The Gifts of Community - 2013 Edition

Community is the cornerstone of everything we do and 2013 was a stellar year for tech communities. We’d like to end the year by taking a moment to look at some of the highlights.

There have been a bunch of new user groups popping up all over the world, including Dayton.rb, SweetlakePHP, ViennaPHP, Erie.rb, and (meetup group in Alma, Quebec). These groups have brought a focus on technology to their area.The leaders of these groups have been moving and shaking to make it happen in their towns. Good going, folks!

We’ve seen community efforts become simultaneously more local and more global at every level: from meetups to day camps, barcamps to full blown conferences. Some great new conferences this year included Nickel City Ruby, Madison PHP, Midwest PHP, Wicked Good Ruby, Ancient City Ruby, RobotsConf, PHPNE, and of course our own Distill, which will be returning in 2014!

Granted, these new conferences stand on the shoulders of giants.  Great conferences like OSCON, Lone Star PHP, NodeConf, RubyConf, PHPBenelux, and PHPNW showed these newer conferences the way it should be done.  With more and more regional people getting involved, we see more and more growth from the local to the worldwide community.

The world may be a big place, but conferences like ZendCon EU and DevConTLV/Rails Israel, made it small enough that we could all get together and communicate our local perspectives on a global stage.  We hope to see more cross-pollination, like we saw at Dublin WebSummit, FutureStack, and MagmaConf - conferences where the language used is less important than the idea of building great things.

And then of course, there are the people.  Whether they are behind the scenes organizing user groups and conferences, on stage helping us all to learn or developing new systems to deliver the content we need to improve, these folks are blazing the trails we all want to follow. A special thanks go out to all of the individuals who have helped us get where we want to go, from the creation of NomadPHP to the Ada Academy and the many more initiatives that have pushed us forward this year.

Adding to this list are some speakers that, while they may not be new to the scene, the focus they are bringing on the issues of mental health in tech is of the utmost importance and is changing how we think about ourselves and our community.  Thanks to the Prompt speakers, Ed Finkler, Greg Baugues, Paddy Foran, and our own John Dalton.

This doesn’t even touch on the mountains of open source code that people have unleashed unto world, but in the end every commit has a person behind it and they — and not the language they write or the way they write it — are what matters most.

At the end of the day, we could not mention or thank absolutely everyone who has made the tech community in general such a great place to be.  If we did, that list would be endless.  But in the end, the best person to thank is you.  Without you, dear reader, the community would be many voices mumbling to themselves.  Continue to support your community, branch out and check out other communities, and we’ll see you in 2014!


PJ & Davey and the whole Engine Yard Family

About PJ Hagerty

Developer, writer, speaker, musician, and Team Lead of an elite band known as the Engine Yard Community Team, PJ is known to travel the world speaking about programming and the way people think and interact. He is also known for wearing hats.