Anticipating RubyConf Austalia 2013

February 15th, 2013

We are on the home stretch!

Just over a year ago I made a commitment to ensure that the inaugural Australian Ruby programming conference would become a reality. Next week, in Melbourne, it will.

RubyConf Australia 2013 will kick off with a day of workshops on Wednesday before more than 350 delegates gather at the conference to hear speakers present a variety of Ruby-related talks on Thursday and Friday.

With less than a week to go, you may wonder why I have chosen to devote time to a blog post now. You’d think I would be flat out doing last minute things in preparation. Of course I am, but I guess I thought it would be therapeutic to spend a few minutes sharing my reflections about organising the conference.

I won’t go into exhaustive detail now but I do want to emphasise several factors which have underpinned the conference organisation. Without them, I doubt we would have got to where we are today without much more pain.

  • The establishment of Ruby Australia as a non-profit organisation to support the conference (and Rails Camps) was a crucial first step. This avoided individuals being liable and clearly marked the conference as being owned by the Australian Ruby community.
  • The partnership with YOW! has been invaluable. They have run very successful software development conferences in Australia for several years and it made sense to utilise their expertise.
  • A small core group of organisers has also worked well. I am indebted to Mike Koukoullis and Martin Stannard for their collaborative support. I think we’ve made a very effective team.
  • Having underlined the importance of the core organising group, it would be remiss of me not to acknowledge a host of others in the community who have helped, or will be helping, in different ways at various times. They know who they are.
  • Another point worth mentioning was the use of a GitHub repository for collecting and managing talk proposals. I liked it’s openness, it worked well and I would recommend it to other organisers of technical conferences.
  • Finally, we have been able to attract more than 15 overseas presenters and sell the tickets at a reasonable price only because of the generosity of our sponsors, whom we much appreciate.

That’s it for now. I’m not sure how insightful that was for you. It was somewhat cathartic for me but not as helpful as the drinks at the conference closing party will be.

Wish us luck!