The booth is packed up, the sessions have ended, and we’re all home from DrupalCon. I wrote a blog post leading up to DrupalCon about the sessions I was looking forward to and I thought I’d write a complementary piece about how it met expectations. This was my first DrupalCon experience and I attended as the manager of a production team, so please note that everything here is from that perspective.
I was impressed with the variety of sessions offered. There were sessions for developers, designers, project managers, business people, and just some extra ones about self-improvement. As a first-timer, I tried to attend an assortment of sessions to get a feel for what DrupalCon had to offer. The speakers were all very good, the presentations (mostly slides) were easy to follow, and the topics were relevant. I know the sessions were hand-picked from a long list of submissions, and you could feel the effect off that policy. I especially appreciated the sessions that were focused on a specific topic or tool. Those sessions were the most productive and gave me some good takeaways.
A big part of the DrupalCon experience for me was the Exhibit Hall. I enjoyed walking the aisles and seeing what other sponsors were doing and how they presented themselves. Unleashed Technologies had a medium sized booth and plenty of foot traffic at booth 110. It was nice to interact with the other attendees and hear what questions they had for us. As I was interviewing for some positions, it was also great to have quick 5-minute interviews to see what people were doing and what they were looking to do. This was an ideal setting for an initial screening process. As a bonus, we had several people that promised to follow up next week!
DrupalCon was in Baltimore this year, downtown at the Convention Center. Unleashed Technologies is in Columbia, MD, just 20 minutes down the road from Baltimore. Because of that, it was nice to be able to send a larger portion of the team than we usually get to do. The Baltimore Convention Center seemed like a great match for the event and it was handled very well. There were numerous signs to find your way around, which made it easy to find which sessions you wanted to attend. However, some of the sessions got crowded very quickly and I often had to stand in the back or sit on the floor. Some sessions even had people kicked out by the Fire Marshall! It seems there might be some room to improve here.
The schedule was very full, complete with sessions, bird of a feather meetings, discussion panels, areas set aside for sprints, and hands-on training. I did not take advantage of the summit day (Monday) or the sprint day (Friday), but the Tuesday through Thursday schedule was good enough to satisfy my needs. I found no problems filling my schedule with things to do and was glad I had prepared a list before arriving. I was glad for the various tracks and there were usually two or three places I wanted to be at the same time.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my first DrupalCon experience and would heartily recommend everyone in the Drupal community try to attend one. Though this was my first DrupalCon, I’ve been to many other conventions and I was impressed with how well this one came together. I found it to be informative, easy to navigate, and wishing it didn’t have to end. I’m looking forward to Nashville next year!