Stefan Baumgartner

Web ops, performance and front-end

Topconf Linz 2016 is a wrap

05 February 2016 by @ddprrt | Posted in: conferences

So, Linz has a software conference. One that’s supposed to stay. I think it’s about time. Linz has a wonderful IT community, with lots of great companies and so many schools and universities specialised for software development. Except for the short-lived Kod.io movement (spanning Kod.io, Codefront and Railsgirls in 2014), as well as some Linuxwochen now and then, I hardly can remember any full-fledged Software conference. So hey, we finally got one!

Usually I would give some sort of review. But as I was partly involved with the conference’s organisation, I decided to put a little twist on the usual review you would expect. As people recognised my involvement, they asked me a lot of questions around the conference in-between sessions. I gathered (or rather: remembered) the few questions attendees asked me the most.

Why did you organise the Austrian Topconf in Linz?

First of all: I’m not the organiser. Chris Frei from Topconf is, I’m “just” in the program committee. This put me in a wonderful position of being able to wish for incredible speakers and create some wonderful tracks. When I see Ben Reitzammer say on Twitter that “Your program committee did really great work to put together a diverse program & set of speakers! Very well done!”, I feel both flattered and happy.

How Topconf came to Linz was partly my fault. I spoke at Topconf Tallinn back in 2013. Chris Frei wanted to expand from Estonia to other countries in Europe and asked me where to organise one in Vienna, and which companies to contact. I quickly could convince him that I just know about the IT scene in Linz, and that Linz would also be a good place to have a conference. I quickly gathered some people who would join the program committee, and that’s how it came to be.

Some attendees said that it “was about time” that Linz got its own conference. And I think they are right.

How did you get Harry Roberts to speak?!?!

I asked. And since he’s really a nice guy, he actually came! Same goes for Kahlil Lechelt, Henning Glatter-Götz, Rachel Andrew, Eva-Lotta Lamm, Phil Nash, and Mario Heiderich. And I’m so incredibly thankful that they all agreed to join. They are fantastic speakers and brought real value to our little event. Lots of attendees really appreciated having them at the conference.

This goes also for Tim Perry, Alessandro Canessa and Martin Naumann who joined through our Call for Papers. So much valuable content and so much fun having you guys here.

Seriously, what happened with the catering?

It was quite a catastrophe, wasn’t it. Well, those are the parts where not being an organiser really sucks. Honestly, I don’t know what happened. We had a great catering service first, but for some reasons they had to drop out on short notice. About 8 days before the event. And I still don’t know why. The alternative would’ve been two days and one night of McDonalds. This was the first time where the program committee, especially Lisi, David and me, were dead against.

What came then wasn’t much better. Instead of two days, one night, we got one night and some rather effortless alternative delivered by the venue. Heavy meaty. I would have loved some progressively enhanced food: Vegetarian first, meat as an extra.

We will definitely take care of this issue the next time. With Chris not being a Linzer, it’s hard for him to get to the right addresses on his own. This is something that we from the program commitee should’ve kept an eye on. Think about you organising a conference at some place you rarely be, relying on Google and some recommendations? We will hook him up with the right people to get some proper and delicious food the next time. We already have some providers in mind.

The beer was excellent, though.

Cool, any last words?

Yes. A lot of “thank you”s. Thanks to my wonderful colleagues who made this event possible: Jürgen, Tom, Lisi, David, Andi, Bräusi and Wirthi.

The wonderful speakers who came: Eva-Lotta, Harry, Rachel, Tim, Martin, Mario, Phil, Alessandro, Henning and Kahlil.

My former client “BGT”, who sponsored the event and had some great time with us. My current employer Dynatrace who sponsored, and all my colleagues who came to the event. Speaking to you in-between sessions was valuable and immediate feedback to react quickly.

All the attendees who joined us at the conference, at lunch, at the bars. Seeing you all engage in wonderful discussions and having so much fun together was constantly telling me: Totally worth it. Glad that you enjoyed being here.

And last, but not least: To Chris and Laura. You put so much effort into giving our community a great event and gave us such a wonderful time. Thank you for everything. On 2017!

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