Often in this space, you read about the latest and greatest events happening around DC… or read the coverage of the conferences I've attended all over the place. This time, I'm using this space to announce something different:
Disclaimer: I am the Chair/Chief-Cat-Wrangler of this UnConference. It means I'm 137.2% biased in everything I say here. But remember, "biased" is not the same as "wrong". 😉
What's an UnConference you ask? Have you heard of BarCamp? How about PodCamp? Or even my own personal favorite SocialDevCamp? They're all UnConfs. The point of an UnConf is to get rid of the structure and provide an event that is more community-driven, focused on interesting topics of the moment, and engages everyone at whatever level they can. Normally, people kick around presentation ideas, they get voted on day of the UnConf, a bit of chaos ensues, and a schedule pops out the other end. That means you don't necessarily know who will be there or what the topics will be. But that's where we're a little different…
Since we're attached to the regular ZendCon, we have a few major benefits:
- First, I don't have to track down sponsors, a venue, projectors, or any number of other little things. So I can focus on finding smart people to come and talk about their PHP-related passions.
- Second, we have some of the smartest people in the PHP community already planning to be there. How convenient.
- Third, we have a marketing budget! Okay, so the budget is barely enough to buy three markers and a cup of coffee, but still.
- Finally, and most importantly… whatever treats and caffeine-ladened beverages ZendCon shares are ours too.
And this brings me to the biggest difference: We're going to do some voting before ZendUnCon begins to narrow down a few presentations.
Before you start throwing around phrases like "the unconference spirit", hear me out.
Since most people will have to spend time, money, and lots of effort to attend, we need to help them convince their boss/spouse/hamster that the trip makes sense. We need to make it easier for those people to attend. Therefore: a) we will not fill all the slots, b) all presentations will be chosen by conference attendees, and c) no one gets a free pass to present.
And here's my secret goal in all of this: I want people to come to the UnConference and not leave. I want them to forget that there's a Conference going on. I want the discussion happening, the caffeine flowing, and bigger ideas to appear on our side of things.