My paternal grandmother, Grace “Mamaw” Evans, was a Godly woman. She was also a master marketer.
Whether she was introducing someone at the flower shop she owned for as long as I can remember, or she was introducing a new member to the Sunday school class she taught, her introduction was the same.
” I want you to meet <NAME>, my one and only friend.”
Of course it was a lie, Grace had more friends than she could count.
The lesson I learned was “Treat everyone you meet like they are your only friend, and you will never have only one friend”.
Grace may have been the greatest marketers I’ve ever known.
I met my three best friends, Paul, Keith, and Adam, at PHP conferences.
Meeting people and making new friends is one of the major benefits of participating in a conference. I would not say that ‘the hallway track’ is the reason to attend a conference, but it is in the top 3.
The friends you make at a conference can:
Help you find an answer to a problem you are facing
Help you locate someone you need to talk to
Be your rubber duck for a problem you are having
Help you find your next job
Before you travel across the street, or around the world to participate in a conference, sit down, make a plan. Look at the speakers who will be there, and follow the conference hashtag on social media to see who has announced they are participating. Make a list of the people that you want to meet.
As you participate in the conference, look for those people. Seek them out, and make new friends.
The friends you make at a conference will last a lot longer than any knowledge you may pick up in a session.
At Sunshine PHP ’19, it was my privilege to make many new friends and re-connect with old ones. One of the new friends I made was Nara Kasbergen.
Nara did a great talk on Community – which of course made me nervous because, well, that’s MY shtick. Never the less Nara delivered a very good talk with some good points.
One of my takeaways was that you need to be an active part of several community. it’s not enough to be a part of your local PHP user group, you also need to be part of at least one conference community, (Sunshine, phptek, PHPBenlux, DPC, the list goes on) and an easy win is to be part of an online community as well. (Whether that be Twitter, slack , Day Camp 4 Developers, or NomadPHP is up to you)
Take the time to get involved in the PHP community in the way that is best for you.
The connections you make will help you build a career.
Those that don’t know me well will probably be surprised to hear me say that I am an introvert. All my life I’ve had a very small circle of friends. Even though I am a very public figure these days in the PHP community, I still maintain a very small group of close friends.
I consider a lot of you my friend.
I consider many of you my good friend.
There are however, only three, that I consider my close friend. Those three are Adam Culp, Keith Casey, and Paul Jones.
Adam is my practical friend. I lean on him a lot for daily advice. I always appreciate the advice and help Adam gives me, even when I fail to say as much.
Keith is my smart friend. I introduce Keith to people as “Scary Smart”. If you are privileged enough to get to know him as well as I do, you’ll learn that’s not a joke. I am truly honored to be allowed to call this man my friend.
Paul however, is my best friend. Over the course of ten plus years, Paul and I have forged a bond that holds strong no matter how far apart we are. Paul is my wise friend. I turn to him for advice on the hard problems and he never fails to help me work through my issue.
I don’t say thank you enough to these three gentlemen for the footprint they have each put on my life. Adam, Keith, Paul, thank you. I do however, thank God on a daily basis for bringing you into my life.
To all the rest of you who consider me a friend, thank you as well. So many of you have touched me in so many different ways that I can’t list you all.