THE CONF - 2018 Edition Report

2018 October 31, 22:49 h - tags: theconf

I am very overdue with this report as I ended up making a long trip right after the event. I apologize for that.

The main thing about this year's event was undoubtedly the increase in content quality. The Call for Papers that I released early this year was very successful, we had more than a 100 proposals posted, and I had a very tough time selecting just 28 of them. There was no appalling proposal.

event

After we published the website online in June, we only had 2 people that, unfortunately, had to cancel their participation because of personal matters. We hope they were able to sort out their problems. However, as I said, the event had more than enough proposals to choose. I really can't thank enough everybody that took their time to design and post a good proposal.

Even though this event is primarily intended for Brazilians presenting in English in our home country, this year we had 3 outliers that are worth mentioning.

First of all, Itoyanagi Sakura. He sent his talk proposal through the CFP as anyone else. Moreover, after I selected his talk, I was surprised to see it was from someone from Japan. Many thanks to Itoyanagi-san and his company Space Pirates LLC. I think everybody that attended his talk had an enjoyable time. He is originally from Nagasaki, from a humble family, and humble beginnings and he stepped up to become a Ruby Core Team member, primarily maintaining tools like RDoc.

I met a lovely person at Criciuma Dev early this year, Carla De Bona. She is an excellent presenter in the UX/UI area and she is always busy teaching and evangelizing everywhere! I don't even know how she manages to do all that she does. I was happily surprised to choose her proposal. Looking at the dates, she was one of the very first to post a proposal to the Call for Papers. You should follow her work as well.

Finally, I had the great luck to be able to bring professor Diego Aranha, well known Brazilian security researcher and one of the few that was able to audit the source code for the Brazilian electronic ballot system. In an election year, it is a crucial subject that very few people are aware of the real details. It was a tight schedule, Diego had a flight back to Dinamarca on the same day he presented at our event. He is now officially retired from the whole Ballot debate, so we were extra lucky to be able to see his last presentation on the subject.

Welcoming foreigners coming to Brazil is nice. Also, also receiving Brazilians living abroad. Marcelo Wiermann was coming from Germany. Gabriel Mazetto was coming from the Netherlands. Additionally, speakers coming from many different places of Brazil such as Rodrigo Urubatan coming from the Rio Grande do Sul. Emerson Macedo came from Rio de Janeiro. Fabio Janiszewski came from Guarapuava. I think I forget other names, but I can't thank all of them enough for all the effort to participate.

Speakers

All speakers had important and interesting subjects, going from GDPR discussions, cryptography, new languages such as Kotlin, Elixir, R, Rust, Ruby, front-end development, UX research, the blockchain, Kubernetes, and "devops." That's what THE CONF is meant to be: a technology discussion with people doing hands-on work on all of those.

I'd be anxious to see all the recordings for all the talks. It takes time to edit everything, but our sponsor and partner InfoQ Brasil is hard at work, and I received word that they are about to finish them! Again, I hope everybody appreciates their support for the conference.

Speaking of support, this year we had a bit more help, from Impulso, OLX, Plataformatec, and iMasters that kindly landed their Hub office for the pre-event happy hour. Too bad it was raining that day, but the venue was great to have. Many thanks to my friend Thiago for the support!

So, are we finally rich this year? :-D

Moreover, like last year, nope. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Again, it's not my primary goal to have a profit with this event.

For Codeminer, now OmniTrade, it's an investment.

If you're an attendee and didn't know, all the speakers came here on their own volition. They are volunteers that are eager to share their experience with the audience. If you know any of them, make sure you show them your appreciation!

The same goes for the supporting companies. The sponsorship is not expensive, and it's used to cover some of the costs of the event, so we can keep ticket prices as low as possible. Let's break it down:

Resource Cost
Renting Rebouças Convention Center 29,331,04
Audio and Visual 27,000.00
Scenography 22,000.00
Audio Receptors 6,000.00
450 T-Shirts 6.000,00
700 Snack Kit 10,000.00
Wifi for Speakers 2,500.00
Security Staff 1,300.00
Designer 2,500.00
Photographer 1,300.00
Organizer 6.000,00
Total Cost 108,931.02
Sponsors 13,000.00
Tickets Revenue 36,000.00

We are short BRL 59,931.00, at least. There are other smaller costs involved that I didn't add in the list.

Again, who's paying this bill?

I am. More specifically, my company Codeminer 42 and OmniTrade.

Moreover, I intend to keep organizing this event because we think it's important to set a standard and because it personally interests me. There is still no conference held in Brazil where Brazilians speak in English.

One example? A couple of people complained a bit (not a serious complaint, more like a remark) that some speakers didn't have excellent English.

Of course, they didn't; up to this day, we had no idea what even is a good "Brazilian English" accent. There is no baseline. There is no standard to make comparisons. There is not enough material anywhere. Of course, we should not expect the same accent compared to someone born and raised in the USA; we don't live in the USA. Brazilians naturally have an accent of their own.

When InfoQ Brasil releases the videos, there will be around 60 videos. The very first 60 videos of Brazilian speakers delivering their talks in English while in Brazil. There is no other repository like this in the technology community, which is why we think it's essential to keep up.

Before our event, if anyone suggested doing a meetup all in English, they would have been laughed at, ridiculed. At least now this event as a reference and new standard. I even suggested that every group everywhere starts an #EnglishChallenge in their communities.

Already I've seen a few meetups following this model. It's great exercise. Every programmer should invest their time learning English to stay ahead. Also, they shouldn't feel ridiculed for doing so. Who says you need to travel abroad to train your English?

More importantly: almost all attendees of this conference came out of their own volition. They attended because they wanted to, not because someone told them so. When I asked how many people were not from Sao Paulo city, half the audience raised their hands again.

These are forward-thinking people. It's the same kind of people that were attending my first Rubyconf Brasil back in 2008. They created an entire market in the following decade.

How do I know that? Tech events in Brazil have to distribute "certificates" for their audience, so the sponsoring companies know that their employees attended the conference. We don't distribute certificates, because this audience doesn't need them.

They invested their money and their time. It's only fair that we do the same.

Did it work?

It is working!

We had more than 300 people last year. We had more than 300 people this year. Imagine this: a very niche, new-tech, and English-only conference with no translations. It's a recipe for failure, and yet it stands strong once again.

attendees

We are already planning for 2019. Yes, we have to plan it almost one year in advance. It's not possible to do an acceptable event with less than that.

As this is not a for-profit event, any help is welcome. How can you help?

  1. pay attention to our social networks, Call for Papers should open around March. When you see it, help us share it to as many people as possible. The more, the merrier.

  2. in 2019 we will probably move the dates from September to August due to venue schedules, so also keep an eye on our updates and again, help us by sharing about the conference.

As you can see: we need more people talking more about the event. You have no idea how a simple thing as a retweet helps. Marketing is the one thing that is very expensive and that attendees gain nothing from at the event. Help us spend less on marketing efforts and more in venue goodies.

If your company is interested in helping with our costs, please send us an email and let's talk. Our conference is not expensive, and this audience is very promising, one that is worth reaching out.

To summarize:

  • Want to sponsor? E-mail us at contact@theconf.com.br
  • Want to keep updated? Follow our Twitter account or Facebook Page.
  • Follow us on Twitter to keep up to date.
  • I posted the photos on our Facebook Page
  • Videos are coming!

The 2018 edition is a wrap! Preparations for the 2019 edition, already started! Let's make the Third Edition the biggest one!

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