At php[tek] we realize much of the value of a conference isn’t just about the sessions during the day. The connections that you make in the hallways and at social activities are just as important to your conference experience, lasting you a lifetime. Therefore we extend the experience into the evenings as well enabling you to get the most out of your conference! All our evening events are low key affairs for mingling with your fellow attendees and speakers from the event. So far our announced events for this year are:
Thursday evening we will be all about the community this year! The php[tek] conference started as the first community conference in the US, and we’ve always kept our community roots. This year we are going to be flying the flag strong and having an evening that’s all about everything that the community loves!
We’ve already lined up a number of things. Starting at 6pm we will have a rousing round of JeoPHPardy, where contestants will see how well they know know their PHP Trivia! Then immediately following that we’ll be hosting a live recording of the PHP Roundtable podcast from the main stage. After that’s done, we’ll fire up some Slideshow Karaoke if people are interested!
If all that isn’t enough for you, there will be additional activities. Our Web Security trainer will host a Capture the Flag evening to see how good you are at finding security holes in an application, and we’ve confirmed that the great Magic the Gathering PHP Belt Title is up for grabs by anyone who wants to join in on spell slinging! Plus we are sure that groups will organize themselves into some ‘hack groups’ and work on some open source projects. We’ll also break out our tote full of board games for people that want a more subdued evening, and have beverages & food served throughout the evening.
Each year, our event has a theme and Wednesday evening is always the big night for it! This year if you hadn’t guessed by our logo, we have a Casino theme to the event, and we will be hosting a Casino Night! We’ll have poker tables, blackjack, roulette, and craps, with the speakers from the conference acting as your dealers for the evening! Come join along for some (faux money) gambling while enjoying beverages and food. It will be an amazing time. (Also we’ll break out the board games for people who would prefer a less ‘casino-themed’ evening)
Oh, and did we mention? Local craft beer producer O’Fallen Brewery will be on-hand to offer up beer tasting of their offerings!
We started these a few years ago and had great feedback so will be doing them again. The newcomer sessions are designed to help introduce any first time php[tek] (or first time conference ever) attendees to what the conference is all about. We realized that a lot of culture has grown up around php[tek], and to someone new showing up who hasn’t ever attended before, they don’t know all the details. Where do people go at night? How should you get to know other people? All these questions will be answered. Those presenting the newcomer sessions will also be more than happy to help point out excellent sessions that are definitely ‘not to miss’, and make introductions to people for you. We welcome any non-newcomers who want to just show up and make some new friends!
A number of years ago we stopped having an ‘Uncon’ as part of our event, because we found that the idea had gotten tired, and was usually filled with the same speakers as the main conference, giving additional talks. So we wanted to come up with something that gave the original ‘feel’ of what the Uncon was supposed to be, a place for new ideas to be explored and structured conversations.
We found a solution to this in hosting an Open Spaces area! If you aren’t familiar with the Open Spaces concept, it’s somewhat between a Birds of a Feather, and an Uncon. It’s a great way to organize people getting together with like minded individuals to have conversations about topics that are important to you. This is organized and run completely by the attendees themselves.
Basically there will be a board, that will allow for people to sign up with topics that they would like to have a conversation about. They pick a time slot, and write in the topic that they are interested in. Then all the do is show up at the right time and place, and see who else shows up to join them. We will provided a dedicated room for this with a circle of chairs and a flip-board to write on, nothing else. The main idea with this is to spark a conversation about a topic that either you are passionate about, or would like to know more about.
… and more
We are still working on a few other fun activities & events that may come to fruition around the event. You’ll just have stay tuned to hear from us if other ideas will pan out!