Capturing the pros so when I consider returning, along with its cons, i.e. time away from home and family, there is a balanced decision.
- Inspiration. When asking a colleague, who was attending for the first time, what she liked most about the conference this is the word she used. I agree. There are so many cool things going on, and people passionate about what they’re doing, it’s hard not to get inspired.
- Fellowship. With my 3rd ApacheCon now in the rear-view mirror, I can say with confidence that attending is a unique experience, compared to other conferences. At first I didn’t know the reason, now I do. It’s community values, making it more like a family reunion than a tech conference. Seeing old friends, finding out what they’ve been up to, and enjoying the shared common bond is an integral part of the experience.
- Learning. This one goes without saying, but it’s good to point out anyway. Plan on learning something when you come. You can learn from the newbies about the cool, innovative stuff, or from the old-timers about the Apache processes. It’s the best of both worlds.
- Cooperation. Perhaps the biggest reason that we site to our boss. Because we’re a tight-nit community, it naturally follows we want to help each other be successful.
- Discovery. Always a pro. Get something useful that you weren’t even looking for. This year I learned that Kerberos is causing great pain within the Hadoop ecosystem. And that there is a new project in the incubator, Apache Unomi, that may help to change the way we think our data should be used over the Internet.