tl;dr I've attended my very first remote conference, learned a ton of stuff and fell in love with the cozy atmosphere and people.
Conferences… I actually love them, and the level of excitement in the weeks before the event nearly kills me every time. But as soon as I'm there, the time is pretty stressful and exhausting. Don't get me wrong, I really love conferences, especially tech conferences, where you can meet a lot of new and interesting people or learn something new about cool topics. Of course, this has it's price. Usually, the more prominent conferences are super expensive and in the range of 1000s of $$$. The thing that bothered me most was actually the half-life time of those events. Every time I see people getting back from such an event super pumped and motivated. Still, after 1-2 weeks, this excitement has vanished… Additionally, the new-made contacts are not maintained further, then a LinkedIn connection. Just count the people you speak to the next time. In a short time of 2-3 days, you really get an information overload that is hard to process.
That's why I've been super excited about the event I attended last week. A tech conference in the remote format. I'm a huge fan of remote work and the benefits it can bring. So, of course, I was interested in such a setup. Also, because it was new to me and I've never experienced anything like that. This 12 hour remote conference was called backendlessconf and organized by the team of ZEIT. As soon as I've heard that, my fanboy alarm went on, and I've signed up! The whole thing was totally free, but that was definitely not a compromise in terms of quality. There were so many great and exciting talks and insights from people in the industry. The cool thing: You could experience all that from the comfort of your home or favorite co-working space. For me, this had tremendous effects in terms of really being focused and absorbing all the inputs into my brain. The comfort thing is 100% not to be underrated. Additionally, you can test things out right on your machine if you want to. So in terms of topics and information, this thing was brilliant.
Okay, I know what you're thinking right now… the conferences are usually not about the talks but more about the discussions with other people and attendees. And I give you this point. But also for that problem, the backendlessconf team had an answer. They've created a Slack Channel for all kinds of announcements, discussions, and watercooler talks weird GIFs and memes. This gives you the freedom to hop in when you want to or lean back and listen to almost every discussion at the conference. I've learned so many things from just reading threads and comments on the channel. I can say that backendlessconf was definitely the most productive conference I've ever attended.
Of course, you don't have super big areas, food everywhere and a gigantic show, but let's be honest. Does a conference need that? For me, it's primarily about two things. Talks and people. And I can say that backendlessconf did a perfect job with the remote format.I'm already excited for the next one!
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