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Day Camp 4 Developers

Dear Reader,

I have a new project, Day Camp 4 Developers!

The pitch

My self, the lovely and talented Kathy and 5 of our friends are all getting together on Saturday November 6th, 2010 to talk about skills that developers won’t usually think about but are important to their careers..

  • Lorna Jane Mitchell will be talking about the positive effect that participating in an Open Sourcing project can have on your career.
  • Liz Naramore will be talking about Technical Writing
  • Brian Prince will be talking about career management
  • Scott Gordon will be talking about how to make your resume the one that managers and recruiters look at
  • Josh Holmes will be talking about what it really takes to move up to the title “Software Architect”

The best part is that this is an on-line conference. So no matter where you are, as long as you have ‘Net, you can attend.

The cost is $35 per ticket and you can purchasse your now before they are all gone!

Managers! Give a ticket to your favorite developer, heck, buy 10, save money, and give them to all of your developers!

The back story

Ok, now that the marketing pitch is out of the way, I actually wanted to talk about why I’m doing this.

The Why

Those that know me know that for a while now I have been involved in PHP conferences. It has been my great honor to host several of the large PHP conferences. It is always a pleasure to do so. However, PHP conference, regardless of who is putting it on, they have one goal, to teach PHP. I love PHP, I think teaching developers how to be better at it is a great things. However, I also think there are things that developers need to know that they aren’t getting taught.

For better or worse, many PHP developers do not have a formal education in programming. (I myself don’t and don’t think this is a bad thing) However, this means that they don’t learn some of the “soft skills” that conferences don’t usually cover or at least don’t cover in depth. Thus Day Camp 4 Developers was born. I wanted to get some of the experts that I’ve been working with for the past five years together and put on a one-day conference that helps developers work on just those skills.

The Where

The first problem I ran into was “where to hold it?” I could hold it here in Nashville, we’ve got a reborn PHP User Group and a thriving local talent pool, but it’s not really big enough to make something like this work. Also, I didn’t want this to be a PHP only conference.

I could take it to one of the big tech cities like Austin, Boston or San Jose, but then I have to travel. In both cases, I have to deal with getting my speakers there, putting them up, feeding them, buying rounds 1 -14, etc. In short, I would have to do all the stuff that as a speaker I expect and enjoy, but as a conference organizer I loath because it cuts into my profits and means I have to actually organize it.

So I struck out on a different tack. Instead of bringing everybody together, let’s just do it all on-line. Heck in the PHP world, most of us know each other online much better than we do in person, we are all used to the idea of “getting together online”. So let’s all get together for a full day, hang out and learn.

The How (much)

The second problem I faced was what to charge. When I first started talking to people about this idea, I fluctuated between free and about $100 per person. I think the content we’ve got lined up is great, well worth $100 for the opportunity to learn it. However, I wanted to make it affordable to everyone. I really toyed with free as well but I’ve done enough webinars to know that people don’t take free things seriously. So after consulting with a few of the speakers, I hit on $35 per ticket. It’s not expensive but it’s enough so that people won’t just abandon it without thought.

$35 also gives me enough to pay the speakers. If you’ve never spoken at a conference or User Group, you may not know but a lot of time and effort goes into these talks. I’m not one that believes all content should be free and I do firmly believe that a workman is worthy of his hire. For those interested, the ticket price goes mainly to the speakers, (50% of the ticket price splint equally among the 5 of them) the service provider (WebEx or GoToWebinar, I’m still trying to decide) EventBrite/PayPal, and marketing.

What money I do make off of this experiment I make from the sponsors. Now if all my sponsor slots get filled then yes, I’ll make enough off of this to move into phase 2 of my plan. However, to date, I’ve received 1 commitment and 3 maybes. I’m not worried about it but if your company wants to sponsor, ping me.

How you can help (should you want to)

My close friends are starting to get tired of hearing me suggest ways they can help Day Camp 4 Developers; that’s ok though, I’ve got some terrific friends. :) If I’ve not tapped you to help, it doesn’t mean we’re not friends, it just means I’ve not made it to you yet. So until I get you a personal email appealing for your help, here are 3 ways you can help with Day Camp 4 Developers.

  1. Buy a ticket
    Hey, if you are my friend, you are most likely a programmer. That makes you the target audience for this conference. Come join us!
  2. Help promote it
    If you have a blog or twitter account, help me promote Day Camp 4 Developers. If you need a little incentive, join our Affiliate Program and earn $5 for each ticket you sell. I’m happy to spread the wealth around. If all you feel comfortable doing is telling your friends/co-workers/boss, I am truly appreciative for any help you feel like giving.
  3. Help me find sponsors
    If you know someone who wants to get their brand or product out in front of developers, send them my way. We have a nice sponsorship prospectus available and I would love to send them (or you) a copy.

Wrapping it up

This is either going to be great fun and profitable enough to do again, or it’s just going to be great fun. I can’t see how getting together with my friends (both the speakers and many of the ticket holders) online for a day can be anything but fun. I honestly hope to see you there.

Until next time,
I <3 |<

Day Camp 4 Developers
Invest a day in your career

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