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Forest Bathing, RailsConf, and Developer Communities Episode 21

Forest Bathing, RailsConf, and Developer Communities

· 32:48


CJ: Welcome to Build and Learn.

My name is CJ.

Colin: And I'm Colin.

And today we are gonna be talking
about Rails Conf and other ways for

you to get involved with your own local
and regional developer communities.

CJ: I am super jealous that you
got to go to Rails Conf this year.

I was really hoping to go.

The timing did not work out, but
yeah, I'm, I'm pumped to like,

hear how it went and hear about
your experience giving a workshop.

Because that sounds like it.

It was a hit and it was packed
and lots of people attended.

And I know you and Chris worked
really hard on prepping that, so

curious to hear how that went.

And also like, yeah, I mean, before we
get into that though, I wasn't able to

go because I've been taking a ton of
time off and I was very, very, a f k.

This is actually like the first time
I'm back on my computer in, in weeks.

And so yeah, it, it is so
amazing to get offline.

It's really refreshing.

I think like a lot of people, especially
in our industry encounter burnout.

I know for sure that I was burnt
to a crisp, just kind of grinding

it out for years on end and
was ready for a break for sure.

Colin: Going from one thing to the
next thing, doing multiple things.

I mean, us doing this podcast
is an extracurricular for us.

So, you know, I've, I've definitely
been online enough for the two of us.

So I, I'm appreciating that you got
some time to disconnect a little bit.

Sounds like hanging out with the
kids, hanging out with the family,

that that sounds like a good time.

CJ: Yeah, totally.

And I'm, I'm reading this book right
now, I think it's called The Nature Fix.

And we'll put a l we'll put a link
in the show notes, but I'm only like

through the first couple major sections.

But it's really interesting and it
talks about how there's all these

studies in Japan and South Korea.

Even a couple folks here in, they,
they went out in Utah, in the Moab

Desert, and they're researching how.

Going out in nature can
decrease your stress.

And so one of the things was like in Japan
they have this concept of forest bathing.

Have you heard of this?

Okay, so this is, it was, it was a new
concept to me where you just kind of go

out in the woods and like smell the trees
and you snap a branch, you kind of like

smell inside the branch and you just
hear the birds and you hear everything.

And so being spring here, everything,
like the snow just melted and

everything is turning green and the
birds are all, all over the place.

And so it has been really,
really, really rejuvenating.

Colin: Yeah.

Like literally coming out of hibernation
and like, it's, it's amazing how even

just one season makes you like a, like
we lose sight of those things and then

it starts to be nice outside and you
wanna spend more time outside like,

Even being in Atlanta, I was expecting
Atlanta to be hotter than it is in Reno.

And I came back to Reno.

It's like 80 degrees here now.

CJ: Oh my gosh.

Colin: So

CJ: Yeah.

Did you go, did you get to go outside in
Atlanta or were you kind of Mostly Okay.


Colin: I try to do this thing when I go
to conferences or, you know, traveling

by myself to new places where I tried to
bring my running shoes and go somewhere.

And so the conference was
very much downtown in Atlanta.

Not what you just described, just
the opposite of forest bathing.

And so I found a cool market that I
ran to, which was on the BeltLine.

And the BeltLine is this awesome
like project that they've

been working on since 2005.

It connects like a.

12 of their parks and two huge food halls.

And so I ended up running 12 miles
on Sunday before Rails Comp from

food hall to Food Hall Park to park.

Like I just took my time.

I wasn't racing or anything, I was
just like running, but there were like

thousands of people walking, riding
scooters, riding bikes and you know, just

walking from food hall to park to the next
park and never even seeing a car because

you're just on this miles and miles of.

Pedestrian walkway and it, it's very
similar to the Highline in New York City.

But more outdoorsy especially cuz you're
in, you know, Georgia and there's just

like green everywhere and in New York it's
like you're on the highline but you're

still surrounded by sky rises and, you
know, high rises and things like that.

So it was pretty cool.

I was not expecting to run that far.

I just was like, okay, I'll
run to the next one and then

get lunch and then run back.

And it just ended up being like almost
a half marathon before Rails Comp, but,

CJ: So do you would, was it like an
out and back or is there a loop or?

Colin: It was an out and back.


So there was a little bit of like a
sketchy car you know, downtown car

infested area that I had to get through.

And then once I was on the
BeltLine, it just kind of kept

going and yeah, it was cool to see.

CJ: Dang.

That sounds epic.

That sounds so cool.

Colin: I was definitely taking notes
cuz I was like, I want to bring,

like, why don't we have this in Reno?

Like we should, like our
Riverwalk is not even this nice.

It could be very similar to like
the Riverwalk in San Antonio.

CJ: So there is this thing that is
new to me being like just just having

movement moved to the east coast.

It's called rail trails, where there's
like old railroad track areas where

trains don't go anymore apparently.

And they like fill it
in with a paved walkway.

Is that okay?


Colin: It's one of those, yeah.

CJ: Got it.

Got it.

Yeah, we, I mean, I didn't, I
don't know of any of those in Reno.


And growing up in Reno, Tahoe,
like I didn't see any of that.

And so here there's tons,
like all over the place.

So that's something we've been trying
to get out and see more of, but.

Colin: Getting out on the bikes.

CJ: Yeah.

And yeah, I mean it was one
of, one of our nature things.

So we went out and we saw a bunch of
friends and family, and we celebrated my

grandparents' 70th wedding anniversary
in San Jose a couple weekends ago.

And despite growing up in.

In and around Northern
California, Northern Nevada,

I had never been to Big Sur.

And so we took the kids and drove our
little rental, rental car down to Big Sur.

And there is this
waterfall called Mwa Falls.

I dunno if you've seen this, but
there, it just like shoots out of

the mountain at like, I dunno, 30, 50
feet up and it goes into the ocean.

And it's one of the only like
two waterfalls apparently.

I dunno, it's like in California or
like on the west coast that goes like

from the mountain, like into the water.

And it is just mind-blowingly beautiful.

Like it was so, so, so cool to see.

So yeah, got got to go do that and.

All of these things are just chipping
away at that kind of like plaque buildup

of anxiety that you get over like years
and years of just like cranking on

content and you know, stressing about
work and kind of constantly being on

and, you know, worrying about Slack
notifications at 2:00 AM And so yeah,

kind of slowly whittling away at that.

Colin: That's, that's really good.

Yeah, I think this is something that I've
been trying to bring into my daily work.

It's like for the amount of time that we
spend in front of a computer, balancing

it with time, you know, getting out
on a bike, going on a run, whatever it

looks like for you is super important
cuz the computer will always be there.

Work will always be there.

You gotta take care of yourself.

And so, you know, having that balance,
it's great that you got to have like

a full uninterrupted time of a break.

But I think we can, if you can't
take lots of time off, either try

to find a job that lets you, but
also try to find it every day.

Cuz it's better to be a little
preemptive in preventing the

burnout than, than it is to, to like
burnout and then have to go reset.

And start all over again
every time you do that.

So definitely feeling that,
especially as it's getting nicer

outside, more, more bike things.

We need some like tech
conferences out outside.

CJ: Totally.


One, one last thing about being outside.

There's this new thing called Outside
365 that I just recently learned about,

and the goal is to spend at least or
like to do one human powered mile.

Per day outside and there's a bunch of
stuff about all the, the health benefits.

But if you go to outside 360 five.blog,
you can learn more about that.

That also is something that's
really compelling and we're

trying to do it as a family.

It's tough, it's super tough to like
line up schedules and weather and

whatever, but yeah, going outside is

Colin: I like that.


Actually, that kind of
brings me to the idea.

There is actually an outdoor rails
conference coming up called Rails Camp.

And that is in Hawaii.

It's very much like an UN-conference,
so there's no scheduled talks.

I don't even know if the, there's
necessarily the need to bring a laptop,

but That conference looks cool from just
like wanting to hang out with your rails.

Ruby Friends make new rails,
Ruby friends and go to Hawaii.

But rails Comp was not
in Hawaii this year.


And yeah, it was, it was a
bummer to miss you this year.

Cuz you and I submitted the, the
workshop talk together, and then sadly

we had to change things up there,
but Chris and I had had a good time.

We, we learned some new tools.

We actually we're trying to figure out
how best to teach, you know, a workshop

format in, you know, it's a two hour
workshop, so like, how best do you.

Teach when the audience is all different
types of levels and experience, and

do they have to have rails installed
and what version of Ruby do I need

and all these different things.

And so we created GitHub.

Repo and we like worked very async
on it because Chris was in Italy for

like two weeks on a food tour, and
I was like doing some stuff at work.

And so we were just like
working on it when we could.

And we ended up with like a very
much like guided GitHub repo.

So, You know, if you're curious
how webhooks work in Rails you can

actually follow along with this without
us having to talk you through it.

But it was good to like be able to answer
questions while we were going through it.

And we used this tool called Mark to make
our slides and it was just kind of cool

cause we could just copy and paste the
README code into Marp and then generate

slides and I don't think I'm gonna go back
to ever using like a regular keynote or

PowerPoint again, just cuz like I always
wanna make all the slides look pretty

consistent and it just does that for you
cuz it's like, this is what an H one is,

this is what an H two is, this is what
a link is, this is what code looks like.

And highly recommend Mark if
you're doing any talks like

in your company or whatever.

Especially cuz you conversion
control them too, which is nice.

CJ: Yeah, this looks dope.

I think the, any, any time that you
can write in markdown When you're

writing code, it makes it so much
easier because it plays so nicely

with GitHub and all the other things.

So yeah.

Colin: and it works in VS code.

So you can preview your slides
and VS code while you're writing

them, which is really sweet.

And then it'll generate the PowerPoint,
the keynote, all that stuff too.


CJ: So, was the workshop recorded
or what's the best way for people to

go consume, consume this after the

Colin: Yeah, so the workshops were
not recorded, and this was kind

of like the tactics of going to a
conference a little bit is that I think

a lot of people wanted to go to the
workshops and do the hallway track.

Because a lot of the talks,
most of the talks were recorded.

And this is the tricky thing about
going to a conference, right?

You're spending time and
money to go to a thing.

Do you spend the time going to the
talks, having given talks before?

It's very nice to have an audience
when you're giving your talks.

So like I try to balance between
a little bit of going to a

workshop that's not recorded.

In our case, the workshops
weren't recorded.

Going to some talks that I really
wanna support the speakers at,

because again, it's not great
to give a talk to an empty room.

And then figuring out like, okay, there's
like three talks during this hour.

Which 1:00 AM I gonna go see in person?

Which 1:00 AM I gonna definitely note
down for when the videos get released?

There were a lot of really good
ones that are gonna be coming

out on YouTube later this year.

So We'll put a link to the Ruby Central
YouTube, but there were a lot of like, all

four of these sound amazing and I'm just
gonna make a note for the future cuz there

was definitely some good stuff out there.

CJ: As the barrier to entry.

Kind of gets lower and lower
for posting stuff on YouTube.

I wonder if fewer people or fewer
conference organizers will have like

recorded talks and do more of the workshop
style stuff, because it seems that most

people who can prepare for a talk could
as easily do it in a video format.

Does that, I don't know,
does that resonate with you?

Colin: So Andrew Culver from RailsSaas
and Bullet Train was talking about

this because the problem is sometimes
the environment and the recording

setup is not awesome, right?

As it's like when you have so many
speakers and rooms and tracks, you

just can't give it the same quality.


And you can also do retakes if you
do a prerecorded video and things.

So at at Rail SaaS, they had a room
where they recorded the speaker with

like hair, makeup, amazing lighting,
amazing background, fully produced

artifact that not only the speaker
gets to have as a resume thing,

but now you have this amazing thing
that can be given, you know, later.

And then the speaker gave
the talk again, live.

I think that's a big ask for most
speakers, but I think if you like

what you just said, I think doing a
pre-recorded or a really, like, maybe

you don't pre-record it, but you have
an amazing video recording studio where

they, the talks are recorded at Rails
conf, but then there's more workshops.

I will say the one thing that I missed at
this Rails Conf that seems like a miss,

but I think that we'll we'll talk about
Rails World in a second, is there was not

really like areas to hang out and like we,
we hung out where we could and, but there

wasn't like couches, Honey Badger had a
lounge, which was like amazing cuz there

were no other places to really hang out.

I think Shopify and Meraki both had
like some tables for people to do

like pairing sessions and stuff.

But you really kind of wanna ha,
like, especially if you're gonna go

to a conference, it's like, okay.

I want to, you know, pair on something.

I want to check something out.

There were some people demoing
some of their new products that

aren't out yet, stuff like that.

Or even just doing a podcast, like
having a podcast recording room, having a

recording room for workshops, things like
that would've been pretty cool to have.

Because then you end up with all
these like artifacts and videos and

podcasts that come out of Rails Conf
instead of the more ephemeral stuff.

So that was, that was just something I
noticed as like running a coworking space.

I think about like having these,
like facilitating environments where

you want people to hang out and it's
like if we put a bunch of couches,

some bean bags and some coffee, like
people are gonna hang out and chat

and that's, that's what you want.

Put some whiteboards in
there and you're good.

CJ: Nice.

Yeah, I You have definitely a, I
would say, expert level experience in

terms of creating spaces where people
collaborate given the the Reno Collective.

And so I'm kind of curious to, if
we pivot a little bit towards just

generally growing developer audiences.

I know there's probably a few more things
we can sprinkle in about Rails conf as we

go, but You know, maybe talking through
a roundup of some of the things that

you do for building community and and
then yeah, in particular one of those

obviously being closely related to events.

So yeah, I don't know what are like,
maybe the, the most important things

people need to think about when
building an audience and or community

more than an audience For sure.

Colin: Yeah, I think the thing that
I've been seeing is that people really

are craving community more than ever.

Which is helpful because you
can't really like fake this.

You can't force people to come together.


And the sad thing about that though
is that we used to have more developer

conferences, more meetups, Like, honestly,
even pre Covid, like 2010 to 2012 was

like golden era of, of this stuff.

I feel like things have changed a lot.

Like I feel like I've been to
Heroku events, there was just

like a Heroku coffee event.

It's like, yeah, we're
not gonna have talks.

We're just gonna have a Heroku coffee bar.

You know?

It's very, you know, San Francisco I
guess, but, there's that intersection

of developers and coffee that's
like hard to ignore, right?

They just knew that like a lot
of our engineers enjoy coffee.

We enjoy coffee, let's just host,
take over a coffee shop and just

have developer conversations.

There's no tracks, there's
no talks, things like that.

And those I think are things that
people remember and I think like that

Rails Camp idea is a lot like that.

We're not gonna do workshops and talks.

Those will just happen.

People will talk about what
they're working on, but

people are really craving it.


We saw that at Rails Conf this year.

People flew from all around the world
to come together when sure, we could

talk at a Discord, but I wanna meet you.

I want to go to dinner.

I want to hang out around, you know,
a meal and just chat about things.

I'm not trying to turn
you into a customer.

I'm not trying to get you to work for me.

Those kinds of things, those won't
happen out of those situations, but

they're not like a forced function that
you're trying to make everybody do.

CJ: Mm-hmm.

You and I worked on a couple
different local dev meetups

when I still lived in Reno.

We did Reno JS for a while and
then we had the Dev Reno meetup.

And when I think back, I think
of you as being like the person

in Reno who runs dev meetups.

And so number one, like what is
your motivation or like what is

your underlying kind of like,
inspiration for getting devs together?

We're obviously we're not getting
paid for any of it, right?

It's all like, volunteer.

So like what Yeah.

For you, like what, what was your

Colin: I do have, I have to sometimes
wonder that myself, and it always

comes back to like, if I was in
San Francisco or a bigger city, you

would have more of these communities.

For us in Reno, we've just had a lot
of people who will start a thing.

And then realize that it's a
little bit more work than they

anticipated, or they're not
being paid for it, so they stop.

And for me it's just that,
like, I want this community too.

And so instead of hoping for somebody
else to do it I like to give it, you

know, some energy to, to make it happen.

The tricky thing is, You know, I want to
make sure that DevReno, like if I were

ever not in Reno or if I didn't have the
time to run it, how does it still exist?


It, it's not a good sign if, if when
I stop doing it, it just goes away.

And I don't think that we've
gotten there with DevReno.

I think that the, the big thing with
DevReno is it's all languages, all

platforms, all experience levels.

Because when we did have Reno Js and
Reno, RB and Reno DevOps and all these

different meetups, people were really
just like, oh man, we only got like three

people to come to the meetup this month.

It's just not feeling like it's worth it.

But at the same time, when you hear
people going into the meetups and

they're like 50, 60, 100 people,
they're like, man, I really wish like

just four of us could go to lunch.

And the thing is, it's like everyone then
looks to me like, oh, can you organize

developer lunches, and it's like, no.

You know, everyone, go organize yourself.

So we have the slack, we have, you
know, meetup, we have Discord, we

have all these different things.

How do you get people to
just go self-organized?

And this happens at conferences, right?

People end up going out to dinner and
meals together and things like that.

And it tends to be like, Hey, social
plans, like who's gonna go do this?

So for me, the motivation
behind it is that I want to be

a part of those things myself.

I think it is hard to do them, even though
from the outside they, they look easy.

So it, it is a balance for sure.

Cuz I don't want to become like
a cruise director where I'm like,

okay, at nine we're all gonna
be going over here to do this.

And then the moment you disappear,
everything just grinds to a halt.

CJ: Yeah, so I can't remember which
podcast I was listening to recently,

but it was some venture capitalists
talking about their sort of rules of

thumb about investing in companies.

And I do think of.

Any sort of event, conference,
meetup, whatever, is almost

kind of like a company, right?

Like there, there is work to
be done every single month.

To get people together, you have
to go set up the meetup thing.

You have to make sure
that the space is set up.

You have to maybe get a sponsor,
get food, get whatever, and.

One of the things that the VCs were
talking about was that they won't invest

in companies that have solo founder.

Like it has to be a real, real
edge case for them to be open to

investing in a solo founder company.

Whereas if you have 2, 3, 4 founders,
they're much more likely to invest

because then you can sort of spread
the workload a little bit more evenly

and also, There's like just a higher
probability it's gonna work out.

And so I think in like the, the most
recent iteration of Dev Reno that I was

participating in, it was me, you and
Andrew, nixdorf, like participating a lot.

And so I guess like one big
takeaway would be don't do it alone.

Like don't try to stand it up alone.

Colin: Burnout is real in
communities too, right?

So like, especially if you feel
like it's a thing that you need

to turn into a money making, you
know, initiative, things like that.

I actually want Dev Reno to be like,
we want to open it up more and run it

more like an open source project, right?

There's no reason why it
couldn't, especially for people

who are early career developers.

We need a website.

We don't have one, right?

It's the, the cobbler's children don't
have shoes situation where it's like we

have a bunch of developers, but we can't
self-organize enough to just build a

website, and I don't have preconceived
notions of what that should look like.

But I'm sure unfortunately there's a
whole bunch of people who probably do.

So maybe we can help shape it.

But then maybe this is a great
first project for a junior

engineer to, to work with a mentor,
do some prs, get PR reviews.

It can be just a JAMstack site,
doesn't have to be rails, whatever.


And we could, if we can scratch
together some sponsors to help pay

that person so they're not doing
free work, then that's even better.

Some people are happy to do this for
the trade of mentorship and things,

but if we can make it sustainable
with sponsors, things like that.

Like even the other week someone
was like, oh yeah, you know, this

would be much better if we had food.

It's like, if we want food,
we can make this happen.

Like I'm sure we can get a tools
company to sponsor, like, you know,

let's get a honebadger, an appsignal,
something like that to sponsor the

meetup and, you know, and trade for,
you know, pizza or whatever it is.

But I don't think pizza's why
people come to the meetup.

So it's, it wasn't important.

CJ: Right.


I think the for me, I remember
wanting to talk to more people

about Ruby in Reno and JavaScript.

I, I mean, both Ruby and JavaScript
I was super into and still am, and I

felt like a lot of the devs that I had
encountered from I G T or from like

these more corporate places, Didn't
want to talk about code in the evening.

Like they weren't just

Colin: They're just done.

CJ: yeah, they just didn't
seem as passionate about it.

And I was like, okay, there's,
let's create a space that.

People can come and hang out
and I can geek out with them.

You know, like, I mean, at home, I'm not
gonna geek out with my kids about this.

And so, yeah, I think we, we have the
same motivation that is just like, we

want to create a place where we can
hang out with other people who are

interested in the same things we are.

And I think at the, at the bottom
or like at the end of the day, that

feels like a really solid place to
start from when you're thinking about

starting a conference or meetup.

Colin: Yeah.

What are your motivations for like
going to conferences or like do you

do, is there a local community where
you're at now for meetups and things?

CJ: There is a bit of an online community,
but I have to drive, I would have to drive

about an hour to get to the more serious
developer meetups, which I haven't done.

I I need to do it just so
like get out and, and do that.

But Yeah, when it was in Reno
and it was 10 minutes away, you

know, just like popping offline
and zipping down was pretty easy.

But it's a bit more of a commitment.

So I need to, I need to make the
effort to go out and do that.

But I, I did join a couple of like, online
meetups that were just local people,

but they hang out over Zoom and talk
about Python or you know, whatever next

JS thing that they're geeking out on.

So there are definitely, there's
definitely a, a community here that I

have not like, sort of cracked into or
been participating in as much as I should.

But when it comes to conferences
though, like bigger conferences, I think

there's a couple different motivations.

Like one is to see and hang out with
my friends, and again, just to geek

out about the, the same like tools and
code and yeah, just kinda like be with

like-minded people who are also passionate
about the same technology that I am.

I would say that, It's also a great
opportunity to network and meet other

people who are in the same industry,
who you might be able to support with

something that you know, or they might
be able to support you with something

they know whether that's a job or just a
connection to a person at a company who

might have some inside knowledge about
something that you're trying to use.

Yeah, it's also a way to get exposure
to a lot of sort of the experts in

the sort of giants in the space that
you might not see oth otherwise.

Colin: Well, and even at a conference,
like I think, I'm not sure how

many people were at Rails Conf, but
the Ruby Conf tend to be smaller.

Or you have these regional events like,
and I'll give a plug for if you're on the

East coast and you're into Ruby blue Ridge
Ruby Conference is coming up in June.

And that's being organized by Jeremy
Smith and a few of his co organizers.

But like those are the kinds of
small Ruby meetups that I miss.

The, the, there was the
Mountain West Ruby conference.

There was.

I think the next Ruby Comp, the
official one from Ruby Central's in

San Diego this year, later this year.

And just loved seeing that.

I think the thing that was very
interesting to see at Ros Comp this year

was there were panels and discussions
with Ruby Central around how can

Ruby Central help you and vice versa.

Like how, you know, what does
Ruby Central need help with?

Ruby Central runs Ruby Gems, they
also run Rails Conf and Ruby conf.

And so they're like, we wanna
help you, but we also want help

knowing like, like how can we help?

You doing more conferences,
more meetups, things like that.

How do we help increase like diversity
and, and inclusion at, in terms

of are there time zones, are there
countries, are there parts of the

world that we're just not hitting it?

Is this two US centric?

You know, Rails Conf and Ruby Conf
mostly happen here in the US but

there's also a bunch of really cool
conferences around the world that happen.

In fact, The Rails Foundation is
gonna be running Rails World which is

gonna be an Amsterdam later this year.

And I think the plan for that is
to move it around the world, so

it'll be like a traveling tour.

You know, India does not have an
official Rails conference.

Same for Australia.

And there's a lot of people
in both of those countries.

But it's a big commitment to go from
Australia all the way to a rails

conf in the United States, like for
a week or whatever it looks like.

It's, it's exciting to see cuz I
think we've been hearing a lot of

people talking about rails is dead.


We hear that I think at every, every year
that someone decides to bang that drum.

And part of it is getting new early career
developers into the language, right?

We can't just be hiring seniors
and, and things like that.

But I'm excited cuz like Ruby Central
knows that, you know, blue Ridge,

Ruby, what can we do to help them?

Right, and what can we do to help?

You know, de Reno is not Ruby specific,
so it wouldn't make sense there.

But if I wanted to get more involved,
if you're a Rubyist and you want to

get involved with Ruby Gems, like
great material, if you're looking for

a job for your resume, things like
that, volunteering at conferences, it

puts you on a stage similar to like
if you're a speaker at a conference

that helps you to meet people.

And like you nailed it with
hanging out with your friends.


For me, it was like a whole bunch of
people that I knew on the internet.

And now I can say we went to dinners
together, we went on runs together,

we did all this stuff together, and
we have something more than just

like Twitter conversations about
work stuff that we can fall back on.

And, and I think that's, that's huge.

CJ: Absolutely, especially when building
trust with these people who you know,

you might want to go on their podcast
or they might wanna come on this podcast

or do a live stream together, or, you
know, kind of, it, it deepens that,

that trust in the relationship that
you can continue to build on over time.

There's also like so many conferences.

I think one of the things that I was
surprised by as a developer advocate

was just the sheer number of conferences
that exist across lots of different

language, language specific things.

There's also, you know, framework
specific things, or even, I

mean, like aws, they have like,
or company specific conferences.

And so we've got some
that are listed here.

And I think there's also a bunch of
different websites that you can go

to, but yeah, I mean, how do you find
the conferences you want to go to?

Do you have a subset that
you kind of narrow in on?

I know for me, I like going
to Ruby Comp and Rails Conf

cuz we get to go see friends.

I also really loved going to MicroCon
the year that I went to that.

And then a, a long time ago I
used to go to DEFCON in Vegas

like many, many years in a row.

That one was like a

super fun,

Colin: to go to Descon,

CJ: it's just like a party,
like huge, massive, wild party.

And, and that's like another,
another thing is that depending on

the number of people that come, it
can be wildly different experience.

Like, you know, Ruby Comp is like,
I dunno, 500, 600 people, whereas

Defcon is like 10,000 or more people.

So yeah,

Colin: Yeah.

And it's gonna be harder to find people.

I mean, strangely, in a larger
conference, it's harder to

find small groups of people.

Whereas like at a regional like
Blue Ridge, I think Jeremy's

aiming for like 150 people, right?

And they're gonna go like Tube
the river and go on a hike and

like it's like awesome cuz you
have this shared experience.

Whereas a Defcon, it's like if
you go post like who wants to go

to dinner, it's probably gonna
be like shouting into a void.

Cause there's just less
of that shared experience.

There's just, too many people.

So I take that into account
like G D C Game Developer

Conference is a good example.

It's lots of languages, lots of tech.

Huge conference.


And same with, I don't know if
WWDC is as in person anymore.

I think it's been more
shifted towards online.

But there's the conferences where
it's a company speaking at you

with all their specific stuff.

Those ones, I think I'll watch the
keynote online, like that's fine.

I don't really think that
that's the thing for me, but.

The startup weekends, the micro
confs, the people building stuff,

and like those are really fun.

So yeah, we'll definitely
include a list here.

There's definitely been a shift
towards like, conferences around

your language and business.

So like rails, sass, micro comp less
of like, we're gonna talk about the

internals of Ruby and things like that.

So kind of a little bit of
everything for everybody.

CJ: Yeah, there's even, I mean, all
things open and that conference and G

D C or I, I can't remember what it's
called, but there's just a bunch of

just general conferences too, which.

Tend to happen in really fun, cool
places like a water slide park or

like, you know, Disneyland or wherever.

So I don't know.

Lot, lots of, lots of lots of opportunity
to go out and meet people who are

into the same stuff that you're into.


Colin: Totally.


I think this episode is definitely a
little bit of a, like a pallet cleanser

from our more tech focused talks.

But I think like the, the the CTA for
everybody is to go look and see what,

what developer community you have in
your local area, maybe in your state

if you can find something online.

Or if you can get your company
to send you to a conference.

I think I've found personally doing CFPs,
I think we did an episode on this a while

back on like how to apply to be a speaker.

It, it's just such a game changer.

Going to a conference by
yourself is one thing.

Going to a conference as a speaker
means that you're gonna have a

built-in group of people who are gonna
come ask you questions afterwards.

You can go hang out and get lunch.

Things like that.

So I think it's a pretty important thing.

This job being online is, is not just
about the work and the code, it's

developing friendships and getting to
meet people and getting outside even.

It's full circle to where we started.

Do some, some tech forest bathing.

CJ: Totally.

And I do come home from conferences often.

Well, number one, like the all day
seeing people is tough for me as an

introvert and I do need to like go
back to the hotel room and recharge.

But coming home from conferences,
I definitely would always feel like

this wind beneath my sails about like,
oh, I saw so many cool things and met

so many cool people that you know,
you get inspired and motivated and.

It's, yeah, it's invigorating.

It's, I don't know, very different
from forest bathing, but a

different yeah, a different way to

Colin: You might, you might have
to go do some forest bathing

after a conference just to reset.

CJ: Yeah, totally.

All right.

I think that's the pod right there.

So as always, you can head over to
buildandlearn.dev to check out all the

links and resources in the show notes.

We'll see you next time.

View episode details

Creators and Guests

CJ Avilla
CJ Avilla
Developer Advocate @StripeDev. Veteran. 📽 https://t.co/2UI0oEAnFK. Building with Ruby, Rails, JavaScript
Colin Loretz
Colin Loretz
I like to build software and communities. Building software at @orbitmodel 🪐 Coworking at @renocollective 🎙Sharing software learnings on @buildandlearn_


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