DrupalCon Amsterdam: "There and back again"
DrupalCon Amsterdam has come to an end (well, it ended last week, buy hey, I need to catch up on some work as well). It was the biggest DrupalCon in Europe ever, 2,300 attendees! Pretty impressive. I've written a couple of blog entries, trying to capture my stay in Amsterdam and my feelings for a DrupalCon which I attended for more than three days (which has been the case with DrupalCon London and DrupalCon Munich).
Not only did Drupal 8 get a BETA during these days, but a lot of sprinting was happening (as always) and it was pure joy walking through the Berlage in the center of town and at the venue, seeing all that work being put into Drupal.
Tuesday and Wednesday was filled with interesting sessions, and both Tuesday evening with nice boat rides and pub crawl and Wednesday evening with open museums (the light installations at the EYE was spectacular!) was very nice indeed. Thursday, the day for separation for many of us, was also filled with good sessions and the closing talk with Holly and Stephanie both invited us to DrupalCon Barcelona next year, as well as presenting cool statistics about the Con.
All of the sessions I attended was good, and, as always, I'm impressed by the time and energy people devote to making Drupal happen and spreading the knowledge and some love. Dries Buytaert's keynote ('the Driesnote') was inspiring, but I didn't agree with everything he said. He talked about the "free-riders", the ones who doesn't help out with Drupal, the ones who only take advantage of the system witouth giving something back. Such a thing is a bad thing, according to Dries. But I think that we also need those free-riders, becuase those free-riders are the ones using the system, making the statistics for Drupal go up worldwide, spreading the word of Drupal. If we don't have free-riders, are the only ones who should use Drupal the ones who code it and support it? If so, Drupal won't get far...
Amsterdam RAI, the venue, was a good venue. Apart from some sessions being very popular (which is a pain in the a** forseeing) so I couldn't get into them, the rooms and hallways were good for sessions and sprinting. The technique was good as well, sound and vision in the sessions was flawless. Big thumbs up for that. The recorded sessions was also professionally made, at least the ones I've had time to watch. Finding them on YouTube the same day or, to some extent, the next is also impressive. Big thumbs up to the techinal team who worked on that during the Con.
The evening activites was also impressive. Ingenuity, local connection and very nice people raised the bar a lot. I kind of fell in love with the architecture of Amsterdam with it's old crooked buildings, canals and the narrow streets, and the boatride on Tuesday evening was magical!
But there's always something that brings a frown to the face. This time I frowned upon three things. The wi-fi. The coffee. The food.
The wi-fi. It's shouldn't be that hard to calculate that if 2,300 persons gather in a closed area and at least half of them have both laptops and phones, there will be much traffic. I don't want to drag Drupal Association of the local community in the dirt here, they hired a company to manage the network and wi-fi, but it's irritating trying to get online for various reasons, and the network dies several times a day.
The coffee. Apparantely the coffee last year in Prague was bad. The worst thing about coffee this year, was that it wasn't free. It cost me 2.5 Euro. When I pay this much for a ticket to a DrupalCon I kind of expect coffee or some other drink to be free. If it's too hard to calculate, try giving out beverage tickets, two or three per day. Some will get lost, some won't be used, but at least I won't have to pay 2.5 Euro for a small cup of coffee that's not even that good.
The food. A small bowl of pasta or paella. A sandwich and some dessert. I was hungry three hours later. I had the opportunity to visit DrupalCon Munich in 2012 and the food there was out of this world. Every DrupalCon after that will always have worse food. But this one is a killer. No imagination. Lots of garbage (in a time where we try to limit our carbon footprints). No drink. (At least I couldn't find any. Or maybe I was supposed to go and buy me a drink for 2-3 Euros.) Didn't get that. Didn't do that either.
There. Now that's out of my system. I won't remember that when I'm, 60. But I'll remember the rest of DrupalCon Amsterdam. The sessions. The laughs. The excursions.
...and the ugly...
Well... I found an ugly statue somewhere in town, but otherwise that headline was only in it for the Clint Eastwood reference.
Special thanks to...
It takes a lot of work making a DrupalCon happen, and the Drupal Association pulled it off with a gold star I think. Sure, there were flaws, but then perhaps those won't happen next time, or there were good reasons to why there were flaws. But the Drupal Association do this for a living, so I will only give them a normal-sized 'thank you'. The big 'thank you' goes to the local community who gave the DrupalCon a Dutch feeling. I also want to say thank you to those people who were mentoring before, during and after DrupalCon. Instead of working with the code like you perhaps wanted to, you devoted your time and energy to encourage us lesser beings who want to learn more about Drupal. Also, a big hug to Annertech, who made the Quiz Night happen. It's not an easy task trying to get
Morton and Bert the crowd quiet so you can present questions and answers. The man with the microphone also liked the name of our team - Fools drush in - which was nice!
You all know who you are - THANK YOU!