Plone Conference - How to convince my boss I should go?
In just over 3 weeks time, Plone Conference 2012 will take part in Arnhem, Netherlands. The Plone Conference is an annual event that takes place in a different city each year and brings together the best and the brightest of the Plone community for training, talks, and sprints.
Whilst I know a large number of developers and people directly involved in the Plone community will be there, I also know that a large number of end users, and those working in larger companies, NGOs and educational institutions might not be able to make it due to budget concerns.
So this is really just a post to try and give those working in such establishments some more information to try and persuade their bosses to let them attend. I know that budgets are being cut and that often training and conferences is one of the first areas that gets hit. However attending the Plone Conference is one of the most valuable things you can do as a someone who uses or develops Plone for their organisation.
Whether you are a designer, programmer, content author, sysadmin or integrator using Plone there is something for you are the Plone Conference. This year there are over 60 talks in 4 parallel tracks over 3 days. There are also Lightning Talks (short 3-5 minute fast paced talks, giving quick insights into various projects and tools) as well as a number of Open Space sessions. Open Space sessions are slots in the schedule with no pre-scheduled talk in them. They are filled by delegates proposing talks at the event.
You will learn more in 3 days of a Plone Conference than you will in an entire year reading books and mailing lists. There is also an additional 2 days before the main conference with classroom-based training on topics such as Mastering Plone and Administering your Plone Box.
One thing that is very useful at the Plone Conference is a chance to talk to other Plone users and developers in the same sector as you. How have other universities tackled the challenges you have? How have other NGOs built Plone sites on a shoestring budget? How do other corporates administer their Plone servers? Whether in a talk, or a hallway conversation or over a drink in the evening there is plenty of opportunities to chat to others and learn from them.
Unlike many industry conferences, the Plone Conference is not just a showcase of successful glitzy projects. It is a chance to find out what works and what doesn't in reality. It is a chance to learn from those actually working with Plone on a daily basis. It is a chance to find out what is coming up in the future of Plone -- and to have a hand in shaping that future too.
This year the Plone Conference is happening in Arnhem, Netherlands. Only one hour from Amsterdam Schipol Airport by a direct train connection from the airport to Arnhem. Amsterdam Schipol is one of the easiest airports to reach worldwide from pretty much any starting point on the globe. And as for the conference costs themselves, as with previous years, this is one of the least expensive conferences to attend, at only €325 for the 3 days (and the after-conference sprints for 2 days if you want to join in them). And for accommodation, you can either book a hotel, or join the Plone Boat! This is a floating hotel boat what will be moored near the conference venue and exclusively for Plone Conference attendees.
So, go and have a chat with your boss. Tell them that this is a once in a year chance to further your experience, knowledge and confidence in Plone. You will come back more productive and more effective at your job. So what are you waiting for... go have a chat with them now.
Oh, and don't forget (although maybe downplay this bit to your boss) the awesome Plone conference dinner and party in the middle!
I'll see you in Arnhem in 3 weeks time ;)
All information about the event is on the Plone Conference website.