I don’t normally do conferences. That’s not for lack of trying, mind you; there have been a number of events this year, particularly in marketing, where I’ve been keen to attend to get a feel for the direction of the technology in the sector and catch up with some PR & SEO friends. But work load (for the business advice website, is4profit.com), important long-term projects and being the sort of person who has not traditionally attended conferences & events has, frustratingly, kept me away from industry social gatherings… until now.
Joomla Day UK was set up for everybody involved with the Joomla! Content Management System (CMS) – 2 days in the Oakwood House conference centre in Maidstone, Kent. The wide variety of subjects on the itinerary were so interesting that it was difficult to decide which sessions to attend. In the end I attended all of them!</kidding>
Being a little rusty with the mechanics of Joomla! CMS (lots of core hacks about 30 months ago and only limited use of last year’s 1.5 release) the weekend started as a refresher to see where my knowledge could be brushed up but ended as a wholly inspiring experience. I’ve come away with a newfound enthusiasm, lots of fresh ideas, a boatload of knowledge & inspiration and some quality friends & connections.
The core team members were consumate professionals and a very amiable bunch. I got some good insights into the heart of Joomla from listening to Wilco Jansen, Louis Landry & Anthony Ferrara (and I’m NOT a developer) and Ryan Ozimek piqued my interest with his CRM know-how but a special mention goes out to Arno Zijlstra for inviting me to answer questions on content & SEO during the Design Open Session; Talk about a baptism of fire (I’d never spoken publicly before). Elsewhere I’d highlight Ross & Rowan for their enlightening Joomla website optimizer and Andy Wallace for setting the whole event up.
All the delegates were a friendly, inquisitive and widely disciplined bunch and I’ve already seen such incredibly positive feedback from “best tech event I’ve been to” to “I am reeling from jday uk”. Being an old hand with Joomla 1.0.x but new to the live scene it was fascinating and hugely enjoyable, so a big thanks to everybody involved especially for dragging me out for Chinese food in town on the Friday night.
Hopefully next year Joomla! Day UK 2010 will be bigger & better. If the venue can ensure a more reliable BB connection and bigger plates for the buffet then maybe I’ll consider getting a haircut if I’m going to be in front of an audience again 🙂