The psychical place where the event was done, was in the Santa Maria University in Santiago, the chosen place was really nice, 1 big conference room which split in 3 parts for later hold the parallel track sessions. Outside of the conference room, exists a ground where you can talk with each other, take some sun (others a nap), lunch and maybe drink some beer (will describe above).
There were different teams helping to develop the event, i can remember people from the following teams: Security, Support, Presenters, Personal assistance (for international speakers who do not speak Spanish)..etc. I would count no less than 120 people helping on this, so the event was something big. Just to mention that when i arrive the past Friday in the morning there were about 600 attendances and then after the accreditation…about 800.
I met very nice speakers, like Caridy Patino (Yahoo Senior Search Engineer), Charles Nutter (leader of JRuby), Stephanie Rewis (Founder of W3Conversions), Mark Ramm (Technical leader at Sourceforge.net), Jano Gonzalez (Continuum Developer), Hannu Krosing (PostgreSQL hacker) and Tomas Pollak (creator of Prey Project). All speakers were very open and nicely, some of them dedicated a lot of time to talk with the attendances and get involved in different activities around the event, which is really good for all attendances, is not common that the whole events the speakers dedicate some time to talk to everyone (even drink a beer).
I went to a couple of sessions and i would like to remark four of them: Caridy talked about how are they implementing Node.JS in Yahoo, before the talk we discussed a lot of what Node.JS is and where is going… seems like a strong competitor for web services is already around and positioning in huge production environments. The talk was pretty good, covering different details about business requirements and technical stuff as solutions. Stephanie (who opened the event, gave the first key note), talked about CSS3 ( i have to admit that i am not a fan of CSS, HTML, i use them… but well..), she gave a master class of new features of CSS3 and tips to provide nice user interfaces, as well how to deal with different browsers. Scott Chacon (author of ProGit book, and VP of GitHub) gave an excellent speak about GIT with focus in trees and the reset command, very nice slides and well done presentation. And i would consider the talk of Tom Preston-Werner (GitHub CTO) the one with a huge personal impact to me. He talked about optimizing for happiness in your daily job, and how the external and internal motivators act directly in benefit of your happiness (or maybe not). I felt very identified when he described a simple example: you go to the office, you do your work, back home and then you work (or hack) your personal projects, and i have to admit that… i am that guy.
The non-technical part, was really impressive that sponsor companies provided free beer for all attendances after each session day!, the two days ended with a beer party in the ground, this is not common, trust me, and is very valuable!, not just for the free beer, just for a different context where all attendances (including speakers and organization) could interact in a different way and relax. Also i can not omit to mention the effort putted by Movistar and (specially) Microsoft to make than more than 800 hackers disconnect from their laptops or geek devices to enjoy something different, if you attended the event you know what i am referring to 🙂
This is the first time that i do not see any bad points in a conference, the organization did an excellent work, sometimes they look tired but always moving on, putting all their energies to have a successful event and it was. i just say THANK YOU! for have the opportunity to be part of this and enjoy a nice two days event.
I am sure that Startechconf 2012 is something that’s coming, and i cannot imagine how it could be better than the first version. If you could not attend this year, please consider to prepare for the next one, because it will rock!