The PHP Community Conference was my first time attending a conference. I definitely enjoyed the experience and will go again. Honestly, I should have gone to a conference earlier in my life, because I feel like I learned so much about development and myself.

The first thing I learned was a renewed sense of humility. In my little bubble I felt I was near the top, but outside of that bubble, I realized I am not quite so hot. There are people doing amazing things with new development, profiling, testing, deployment, etc. I, meanwhile, push out predominately CMS sites with the occasional custom site. The custom sites aren't anything to laugh at, as they require some expertise, but nothing on the scale of what I saw. This was a truly sobering moment.

That brings me to my second feeling, motivation. I feel energized to go out and do many of the things I heard discussed. I want to act on this new knowledge to improve myself and the company I work for. We can and should do better than we are. Beyond that, I need to get involved in open source; I need to start filing bug reports; I need to start posting fixes; I need to contribute to the community as a whole. Up to now I have been a freeloader, the time has come to give back.

With that motivation, I want to really start a company. I have tried and failed in the past, but I need to learn from those mistakes. I always tried to go it alone, and I've realized that won't work. I need someone to work with me and provide the pieces of the puzzle I don't have. Luckily, I have that person now, and we're in the first steps of that dream. I have a doubly renewed motivation to move forward. I'm going to stop waiting for certain things to get done and just go for it. I need to stop treating things like they are a single chronological thread and start multithreading (pardon the pun). Stop thinking, and start doing.

I also have the motivation to start trying to speak. I have wanted to be a conference speaker for a while now, but having never been, I didn't know quite what that entailed. I never felt like I had anything interesting to say, and I probably didn't. That means I need to go out and do something worth talking about. From there, I'll gain the experience and the clout to be a speaker. Maybe one day I can provide the inspiration to someone else to get up and do something new.

On my drive home I had to make the choice of what I would take away from the conference. I saw two options: become depressed and resign myself to going nowhere or become energized and go out to do something great. I feel that I've chosen the latter and hope that time will see that to be true. Words are cheap, actions are rich.
AuthorMichael Cantrell