On Saturday 8th October I joined 400 others in Manchester at the Mercure Manchester Picadilly Hotel for PHPNW’s 4th annual conference. For me, it was my first PHPNW conference and I decided to write a blog post of my experience of PHPNW11 from the perspective of a non-technical marketing student.
My exposure to PHPNW11 started the minute I joined Magma Digital early in September this year. As Magma’s Marketing Assistant, I began work on our promotional materials, the ‘flashcard leaflets’ and the Magma Digital branded lens cleaning cloth as soon as I arrived. As the conference drew ever-closer the focus began to build in the Magma team and the ball began rolling. On the Monday before the conference, I was helping to stuff the delegate goodie bags and trying to get as involved as possible, it was all hands on deck!
Pre-conference week flew by and Saturday 8th October arrived with a 6am rise and a nice drive to the Mercure Manchester Picadilly Hotel (which took 3 circles of Portland street to find). The day began with the hustle and bustle of registration; checking delegates in and giving out badges and goodie bags to all attendees. This was the moment I realised that the conference was actually in motion, I was now at the conference which had been talked about for months throughout the PHP community.
The morning kicked off with the keynote speaker, Ian Barber, speaking on “How to Stand on the Shoulders of Giants”; although I wasn’t able to sit through the talk due to late registrations, I was highly aware of the excitement that the first session had created within the 400 delegates. The good news for anybody that did miss any talks or wasn’t able to attend the conference is that all the talks at the conference were recorded (except for the uncon talks). The conference talks will start being released within the next four weeks, so keep an eye out for our blogs and tweets.
During the break, I joined Jeremy on the Magma Digital stand. Although asked questions such as “What frameworks we use at Magma Digital” which I couldn’t even take an educated guess at (I have since learnt we use Zend Framework); it was becoming more and more apparent to me that PHPNW was about professional development and passion within the developers and their companies. The conference most definitely had a community feel and competitors in business didn’t act in a competitive way – the conference proved to be about every other person becoming better at their job and meeting new people within the PHP world.
My next job was to be the speakers shadow for Derick Rethans during his “PHP Extensions, Why & What?” talk. Although the content was not of much use to me personally as a ‘non-technical person’, it was incredible to see the passion and interest everyone else in the room took. It was clear that Derick was an expert when it came to public speaking having delivered over 200 talks. His talk finished punctually and I wasn’t even needed to prompt him with the time alerts.
As Derick’s talk ended, lunch began. This is where as a marketing student I came in to my own, asking sponsors and community partners to offer feedback on their experience of the conference. I had the opportunity to put names to faces and speak with the sponsors. PHPNW received many compliments from the happy sponsors with only one universal complaint being the wi-fi (as you probably noticed!).
Unfortunately, I was unable to stay to the end of the conference or for the social, but from what I have heard, I definitely missed out!
Well now it’s already Tuesday and as we get on with Magma Digital projects today, I am already looking forward to seeing how I can help out at next year’s event PHPNW12.