🔥🎉✏️🎨📱💻⌚📺🍕🍨🇮🇹 – tl;dr
#Pragma Conference 2016 is over. Here is how I experienced it.
There is really something about conferences that attracts me and always makes me wanna come back. And I think it's something totally human. It's the urge of being with other people who I have something in common with. It's about learning and self-improvement through communication.
The first conference I ever attended was one in Germany back in 2013. And back then little Fabian was really excited about what was going on there. Never before had he experienced a real-life community in which people where only talking about what he loves to do the most which is developing Apps.
Over time my feelings about this conference started to dissolve as I realized this community was build up by and with people who don't like exploring new things. That of course does not apply to everyone there. It was basically when Swift came out and I was keen to know what this new language is capable of and I realized that this community doesn't share this feeling with me. I felt really disappointed. Why would one blame someone else for wanting to learn a new language? Can't we just enjoy what we have in common and embrace someones urge to learn a new thing?
In 2015 a friend of mine told me about a conference taking place in Italy. So I checked it out. On the website it said it'd be a conference for iOS & Mac developers that will be held in Florence in October of 2015. On a Friday there would be a workshop and on Saturday the conference. I said great let's go there! But I had school on that day. So I went to my principal and asked if I could go there. He agreed and released me from school 🎉 (Although I would've gone anyway even without permission 😉_)_
On October 8th I flew to Italy and did some sightseeing. On Friday I went to the Animations workshop held by Marin Todorov which were, looking back, the eight something hours that shaped my workflow the most. Marin taught us some great techniques to realize animations which I still use today. Saturday was conference day with inspiring talks from for example Michael Flarup and for me it ended with Ash Furrow giving a talk that I will never forget 🙇 Thanks Ash! 😉👍
I left Italy with an incredibly fulfilled feeling knowing that I would be back next time. Never had I experienced a community in which I felt so welcome like I did at Pragma!
So I did, immediately booked a ticket when they became available and flew to Verona last Tuesday. Same procedure as last year, did some sightseeing on day one, attended a workshop on day two and conference afterwards…
But this time it was different.
My workshop “Designing app icons for fun & profit” by Michael Flarup consisted of him, only eight attendees (myself included) and Klaus. This meant, it's time to speak in front of other people. I could feel my heart beating faster and faster as my anxiety came up. I haven't really written about it yet but mentioned it before. I am struggling with public speaking. And with public I mean a group of people I don't know exceeding the amount of two. I will cut short here as I am sure everyone has an understanding of what I am talking about.
But against the imaginations that started growing in my head, the workshop went well and I learned some cool techniques how to design an App icon which were later challenged when everyone was asked to step in front of the class one by one and hold a short presentation about the icon she/he created in which we would then apply the terms Michael explained earlier. I did not raise my hand when the question “who goes first?” was asked. I did indeed wait till everyone else had finished their presentations and presented as the last one… I was scared first, but then started to actually enjoy talking about and getting feedback on what I had created during the workshop. It felt good 😊
Afterwards we moved outside and had an open discussion about life, whats important to us and what we want to achieve. That was very inspiring!
On Thursday the actual conference began. This year the single track concept was introduced, meaning that talks are being held in only one room and you therefore won't be able to miss anything. I really like the idea and in my opinion it worked just great! Please continue this 🙏 By the way this also completely eliminates the question “where are you going next?" 🙈
I also like the concept of having two or three talks in a row and lunch or a coffee break afterwards. These are often underestimated. We use them to get in touch with other people, talk about what we do and how we do it, the problems that have occurred and how we can solve them.
But it's more than just that. For the first time at a conference I was able to build some real personal connections and it got quite emotional when it was time to say goodbye and we left Verona for all different parts of planet earth again.
What are my wishes?
(notes for the Pragma team)
Something that is obvious, but I'd still like to mention that you guys should pick a different location each year. I haven't seen much of Italy yet, but I am basically exploring it now with Pragma 😉
Picking venues is hard, I know that. But I am still buzzing from last years food at the hotel! That was just great 😋 And this years was nah—
Also we definitely need a solution for the WiFi 😀 Hotels are usually not prepared for 300 devs bringing all their MacBooks, iPhones, Watches and stuff. But also your own WiFi was collapsing under the load as you know ;) Of course we should listen to the talks instead of doing something else on our computers but we need internet to stay in contact with others 🐦📧📱
And lastly something more personal. This years conference has helped me overcoming some hurdles especially when it comes to public speaking. I am always working on coping with my anxiety better and better and I would really like to be able to hold a presentation in front of a bigger audience like the pragma community somewhen :)
You guys have built something very precious! Pragma is one of the best conferences I have been to. And I will be back next time :)