With the passing of the 12th ZendCon, and my third year as one of the organizers, there is much to reflect on. Being the second year we’ve held the conference in Las Vegas, there were less surprises despite many things being new behind the scenes. The entire team worked very fluidly together, and there was more structure than in the past which helped to eliminate obstacles more quickly as they arose. The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino was also better prepared for us this year, though parts of the venue were under heavy construction.
Rather than dig deep into what we did or didn’t do well, I think I’d like this post to be more about what makes the event possible. Because it is through the contributions of others, not Rogue Wave Software/Zend, that really make ZendCon possible. It is the sponsors, exhibitors, speakers, and attendees who make up the PHP community … and THAT is what we serve.
As some noted, the conference had a few new sponsors this year. It was a pleasure to see some new faces and companies, indicating new growth of PHP in the enterprise space. We are grateful for their contribution to the event through their financial support as well as their presence. Without that, we would not be able to put on such a nice event, or be able to help speakers participate.
Then there are the speakers. Those wonderful people who tirelessly create, teach, and share in so many awesome ways. With a passion that is hard to comprehend, and very difficult to find, they leave the comfort of their homes and offices to travel around the world. They brave the trials of international and domestic travel, TSA security, mediocre airlines, strange hotel rooms, and flight delays. All for the meager cost of room and board.
Speaking and teaching is not all this army of passionate technology professionals provide. Oh, no. This is just the tip of the iceberg. You see, these folks are typically the same people who are also the very creators of the PHP open source libraries and packages used by the world. The very things spoken about at conferences, and taught in universities and colleges. They are problem solvers who have either created the code to “scratch their own itch,” or have listened to others who needed a solution, and then built one. They created tools for those they now teach through speaking.
Some of these contributors are mentors, user group organizers, and conference organizers of other wonderful events. They’ve chosen to share their passion by helping spread the fire to others and helping out in any way they can. These folks are the cheerleaders who keep the community active through hours of organizing meetups, creating and sending newsletters, and spreading knowledge via social media. They mentor others through speaking at conferences, so there will be others to take their place in the future.
And let’s not forget the PHP community at large. The many thousands around the world who make PHP what it is. It’s hard to believe how large the space has grown, and how many earn a living using a tool that one man created to fix a minor inconvenience he saw. This community is so different from others through millions of blog posts, tweets, books, and open sharing. No other technology in the world today has a community that has so openly shared knowledge and skills with others. For this, PHP is praised with a low bar of entry for beginners, and for it’s depth for more advanced users.
Without the contributions of sponsors, speakers, and attendees, conferences like this would not be possible.
So, I’d like to take a moment, now that ZendCon 2016 has passed, to say a special “Thank You” to those who’ve helped us continue doing this for 12 years.
Thank you to the PHP community!