Sharp shooting at last year’s conference. Photo: O’Reilly Conferences (CC BY-NC 2.0)
In just a few days, we’ll be jetting off to Barcelona for Velocity, the top Web Performance and Operation conference in Europe. This will be our second year as sponsors (anyone who came to London last year might recall playing our James Bond quick draw game), but even more excitingly, our first year speaking. Quick plug: Check out our talks on Monday and Tuesday, and tutorial on Wednesday, and come say hello at booth 517!
[Not got your Velocity pass yet? Get a 25% discount with our code INTECHNICA25]
Velocity only comes around once a year and it’s a great opportunity to learn, meet like-minded folks, get new ideas and inspiration and soak up the web performance Zeitgeist, so it’s important to make the most of the occasion.
Here are just a few tips on being adequately prepared to rock before, during and after Velocity.
Have your goals in mind
People go to conferences for various reasons, and Velocity is no different in this regard. For attendees, it could be to learn about a specific area, like mobile, or even a specific tool or language. You could be looking for a job or tips on how to get promoted where you are. Or you could be there just to learn about the wider advances and trends in the industry.
Even for vendors or businesses looking to hire or investigate new solutions, it’s important to set your goals before the conference and keep them in mind while you’re there.
Check out the attendee directory before you go
In case you didn’t know, there’s an Attendee Directory for Velocity designed to help you set up networking before you even get to the conference. If there’s someone specific you want to make sure you meet in Barcelona, be it an expert in a specific field or even someone who might hire you, it makes sense to reach out before you get there and set a time and place to meet. Just make sure your message is personal, professional and will be of interest to the other person.
Plan your schedule carefully with your team
There is a packed schedule of sessions throughout Velocity, with a choice of three (at times four) sessions vying for your attendance. Luckily it’s quite straightforward to plan your days out using the Velocity website, by adding sessions to your personal schedule.
One thing to keep in mind if you are going with colleagues is that you have the opportunity to cover a lot more sessions by cross referencing the sessions you are each interested in. If there are clashing sessions of particular interest, you could delegate team members to different sessions and compare notes later. Pro tip: You can download your schedule as an iCal file, and easily share your schedule with colleagues via the public link in your account settings!
Don’t just go to sessions – expand your horizons
While there are a shed load of great sessions and tutorials to check out, don’t think Velocity is just about sitting and listening. There’s also the opportunity to interact with speakers, O’Reilly authors and other like-minded attendees. Go out of your way to take part in Office Hours where you can ask speakers questions directly, Birds of a Feather sessions where people interested in a specific topic can chat, book signings, and networking opportunities.
Follow the hashtag – #VelocityConf
If you’re on Twitter, make sure you check out #VelocityConf during the conference. In fact, why not save the search in your Twitter client ahead of time?
Following along on Twitter, and tweeting your thoughts on what you’re seeing and hearing using the hashtag, is a great extra way to get involved in conversations and interact with other attendees. Don’t be afraid to jump in and contribute! You might even gain some new followers.
Get the app
Did you know there’s a Velocity app? Well, you do now. It offers a convenient way to see what sessions are happening when, make notes, see a floor plan of the conference and much more.
What conference would be complete without its own app?
There are versions for iOS and Android, both free.
Go out of your comfort zone
This applies to both networking and the sessions you attend. I’m not sure if anyone really enjoys striding up to a table full of strangers and getting involved in the conversation, but if you have something valuable to add, you could end up making friends/influencing people.
Similarly, if you’re unsure as to which sessions to go to, why not go to a session on something you know nothing about? It’s a leap of faith but if the speaker is good, you’ll get into the topic and it could be more valuable than you thought.
Share the knowledge
Finally, but very importantly, don’t keep your notes to yourself. As already mentioned, you should pool your notes with colleagues, even if you went to the same session, and share what you learned with your teams and organisation. If you business has a Wiki or internal knowledge portal, be sure to upload your notes to it, or even write blogs or do a presentation on your findings. After all, it’s likely not everyone in your business who wanted to go was so lucky enough to attend Velocity…!
Once again, if you’re going to Velocity, come and say hello to the Intechnica guys at stand 517. See you there!