Random notes on YAPC 2013.

I’ve been lucky in a lot of ways. One of those is that I’ve been able to attend a decent number of professional events.

DEFCON is…DEFCON. It is probably about as well organized as it is possible for a group of people trying to herd 20,000 hackers to make it. The Black Hat briefings I went to were well organized, but I haven’t been to one of those in about 8 years, and that much money plus that many attendees buys a lot of organization.

I commented earlier that Texas LINUX Fest seemed well organized this year.

So how was Yet Another Perl Conference 2013?

I paid $80 to get in. And it was among the best and most thoughtfully organized technical conferences I have attended. Black Hat is perhaps the only other conference that, in my experience, even comes close – and that’s four figures to get into, so the trains had better run on time.

Every talk I went to started on time, or within a minute of the scheduled time. The tracks were thoughtfully divided into sections of 45 minutes or 20 minutes, so you had a good mix of shorter and longer talks. I think the 45 minute/20 minute track strategy is something other conferences (cough cough DEFCON cough cough) could benefit from. Some of the talks ran a few minutes longer than scheduled, but that was okay…

…because people were interacting, and the organizers built in generous 15 to 25 minute breaks between each track, so you had time to linger or run over a bit and still make the next talk…

…and/or grab a snack, because the organizers also provided food and drink. There was a morning breakfast, a mid-morning snack, and a 25 minute late afternoon break with snacks provided as well. And they laid out a decent spread: coffee, tea, juice, pigs in a blanket, doughnuts, bagels, muffins, and fruit for breakfast. More coffee, tea, and packaged snacks for the morning break. Cheese, crackers, cookies, veggies and dip, and more coffee and tea for the afternoon snack. And sodas all the time. Pretty much unlimited sodas. I almost think I may have drunk $80 worth of Diet Dr. Pepper. And on Monday night, they had the most magical words in the English language…

…”open bar”. (This was a pre-dinner mixer, and they did ask folks to voluntarily restrict themselves to one free alcoholic drink.) But enough about the food. What about the…

…tchotchkes? The conference provided ones were very good: a t-shirt, coffee mug, pens, notepads, and some other things I’m forgetting. One omission: they did not provide any kind of bag. (A couple of exhibitors, including my friend whump’s company WhiteHat Security, provided bags, but those didn’t show up until the second day of the conference. WhiteHat also provided some of those neat flashy bouncy balls, which I’m sure will be a big hit with the younger set.)

…The organizers also set up a job fair, at which I got a fair number of leads and even more stuff. Shutterstock (Edited to add: thanks to Nick Patch for correcting my synaptic misfire on this.) gave me a pretty cool t-shirt, which I may try to get a photo of later. Also noteworthy: the 4GB flash drive from MediaMath (which should be awesome for setting up a bootable LINUX distro: right now, I’m thinking Debian), and the aluminum water bottles from Booking.com. I’m afraid I’m forgetting someone who gave me something really cool, but I got so much stuff I could hardly carry it all. If I did overlook someone, I’ll try to make up for it in a second post.

Speaking of a second post, I think I want to end this one here and write about the actual talks I went to in a second post, just to keep the length on this one down to something reasonable. I also want to say thanks to a couple of folks and talk about Hallway++.

I realize I’ve been talking more about the stuff around the conference than the actual conference itself, but those things go a long way towards making people feel comfortable and welcome. When they are well done, like at YAPC 2013, people are happy. Happy people tend to learn more and interact more with each other.

4 Responses to “Random notes on YAPC 2013.”

  1. Nick Patch says:


    Did you mean Shutterstock instead of Shutterfly?

  2. stainles says:

    Indeed I did. Correction made, and thanks for pointing that out.

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