(I am not on this photo because I was at the main door waiting for the ocassional latecomers… but the photo is great nonetheless)
So, DeSymfony2013, the Spanish Symfony conference, is over. It was the first time we hosted the conference in Madrid, and there were more speakers (23) than ever. There were also more attendees than ever, which is something that us, as organizers, are concerned about. The amount of people that want to attend the conference is amazing, and the feedback is very good.
At the same time, to be honest, it is difficult to keep the traits that made DeSymfony a lovely conference while growing in attendees, and also is difficult to give a good service with so many people. Just the task of preparing +350 welcome bags took us several hours, to give an example. Also, it is very difficult to keep prices as always (that is, under 80€ with meals and coffee breaks included) while at the same time avoiding long queues. Every small thing needs thought and discussion. Is raising the prices a solution? It will reduce the number of people and allow us to host the conference in a really good venue, but, at the same time, you have to somewhat dislike to do this kind of selection, specially being us a non-profit organization.
Also, and while past years I really liked the mood of the attendees, and that is what gave me, personally, fuel to work on this, this year I do not have the same feeling. Things like two attendees who I saw being harsh to the personnel of the university that allowed us to host the event in their installations for free. Of course I am speaking about two cases in +350 attendees… and it is obvious that as the number of people grows statistically you are exposed to this, but still, as I am just doing this for the feeling that gives me, it makes a difference. The Spanish community has grown, is bigger and healtier as ever, and this comes with growth, so the upsides are many bigger than the downsides.
In any case, it is clear that with a community that has grown so much, things will never be the same. Maybe the conference will change totally, or maybe it becomes more professional, who knows. What is clear is that it cannot be the same thing. And given that this is produced by the success, is good… except for the nostalgia ;)