MySQL and I were proud to present talks at two recent events — Midwest PHP and Kansas Linuxfest — and it made me realize how vital the smaller shows are to the Opensource Community at large and MySQL in particular. I go to many larger shows like SCaLE where thousands attend. But is the smaller shows where I really get a chance to see what folks are doing with MySQL, learn about new software, and have a reasonable chance to enjoy the ‘hallway track’.
Both these shows would be considered small. Just over two hundred for MidwestPHP and somewhere in the one forties for Kansas. But both shows brought in top speakers from far and wide and combined them with top local talent. Often time the local talents are the real gems as they are often new faces with great ideas. Not all the great ideas are in the Silicon Valley or Austin.
MidwestPHP has been around for a few years and the speakers who attend know we will get spoiled by the organizers. This year many of us were humbled while playing ‘Cards Against Humanity’ by a rabbi at the speakers dinner social. We also know that the audience is coming to learn, will ask hard questions, and you had better bring your ‘A-game’. This is a PHP crowd that is looking for the latest and greatest information on their language of choice but are also actively looking at how to best incorporate CI, Databases, Containers, and other related tech.
This was the first year for the Kansas Linuxfest and in many ways it was like a family reunion. ‘Oh, you are the Linux family from Wichita? We’re the Linux family from Lawrence!’. This first year was as much establishing ties to the various Linux users in the state of Kansas as it was a Linuxfest. There were a wide variety of subjects covered from Python & Pex to Go and often times two or three great talks where scheduled at the same time.
Both shows will be back in 2016 and you should seriously consider putting time on your calendar for them. If you have a local opensource event or user group in your area, it is well worth the effort to connect with them. It is not only a valuable way to network with others like yourself but you can learn from others.
I recommend going to a least one session on a subject you know little or nothing about. It often will spark ideas to aid in current projects or provide insights on how others approach challenges.
The big shows are great and I enjoy them. But seek out a smaller show as you get a much better chance to interact with those around you. The smaller regional shows also provide better grounds for hunting for folks to add to your professional network.
And for those of you attending Collaborate 15 please see me at the MySQL Demo Pod.