Humbling and rewarding, those are two of the best terms I can think of that represent how I feel about this year's PowerShell and DevOps Summit of 2018.
If you've never attended this conference and you follow my blog or are really into a lot of the other PowerShell blogs, PowerShell content, and PowerShell people, you're doing yourself a disservice. This year's conference is the biggest one yet. There were 370 people at this conference this year. I think this is my fourth or fifth year to go to this. The first year was 50 people, and the first time that I went it was like 75-100 people, and now it's at 370 people. You'll find in this conference, it's not like any other that I've attended.
The atmosphere is so friendly and everybody is so helpful to everyone else. You'll never see anybody flaming someone else, or telling somebody they are wrong. Obviously, everybody has their own opinions. But, they were able to come together and see that people might be doing something different but nobody is going to heckle them in a session and tell them they're wrong. This really doesn't happen at this conference.
Who Runs the Conference?
Don Jones and the DevOps collective, Richard Siddaway, Jeff Hicks, Jason Helmick, those guys put it on. The conference is for system administrators (about 50%), DevOps and automation engineers, anybody in the automation space in the Microsoft realm. If you're familiar with the Win Ops conference in London, it's very similar to that. It's all about DevOps, automation, PowerShell configuration management, all that sort of cool stuff in the Microsoft space.
I've been going to this conference for the past four or five years now, and it's really been representative of my people. These are my people. When you come to a conference you feel like, "I'm home. These are my people." This is exactly the same concept.
This conference has followed me through my career progression and my community involvement. It was so humbling to me because I've been contributing and sharing content and doing stuff in the PowerShell community for maybe 3 or 4 years now. It was at this conference that I had an overwhelming number of people come up to me and say thank you for what you do, I really appreciate it. Plus, receiving the PowerShell open source projects Hero Award from the PowerShell team.
A Personal Realization
You don't really realize what you're doing, you just put in those blog posts, CarTalks, user group talks, session talks and you just go day-to-day and do what you're doing. You love helping people, just love doing it, it's a day-to-day thing.
It's not until you step back and have a conference like this that you realize the kind of impact that you're having on people. Just the feeling of having everyone come up to you and thank you for this thing is still kind of overwhelming to me.
I think the conference to me was great because I learned so much, but at the same time, I was able to get all of this feedback from others and realize the impact that I'm having on people. That really gives you a shot in the arm!
I also did a side session because of this sense of gratitude I had in this experience. I've tried to do sessions in the past at conferences, and speaking is one of those last goals that I have to get better at because it kind of freaks me out.
Anyway, I decided to do an impromptu side session, and it was about, "How to accelerate your career and others by proving you're a badass." I didn't do a whole lot of speaking but that session was the most gratifying and fun session I have ever done, Bar None.
Any of the technical content in that session was by far and away, the most enjoyable and gratifying because I was able to get up in a very informal atmosphere. I didn't even have any AV, I had to print out some slides. It was about being able to get up and contribute to the community, do blog posts, get involved in Twitter, in forums, user group rows, and how doing that may help others and yourself.
I really focused on real-world examples from me and being a completely transparent person in this world, I shared real-world numbers of how much money that I made just because of my contributions to the community.
One of the big selling points of that was that I wanted to tell people, sure you work a 40-hour a week job, you go and do your 9-5 or whatever, and you're tired when you get home. You don't want to do work things on the weekends either and you feel like, "if I write this blog post I'm doing that for free, I'm not getting paid. Yeah, I'm helping others," but you just see the numbers on your stats.
You really don't have motivation because to have really great motivation to continue on doing something for free, you have to feel like you're getting some kind of fulfillment. You get discouraged eventually because "I'm doing all this stuff for free and not getting paid. I'm not really getting a lot of comments and feedback from people."
This post is a little longer than normal so come back for the second half on my experiences and why you should check this conference out yourself.
This post was brought to you by yet another #CarTalks YouTube video. Be sure to check out all of the other #CarTalks videos and other video content on the Adam the Automator YouTube channel!
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