Unless you have been hiding under a rock for the last few weeks you will know that J&Beyond took place last week in Wiesbaden, Germany.
Over the last 10 years I have attended countless Mambo, Joomla, Linux and other open source events and I'm convinced that this was the best of the lot.
It's hard to say exactly what it was that made this event the best.
- Perhaps it was the 187 attendees from 27 different countries that created a truly international vibe.
- Perhaps it was the quality of the speakers.
- Perhaps it was the quality of the beer?
- I'm sure every attendee has their own opinion in this.
As I sit here on the train trying to come to a solid conclusion I find myself returning to the same thought. The event was a success because of the organizers.
Robert and Alex worked incredibly hard to build this event but they were just the facilitators. The true organizers of the event were you the participants, you proposed and selected the presentations, the logo, the name and perhaps more importantly the entertainment.
When convincing people to attend an event, and not to just follow the event online or watch the videos, I always stress that it is the unorganized parts that are the most important and valuable.
Whether that is the conversations you had during a coffee break, over a meal or even sharing a beer or three. These are parts of the event that you cannot appreciate unless you are there.
If like me you were engaged in conversation till 4am each morning then you spent more time outside of the sessions than inside. That is where the true value of the event lies.
I met old friends, Twitter friends, forum friends, even shared a few beers with people I may have disagreed with in the past and of course made many new friends.
J&Beyond was not just a gathering of joomla geeks, it was a meeting of one of "the worlds largest web development agencies" (thanks Marcos for that quote).
I witnessed competing developers sharing ideas and learning from each other to seek ways to improve their own work. I overheard site builders sharing best business practices and even looking for ways to share work between themselves. Most importantly I never stopped hearing people looking for ways to contribute directly to joomla, either with code, squashing bugs, marketing, documentation, community building or joining one of the many teams
People asked what did the Beyond mean?
- It meant taking joomla beyond the code, beyond the forums, beyond our extensions and companies.
- Taking it beyond the boundaries and the walls we have seen in the past and building a new beginning.
- Beyond meant moving on from the past, sweeping aside differences, arguments, personality clashes and disputes.
- Beyond is working together for a brighter future for all.