DevConf.cz 2018 and my Europe visit

Series: Speaking

This year’s DevConf.cz was my first time at DevConf and also my first time speaking at a conference. It was attended by about 1500+ people! That’s massive, isn’t it? I was super excited from the moment my talk was accepted.

Note: This is not an event report. It’s more of an informal description about my experience attending the conf and visiting Europe!

Giving the talk

I was speaking about CentOS Containr Pipeline - the project I have been working on since some time at Red Hat. So far we had been quietly working on developing the service but at DevConf.cz, we wanted to talk about it and tell more people that we’re ready to on-board them to our service. In a nutshell, motto of our project is to help open-source projects build and update their container images so that they can focus on developing awesome stuff instead. 😉

Since it was my first time speaking at a conference, I was obviously nervous. To top that, I saw some really well versed fellows in the list of people interested in attending my talk. I was excited and nervous at the same time! To my surprise, my talk managed to get pretty high in the list of popular talks. At its peak, it was on 13th spot before sliding to 21st spot on the popular talks page. There were about 250 talks in all.

Except going a bit fast, I think it went good. One of the tips I received for the talk was to “learn to breathe while speaking.” 😆

Here’s my talk that explains what we provide to any open-source project that joins us:

I got some interesting questions at the end of the talk and, in general, people loved our work. Few people even wanted to do an on-premise installation of our service. It’s out there on GitHub so practically anyone can do that but, we’ve not made effort in deploying it beyond our infra so, YMMV! 😆

People interactions

Besides the talk, I had a great time talking with people. I’m more of an introvert but I love talking with people. It’s just the starting a conversation is extremely difficult for me! So giving a talk sort of helped me have a topic to talk with at least those people who attended it (my talk had about 100 attendees.) Besides that various colleagues whom I knew only by name were also present at the conf.

At the end of the conference, I think I socialized about 3 months worth of my average socilzation in just 3 days! Since I love talking with people and giving talks (doing meetup talks on regular basis) this was most positive takeaway from the trip!

Travelling Europe

If you have seen the iconic Bollywood movie “Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge”, you would know that most of us in India are really fascinated with the idea of traveling to Europe. 😉

I traveled to a few cities on the sidelines of conference. My friends who had been there earlier had warned me about how cold it might get in the part of Europe I was visiting. Fortunately, it didn’t get so cold and I ended up loving the weather instead! The part of world where I live, we don’t feel winters colder than around 10 C. Even then, noons generally end up getting warmer.

But in Europe, it was cold by my standards for the entire day. And I absolutely loved it. To be honest, I was not excited about cold as it might seem from the post. I was planning to cut my trip short and come back to India just because the weather conditions seemed so scary to me (my team’s still making fun of me for this). Glad I didn’t make that change.

Properly laid out public transport system in all the cities I visited (Brno, Prague, Budapest and Vienna) was a surprise to me. The accuracy of Google Maps in India is somewhat flaky at times but in Europe, it was the most used and relied upon app for me. I was shocked when Google Maps even pointed that a tram/metro was running a minute or two late than it’s scheduled time.

European architecture has always fascinated me. It’s elegant and beautiful in its own way. Places like Prague Castle, Parliament building in Budapest, and your average buildings across the city left me dumbstruck on multiple occassions.

History is another reason why I was always so fascinated about visiting Europe. From what I could gather during this short and haphazard trip, World War II has left a lasting impact on Europe. I did study about it during my schooling but it was from Indian point of view. In Europe, you get to know that even after seven decades, World War II is stil among the most crucial events in history.

European countryside is something you normally keep wallpapers of (because wallpapers of Maria Sharapova, Yami Gautam and the likes are distracting.) I didn’t get to explore much of European countryside during the visit. And since it was winter, I didn’t feel disappointed about it. Had it been European summer, I’d have been cursing instead. This is something I want to be able to do if I get a chance to visit Europe again.

That’s it

Okay, I need to stop somewhere. My trip to the conference and Europe in general was filled with lots of experiences and if I try to write it all down, it’ll get too long.

Knowing more about European history by visiting various memorials, palaces, churches, etc. is one thing I wish I had done better. Tasting different beers is something I did well on my first visit already. Realizing I could enjoy cold weather (not Antarctic cold!) was a pleasant surprise! Being a pure vegetarian guy who doesn’t even eat eggs was a major pain in the ass. Meeting so many awesome fellow Red Hatters was amazing.

Hopefully, I’ll be writing about DevConf 2019 and maybe FOSDEM as well in about a year’s time. 😉

Until next time… 😆


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