LaraconEU 2014 – Empowering the PHP people

  • Michelle Sanver

I went to LaraconEU last year and honestly I felt uncomfortable being the only woman in a conference of about 200 people, I noticed that I was a woman in that crowd, and it felt like everyone else did too. This year however, it was very different, let me first talk a bit about the conference from a technical perspective, then come back to how LaraconEU made a big step towards empowering me and the community as a whole. 

I gave one of the first talks on the 28th of August about Neo4j, if you haven't heard about it yet it is a graph database that helps you handle highly connected data. 

My presentation was about a pet project of mine, omnomhuband how we use and plan to use Neo4j for our data. Overall I had great feedback, inspired people and talked about neo4j all over the event, even though my live demo failed!

That day another talk that stood out was by Adam Wathan about TDD: The good parts, basically teaching us that it's ok to sometimes not abstract til you drop, thanks for that note!

I was pleasantly suprised when I saw that Gabriela D'Ávila was talking about “coding like a girl” and how we as an industry benefit from a diverse team. It was her first time giving a talk in English, with a really difficult topic on top of that – Kudos to her.

The community day ended with drinks and fire, all in all an awesome day where I met amazing people and new friends that inspired me to be a better developer. I'm also happy that I got to give a talk to inspire other people. 

The idea of the community day was actually brilliant, it is a day before the conference where more people are able to come and afford to attend, it is the first time I saw this at a conference, and I'd definitely like to see more of it. 

The second day the main event started out with Matt Stauffer who talked about “Sharing Laravel”, it was about a lot of great tooling and technology that a lot of people should know, with some humour involved aswell, just a great talk to start of the conference. After Matt Erika gave her talk about “portable environments with vagrant”, it was absolutely amazing she rocked the scene and inspired a lot of people to try it out – It looks way less difficult when she does it, and ansible is awesome, what I took away from her talk: If you haven't yet checked out ansible do so.

There were some other great talks this day to finish of with Taylor Otwell – The Laravel GOD – talking about Laravel and new things coming. I read a blogpost by Ross Tuck that sums up the technical content and new things we found out about laravel quite well so I won't do that myself:

The second day of the main event, or the third day of the conference, the talk that stood out for me the most was by Kayla Daniels “The Code Manifesto: Empowering our Community”, it made me and others think quite a lot, and she managed to actually silence the twitter stream! 

Some things that I thought about after seeing her talk is that
 To empower the minority we simply have to empower everyone, then the minority is also included, which is exactly what LaraconEU did this year and what we do with PHPWomen. 

This year I didn't feel like a woman, I felt like a developer. How come? I was not the only woman in the room, and I know that LaraconEU worked very hard to make this happen, so thank you LaraconEU organisers for empowering me, working with PHPWomen and for empowering the PHP community, not only with technical content but also with everything around it.

If you want to see the talks of the conference the two main days were recorded, all the talks were of great quality so I highly recommend seeing them:

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