Umbraco Codegarden - a veterans perspective!
So I was trying to work out whether 2018 this was my 8th or 9th Codegarden! Either way I’d class myself as a CG Veteran. An old timer…My first was 2009!
I remember the good old days in Copenhagen when I first started going, back when Callum was still in nappies ;-)
We had death metal pillow fights, live tattooing, live electrocutions and myriad other scary and dark things that could only come out of the minds of Per and Niels and the Danish sense of humour! And the never to be forgotten (or replaced) Ole Erling (RIP)!
It was chaotic, unpolished and exciting. I wouldn’t say amateur, as putting on an event of any size is no mean feat, and I know how much organising just one day takes from the last 9 UK festival’s, let alone a 3 day event. But it felt a little anarchic, from the boat trips and the sticking of Umbraco stickers under bridges (which coincidentally are still there!) to the crazy marching kazoo bands.
So how do I feel now it is a bit more corporate, planned, polished and in it’s new Odense home for 3 years now…
If I’m being honest, and they don’t call me Honest Adam for nothing...I can safely say that it is as good as it ever was! Yes it’s bigger than ever before, yes Per has sadly departed...the spark maybe wasn’t quite the same on stage as it used to be during Bingo...after all Niels didn’t have his partner in crime, each of them egging each other on to come up with crazy ideas and bouncing off each other on stage like Laurel and Hardy or Morecambe and Wise (showing my age again!) but none of that really matters.
Admittedly the first year it moved to Odense, and I entered the venue I didn’t know what to expect. It was a huge unfinished warehouse space. It looked a little ‘thrown together’, but within the first 30 mins, listening to the beginning of the keynote starting and taking in the atmosphere, seeing the same familiar friendly faces, you realise it’s not the venue or the things that happen that makes Codegarden, but the people - the community.
Community is all that matters!
I’ve said this for a long time and I’m a massive advocate and always have been, the community is what makes Umbraco so strong.
And I’ve said it many times before in new client pitches and whilst chatting to others outside the community about Umbraco, you don’t really get the essence of the Umbraco community until you’ve been to Codegarden. Yes you can be involved in conversations on Twitter and our.umbraco. Or attend local meetups like umbLondon or the Umbraco UK Festival, but Codegarden is just that something a bit, well, more!
It has a special buzz about it that you can’t really explain in words. You only get a real sense of the friendliness, honesty and excitement by actually going in person.
As Katie mentioned in her blog article as one of the newbies, “Codegarden is so much more than just a conference, it’s a journey” - and she’s exactly right. It’s daunting arriving at a huge venue with so many people on your first day. I remember my first time, arriving at the venue not knowing anyone at all...but you do actually know people already!
If you’ve been active on twitter or on our.umbraco you begin to recognise faces as you walk around, and they are just like you! They have something inside them that made them come to their first Codegarden too! So you talk to them - you say “Hey, you’re such and such off of Twitter, we chatted the other month about X” - and that’s it! You’re in...your first connection of probably hundreds at Codegarden and then you finally get it. This is what it’s about. Meeting new people from all over the world, chatting not just about Umbraco but broadening your horizons.
Yes it's a piece of software, but I can guarantee you that no other tech community is as friendly, welcoming and open as the Umbraco community is, and I'm glad to say that and it's hopefully testament to the old timers that the new wave of Umbraco dev's coming through are taking the torch and upholding the same values. Callum and Marcin are 2 shining examples of what the Umbraco community is all about.
So, if you haven't been to Codegarden yet, I wholeheartedly recommend you buy a ticket now for next year. You will definitely not regret it!
And as a veteran, I'll of course be there in the corner of the Irish bar with my blanket on my knees and a warm Horlicks just before bed time at 0500 ;-)
See you next year!!