DrupalCamp - A Camper's Perspective
Published by Jason
We’ve posted a couple blog articles recapping the sessions that Aten presented at DrupalCamp Colorado, but as a first-time DrupalCamper and non-presenter, I thought I’d share a different perspective.
Prior to joining Aten, I worked for a company that held little regard for camps and conferences. The company was small and their position was understandable: sending employees to events is usually expensive, not only in terms of conference registration and travel, but also in lost productivity. Further, most conference sessions, like the HTML5 in Drupal session, are made available online after the conference closes, so there’s a notion that anything you would learn at a conference is a Google search away.
Here’s a few reasons why the “Google search” belief is misguided:
You don’t know what you don’t know. It’s true that nearly anything you might learn at a conference is available in alternate online sources, but the problem is that you probably don’t know what that information is and therefore can’t even begin to search for it. At a conference, you are presented with all sorts of information: subjects you’ve heard of and want to learn more about and topics that are completely new and foreign to you.
Learning should be fun. The most common reason we learn is to find the solution to an immediate problem. That’s not fun and it often means ignoring interesting or tangential information in order to focus on the problem at hand. Conferences give you a chance to learn for the sake of learning. Often you’ll encounter a time block where none of the sessions offered seem interesting or directly applicable to your work outside the conference. Make the most of your attendance and join a session anyway. You’ll learn something that you would have never considered spending time learning and the information you learn might help solve a problem you encounter later.
Conferences are about community. When mafia guys say, “I know a guy,” they’re not talking about how many friends they have on Facebook, it’s about access to people who know how to solve problems or can solve problems for you. Knowing people in the Drupal community means knowing people who can help you solve problems in a faster, more direct way than searching for answers or posting questions in forums. The collective experience and knowledge of the community is an amazing and powerful Drupal resource. The community is also great for impromptu ultimate frisbee games.
Catbook is in the Deep Web. There are some things that Google just can't find, and unless you went to the I CAN HAZ AWESOME - Advanced Theming Techniques session, you’ve missed the glory of Catbook and Juan, the Burmese. Sometimes, you really just had to have been there.