Dutch PHP Conference 2008 recap

June 16th, 2008 by Ivo

The Dutch PHP Conference 2008 is over. Since I was one of the organizers, I'll leave reviews of the contents etc. up to others, but here's my look on the conference from an organizing perspective.

On friday, the conference started with a tutorial day. There were 5 tutorials: PHPUnit by Sebastian Bergmann, XDebug by Derick Rethans, Zend Framework by Matthew Weier O'Phinney, Symfony by Fabien Potencier and Stefan Koopmanschap, and Advanced PHP: Design Patterns by Dennis-Jan Broerse. The tutorial day was attended by 150 people.

The day started pretty chaotic; the van that contained the registration badges arrived late, so there was hardly enough time to prepare the registration desk, so we had a small queue, but eventually everybody got in. The other issue we had was that we had asked the venue to provide power because people would bring there laptops. We started off however with only 4 outlets per room, and with 30-40 peple in the room, that obviously is not enough. Luckily, before the first break we were able to get a whole cart with power supplies, which we hastily dropped in the rooms. It looked a bit like a cable jungle, but at least people had juice. :-)

For the rest, the day ran smoothly and according to plan, we had a nice lunch around noon, and overall feedback on the tutorial day was good.

At 17.30, we went to the Werck bar where we had dinner with the Ibuildings crew and a bunch of Zenders (Matthew, Gaylord, Zeev, Steven and Howard). At 20.00, DPC conference people started showing up at the bar for the friday-night conference social. Dinner ran a bit late but around 20.30 we were able to join the other DPC visitors in the bar, just in time for the Netherlands-France euro2008 match. The party was great, the match was superb (NL won by 4-1), and the atmosphere was awesome. Speakers like Terry Chay and Derick Rethans were dressed up in orange (Terry even had created a custom orange shirt with php code on it) and we all had a great time.

At around 23.30 I went back the hotel area with Derick, Terry, Scott, Mike, Helgi and one of the phplondon guys who's name I can't remember. Derick and Terry walked back to their hotel and I had a last beer with the other guys.

I made some final adjustments to my slides for the opening address (which for some reason is more difficult after more than a couple of beers) and at around 1.30 I went to sleep. At 6 I woke up, checked if my adjustments were ok when sober, made some more changes, went over the slides for my afternoon presentation, and got prepared for the main conference day.

The main conference day went even smoother than the tutorial day. Registration was properly prepared and went smooth, everything was nice on schedule (with just a small exception caused by a crashing macbook right before the closing keynote), and I think we were able to organize a very nice conference (feedback is appreciated!).

We had some php|architect books for sale during lunch. We had about 50 books because we had no clue if people would be willing to buy them, but we ended up selling 45 books within the first 20 minutes. We will bring a little more next year. :)

An interesting observation was that the PHP Women had trouble getting people to take their promotional shirts. Where at the PHPLondon Conference they were gone before they knew it, in Amsterdam the men were a little hesitant to wear a shirt with the word 'women' on it (by the way only 1% of the DPC audience was female, which is startling). Together with Matthew Weier O'Phinney I was selected as the girls' official 'Booth Babe', a kind of supporting role with a special edition of the shirts, but I got some really weird remarks on that. I think the phpwomen have to change their marketing to cater to a continental european audience or at least to get the men involved. (Suggestion: s/babe/hunk; babe is usually only used for the female version over here).

When the conference ended, there were drinks and snacks in the lounge, giving people the opportunity to discuss the presentations and talk to the speakers.

And then the day ended with a final speaker's dinner, and that was the end of the Dutch PHP Conference 2008.

There are already over a 100 pictures on flickr, which give a nice impression of the conference.

I'm already looking forward to organizing it again next year! (mark June 12 and 13 in your calendars!)

5 Responses to “Dutch PHP Conference 2008 recap”

  1. June 16, 2008 at 1:28 pm, Ligaya Turmelle said:

    Thanks Ivo for letting us know about the problems with the shirts for PHPWomen. Guess we just hit one of the cultural differences that was bound to happen at some point with an international group. We will work on a custom design for th next Dutch Conference that hopefully will be more acceptable to the Dutch attendees. Hmm – wonder how ‘male eye candy” for the back of the booth babe shirts would go over – though your idea for s/babe/hunk has merit as well. ;)

  2. June 16, 2008 at 11:36 pm, Chris Shiflett said:

    The booth babe phrase doesn’t seem to be a cultural or translation issue. That’s a moniker typically applied to attractive women who staff booths at conferences, the (disrespectful) reference being that they have little more to offer. (We also no not use babe to refer to a man.) Describing a man as a booth babe seems a casual way to bring attention to the issue of respect. It’s a role reversal. If booth babe were a respectful, gender-free moniker, you wouldn’t receive weird remarks. In other words, I think it’s working.

    I wear my booth babe shirt with pride. :-)

  3. June 17, 2008 at 7:49 am, Joost said:

    The shirts were free? Maybe they needed a big sign: FREE T-SHIRTS. That usually gets the blood of the Dutch flowing ;-)

  4. June 20, 2008 at 8:06 am, The Woodwork » Blog Archive » Amsterdam said:

    [...] Haha. Respect! Me: I had some orange on so I kept waving my big orange Netherlands hand and jumping up and down every time someone honked. [...]