This week I volunteered at Devoxx UK, and what an intense experience it has been!
🔥 Offline events are way, way better than anything virtual we have had during the previous two years. No video conferencing tool, no matter how fancy, will replace the joy of being in the same physical space as other people who share similar interests with you.
🔥 I've never worked with Java, so being at a Java-centric event was definitely a step outside my comfort zone. It was an interesting experience and a way to see what exists outside my Ruby bubble, what problems engineers are trying to solve and what the current buzzwords are.
🔥 Volunteering at a tech conference is a way to hack your way into an expensive event you wouldn't have been able to afford otherwise. You spend part of the day volunteering, and then you are free to attend conference talks, network and just enjoy the event. Most of the time I was actually monitoring conference rooms and assisting speakers, so I got to listen to talks while volunteering as well.
One of my fellow volunteers actually admitted that he enjoyed volunteering at this conference more than being there as a regular attendee with a ticket. Volunteering felt more involved and more of a community experience for him. And I think I know what he meant.
So much of this is not about tech at all. People need people.
I hope we haven't unlearned that.