Wow! It is tough to follow Jessy’s review. (He wrote faster than I did!) I share many of the feelings and ideas he expressed, so I will try not to go on too long, but one thing I learned at this conference is that everyone deeply appreciates hearing back from us about the impact of their work. So, if you want to read another love letter to the RW team, here you go!
At the end of RWDevCon they asked us to rate the conference on 4 core values on shiny review cards. I am currently pretty bad at giving instantaneous feedback and find 1-5 rating systems difficult! I do think these are great metrics, though, so here is a short(ish) review of my personal experience, inspired by some conference swag.
Such Hands-On Tutorials!
Jessy and I are compiling some detailed feedback & suggestions to send to the team, but I will say that the care put into creating and organizing session materials, and making this live format work, was evident all weekend. Knowing in advance that all of the sessions were being recorded, and having a giant PDF book that covered all of the demos, eliminated most of the stress I might have felt choosing between three tracks of tutorials.
Rating: Help. My brain is so full. OH LOOK there is this handy conference book to refer back to!
True enthusiasm is infectious. You cannot stop it spreading when crazy-smart, passionate people are talking about subjects they love everywhere you look. I am singing the Reading Rainbow song to myself now.
Rating: I can be anything!
Very Team Coordination!
So many team members, from Christine the Video Editor/Office Elf (who is a joy to chat with, if you get the chance!) to Ray himself, asked for our thoughts on how the conference and the site could be improved. There is a deep culture of growth at work here. I have heard about it from multiple team members. Just as Michelangelo saw the angel in the marble, Ray has developed a skill for seeing what people can do and who they can become, but refining and achieving this vision is a team effort. It was a gift to see this in action.
Rating: Synchronized Tutorial Team Gold Medalists!
Much Friendship! Meow!
As a painfully shy, introverted type, I was quite scared going into my first conference. The RW team quickly set me at ease by making themselves available to chat with us and just being all around phenomenal human beings. I met so many friendly, smart, driven people that I am still in shock about it. I always felt welcome and like I belonged. I cannot overstate how impactful an experience this was, or thank everyone enough for putting themselves out there.
Rating: I GOT TO MEET MY HERO TAMMY CORON and so many other people I admire and respect! (Also my <3 exploded a little when these guys wanted to get a picture with “the cat people” )
A++++++ Would conference again. Two days and 8 sessions is a lot to tutorial especially when they start at 8am but WE CAN DO IT ~ together ~ !
I was wrong about that being the conclusion. Allow me to go on for a minute:
When Jessy got his ticket, I was not planning to attend with him. I was going to visit museums or something while he RWDevCon’d. I had just started learning Swift and had no real programming experience prior to that. Jessy suggested I get my own ticket, because I was having so much fun learning. I was terrified that I would be wasting the money, I would not know enough to get anything out of it, and I would be taking up space some other, better, smarter person could be filling. Jessy said, “You will know a lot more by March!” and thanks to all of the hard work put into the tutorials on the RW site I did know a lot more. Sometimes Jessy is correct 😉
If anyone else out there is like me, worried they are not experienced enough, or that they are not a “real developer” because they come from a different background, let me assuage your fears. I went to art school. Online art school, even! I MacGuyvered a degree out of a billion charcoal drawings, trying every 3D art discipline that exists, and a determination to not specialize or be ~marketable~ to AAA game studios. Presently, I perform small graphics miracles at a tiny print shop for local business-people in exchange for a paycheck, and I’m building a workout app with my husband so I can hit my 200 pound deadlift. While I really need to work on an elevator pitch for myself, no one made me feel ashamed of any of these things. I got to be myself, and it was fine!
If you want to learn new skills and meet other positive people who love to do the same, you belong at RWDevCon. If you are willing, it is impossible not to learn something from this cross-section of humanity, I promise.