DrupalCon Survival Kit
Have you heard of DrupalCon yet? Do you know there are monthly meetups of Drupal lovers all over the world, and maybe one in your city?
If the idea of getting together with other Drupal enthausists is new for you then check out Drupical to get an idea of just how many meetups, business summits, training and DrupalCon’s there are all over the world.
DrupalCon, for those of you who are new, is a massive conference which brings together a large number of Drupalistas in one center for 4 to 5 days with the goal of sharing knowledge and spreading the love of Drupal. To give you an idea of how big “a large number” is, last year's attendance almost topped 4000 people as we all converged on Portland.
Going to an event like DrupalCon can be daunting if it’s your first time. They are big, there are lots of people, and way too many sessions to make the choice of which one to hit an easy one. My goal today is to give you a bit of a Survival Guide to making the most of your time there.
Why Are You Going?
This answer is different for everyone, but it’s an important one to have answered for yourself before you step foot on the conference floor. This will guide you for the rest of your time there. For some people it may be to learn how to be a better module developer, learning the latest tips and tricks to make front-end development even easier, or maybe you are there to put a face to some of the people you talk to on the forums or IRC.
Knowing your goal for the event will be key in you getting the most out of DrupalCon
Where You Staying?
Speaking from past experience, it’s important to do a little research on where you want to stay - you don’t want to end up out by the air port, 3 trains and two buses away from the fun.
Every DrupalCon has a list of hotels which are recommended and they fill up quickly. That is where sites like hotels.com and hotwire.com come in very handy. Not only can you find some gems but you can get them at a cheaper price then just calling the hotel directly.
After being at a number of these events, the important thing is to be close to transit - or even better close to the venue. Take a brief moment to get acquainted with the location and figure out your plan of travel between the conference and sleeping :)
What Events Should I Hit?
DrupalCon is not just all business, it also hosts some really great parties and after hours events. Everyday of the Con ends with multiple events to attend once the sun goes down. These events are all about making friends, having some laughs and the occasional brew … or twelve.
The official site will list the sponsored events - just keep in mind that there are a lot that are only promoted on the floor at the conference. Keep your ears open for opportunities to mingle!
Who Do You Want to Meet?
There are many amazing developers and business owners who are going to be at the event and they are very open to meeting you and sharing amazing gems of knowledge.
Everyone on the floor is very approachable, but there are going to be some who are very busy. If you want to stand out then reach out to them ahead of time. Since you already know your goal for the conference you could have a type of person in mind to whom you’d like to be introduced or for whom you have some burning questions - go ahead and email them with a quick introduction of who you are and what you are looking for.
I’ve done this before a number of times and it has always ended positively with meeting more great people.
What is Most Important?
This one is a simple one, have fun and smile it’ll be well worth it. There is no lack of good times to be had for even the most introverted person.
Hope to see you in Austin in June!