I woke up on Sunday morning, the morning after the Scottish Ruby Conference's after-party, and Lindsey asked me how the conference went. I found it hard to provide an answer that really described how I felt.
It's been almost a week now and I've had some time to reflect on it.
The tutorial day on Thursday was great, and right at my level. Everything that Chad and Keavy talked about was either new or contained enough information that I learned a little bit more about something that I already knew (if I'm honest it was mainly the former!). The information was so well presented that I feel like I've retained a lot of it despite it being pretty complicated in places.
Dave Hoover's opening keynote on Friday focussed on self-improvement and set the tone for the rest of the conference. I hadn't been sure which talks I would attend, but after the keynote I made an effort to focus on self-improvement-related talks.
All of the talks I went to see were great, but a few in particular seemed very well suited to me, including Alan Gardner's talk on test-driving our personal development, Joe O'Brien's talk on being an accidental business owner, Gustin Prudner's talk "Ruby makes you happy" and Keavy's talk about giving your career a health-check.
I could go into more detail about each of them, and others, but I won't just now!
After last year's conference I regretted that I hadn't talked to as many people as I could have. Even though I can seem outgoing at times I find it difficult to approach people, but I made a concerted effort to strike up conversations with people and I think it went well. I met a lot of great people at code(food,bar) (thanks Sam) and at the after-party I had some really great conversations with Joe, Chad and a few others.
Chad delivered a great closing keynote, and one thing that he said that really opened my eyes was that, after he had gone to a conference and met some extraordinary people, he had realised that the only way that he could be around those people all the time was to become one of those people.
This point, along with everything else, has really made me think about what I'm doing, why I'm doing it and where I'm going. I'm going to have to take some time to figure it out. I've started reading The Passionate Programmer based on several recommendations so I hope that helps.
All in all, I'm still finding it difficult to succinctly express how much I enjoyed the conference. It was fantastic and I met so many wonderful people.