Ok, we’re back from #RubyDay2016 and it was a blast! We moved our whole team to Florence to organize our second conference and this time it’s bigger and better! This is a little recap of how hard it was to organize but how much it paid off in the end.
A little history
RubyDay has always been an awesome event, a place where you could meet a lot of coders, a lot of people that maybe you’ve only met online. Since a lot of us work remotely, it could happen that you could meet your year-round colleagues at the conference. There was just one problem: the conference was closed and unaccessible. It was hosted mainly in Italian, the same people would come every year and most of them would be a male audience.
Way back in 2014 we drew the line. As an Italian company we felt Italy was missing a great Ruby conference (just like the ones we often attend worldwide). With the help of Cantiere Creativo and Welaika we were ready to organize a conference that could be a boiling pot of cultures, good people and warm feelings.
We started in 2015 by organizing a 1-day Ruby conference in Turin. Lots of positive feedback there but we wanted more. The conference was still partly Italian and a lot of the RubyDay aficionados enjoyed it however few new people showed up and we knew we could do better.
Then came RubyDay 2016 (which probably should be called RubyConf Italy by now). A two day Ruby conference with more than 200 people (which is nothing compared to some bigger conferences but a huge achievement for us), people from all over the world and with a diversity never seen before in a previous RubyDay.
What happened in Florence
We wanted to make sure people came to the conference to have fun. And we know fun involves:
- interesting, insightful talks;
- cool, diverse people;
- an awesome place to be;
- night party!
So the RubyDay came to be. Hosted in Florence (which probably needs no introduction :)) in a comfortable venue packed with interesting people talking about cool topics.
This RubyDay was all about improving what we’ve done for #RubyDay2015 so our main goals were to create a highly technical conference that also accounted for those people and minorities that do not regularly attend Ruby conferences.
If we’d have to pick a couple of talks that sum up the conference it would probably be Paolo Perrotta’s technical talk on refinements which explained what Ruby refinements are and why apparently nobody is using them and Marion Schleifer’s talk about what her experience of the Ruby community has been from the point of view of someone who knew nothing about programming and wanted to start working with Ruby. Marion’s talk also exposed one really important aspect: what’s the status of women in the Ruby community, why we don’t see them that often in our work environment and what we have to do to grow that presence.
Another big presence at the conference was of speakers working on Rails alternatives. Luca Guidi (Hanami), Piotr Solnica (ROM, dry-rb), Nick Sutterer (Trailblazer) all talked about the need to move on from what Rails has taught us the in early years. In the words of Devon Estes who was also part of the speaker line up, we are part of The European Ruby Revolution.
The talks were all very interesting and it would have been great attending them all. Fortunately we’ll release the recordings shortly.
Of course we also had time to rest, eat and have a good glass of wine. We had a a lot of good Italian food and wine for lunch and a long after-party where people had the chance to connect, laugh and share experiences in the Ruby community.
Thank you so much
A lot of hard work went into organizing this conference. We were required to be responsive, full of ideas and with a positive attitude. Everybody wants to take home different things from a conference and we knew we needed to account for all of them. Thanks to all the conferences we regularly attend we know what attendees, speakers and sponsors want and we tried providing the best possible experience. It probably took us at least 500 hours to run this event and we hope everybody had a good time, we totally think it was worth it considering all the happy people that were at the conference.
We’d also like to thank all the sponsors, the speakers and the attendees that made it possible to have so much fun in Florence. We would also like to thank the Travis Foundation that helped us via their Diversity Tickets platform. One of those tickets made it possible to meet Oana Sipos that helped us managing the talk rooms!
Special thanks also go to Daniele Palombo (the latest addition to our team), that helped writing this blogpost by reporting his experience at the conference as an attendee.
Stay tuned for next year! Also, if you have tips, suggestions, something you didn’t like about the conference, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
Epic shots of awesomeness
To end this long post, here are some of the funniest (and incriminating) tweets and photos from the conf!
Some of the hard work behind it:
Alessandro Lepore hosting an unofficial drinking event before the conference:
A photo of the conference venue before starting the conference:
Xavier Noria talking about tension-causing commas:
Kylie Stradley talking about bugs with a delightful mix of code and hand-drawings:
Paolo Perrotta’s talk making people laugh and wonder about refinements:
Awesome people at the conference:
Awesome spekers at the conference:
Awesome food at the conference:
Awesome speakers (probably drunk):
Some more awesome speakers (joking about other speakers):
Cool RubyDay shirts:
Alessandro Lepore keeps on drinking:
Late night stroll in Florence after the conference:
And of course there’s Ju Liu’s awesome #RubyDaySelfie.