I learned some specific information about two topics I was kind of aware of but more importantly I heard about new-to-me stuff.

Now, after the conference I am just waiting for a bit of time to water the seed of curiosity planted in me by those lectures. Hopefully it will sprout and I will walk away from this situtation wiser and with broader knowledge.

My favourite talks were one about how to make the life of hacker attacking us miserable using tools available for Linux by Marcin Tomków as well as one by Siewca – Jakub Juszczakiewicz – an introduction to network interfaces in Linux. They were both quite entertaining and thought provoking, although in different ways. I really recommend you watch them as soon as they are available on the official YouTube channel of ASI.

The networking

I have already written a post on the importance of networking (check it out here) so I will try not to repeat myself. The main thing is that I was in this weird limbo-like state between being an organizer and a regular attendant. I helped quite a bit with setting the conference up and cleaning afterwards but I was really involved in the planning phase apart from creating an app. Because of that I approached the conference from two angles.

Firstly, I met some people from ASI (the organizers) that I knew about but didn’t really talked to a lot before which is great as I consider it important to have a wide social network of business acquaintances. The Middle Party and the back-stage room for organizers proved very useful for this kind of interaction.

On the other hand I met some people who were representing the sponsors, or were speakers or just came to listen to some talks. Meeting such a variety of people is always developing and I’m really glad I was able to experience it.

The freebies

As always, during the conference I had to control myself not to get carried away with all the cool pens, stickers, cookies and other bits and pieces brought by the sponsors. My ever-evolving laptop cover got some new stickers on it and as boring and useless as it sounds, it is actually quite a fun part of all the meetups and conferences. Just talking to the folks, taking their promo material, presumably being chatted up about some job offers. It all can lead to a further progress.

Linux Session owes some of its beauty to the Middle Party. We got some free beer (and it was great as well!), we chatted even more. Got to meet more people from the industry and relax after all the lectures. All the freebies are just a way to “make people talk to each other in the coffeemaker’s queue” :).

The last but not least

Finally, as weird and self-centered as it sounds, I also love this kind of meetings because they make me feel good about myself. Being approached by a person and being told that the app I made is great or that they enjoyed an entry here on my blog (cheers, mate) is really rewarding. Couple that with several people asking about job opportunities in Android and the way to learn it properly from the business perspective and you have a really humbling experience. Everyone loves being a part of a community. And being told that you are a valuable part is quite heartwarming to say the least.

I hope you found these loose thoughts on the Linux Session interesting to read and that you will take something from it. Maybe after all we will meet next year on Linux Session or next week on Toast :). If you want me to continue this ramble on some topic I mentioned let me know and we’ll see what we can do. Until then, stay curious.

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