SourceCon Europe: Highlight Reel
The Top 10 Moments from my First European Adventure
SourceCon is a place for sourcers to share tools, ideas, and techniques. The goal of SourceCon is to inform, encourage, and empower.
Far from a stuffy, predictable and boring conference, SourceCon is the gathering that feels like a mix of the first day of school and a long-awaited family reunion.
Whether you’re looking to renew your excitement about the work you do, meet online recruiting connections in real life, or just have fun and learn something new, SourceCon is the place to be.
Since attending my first SourceCon two short years ago, I’ve met countless people who have enriched my life for the better and a cherished few who have no doubt become lifelong friends.
Last August, when SourceCon Editor Shannon Pritchett asked me if I would be interested in participating in the first SourceCon in Europe, I quickly practiced my newly learned skill of leading with yes.
What would make this event — my 5th SourceCon — particularly special is that I agreed to volunteer with the Welcome Wagon in addition to presenting a keynote.
This is something I have never done before, as I usually alternate between volunteering and presenting as I have at my four previous events (Anaheim ’16, Anaheim ’17, Austin ’17, Las Vegas ‘18).
The week before my departure was a whirlwind. Thanks to a Facebook message from Katrina Collier, all at once I realized that I needed to do more than just “pack my passport.”
With my last international trip taking place almost a decade ago, clearly, I was more rusty than I realized.
Thankfully, after watching a slew of YouTube travel/packing videos, I was able to gather everything I needed in time for the trip. This includes a handy voltage converter/adapter, a newfangled travel pillow and foreign currency for one of the few European countries that doesn’t accept Euro.
After a 21-hour travel day that began at 5:00 am in my time zone, I finally arrived in balmy Budapest, Hungary.
To capture the essence of my first European experience — both for my future self and for those who were not able to attend — I thought it would be fun to highlight my top 10 most memorable moments.
Here they are, in no particular order.
 Welcome Wagon
Working the Welcome Wagon registration table on day one of SourceCon was a rare opportunity to meet as many attendees as possible in a short period of time. The energy and enthusiasm — both in front of and behind the table — was palpable. How exciting to check in attendees representing over 30 countries across the globe!
 Jim Stroud’s Periscope
SourceCon legend Jim Stroud was one of 10+ delegates who traveled from the United States to be a part of the first European event.
Fun Fact: Jim was in attendance at the first SourceCon in Atlanta 11 years ago.
Jim live streamed many of the main stage talks from his Periscope page. His live feed enabled my supportive spouse to stay up until 2:30 am to watch me take the main stage in Budapest.
Thank you, Jim!
 Thin Walls
On Wednesday, the morning of my presentation, I walked through the crowded lobby of the Marriott Budapest to catch the first talk of the day from the #BeHuman champion, Katrina Collier.
Vanessa Raath, who I had met on Monday at our Welcome Wagon meeting, approached me as I walked toward the doors leading to the Budapest Ballroom.
She said something to the affect of, “Your talk is really good.”
I stopped in my tracks since my talk wasn’t scheduled until later that morning.
Confused, I responded, “This talk? I haven’t given it before.”
She replied, “Well, my room is next door to yours and I heard you rehearsing last night!”
I laughed and apologized to her for having to sit through the presentation one more time.
 Spontaneous Applause
As I rehearsed day in, day out for the weeks leading up to the event, I tried to build my timing around potential spots for audience participation.
Despite my hours of practice, I could have never anticipated the applause that came at the beginning of my Focus & Flow section.
After introducing the psychological concept of Flow, I felt the audience burst into spontaneous applause. I stopped speaking and smiled to appreciate the moment.
I quickly realized the applause was not for the concept itself, but for the fact that I pronounced the Hungarian-American psychologist’s name correctly.
Phonics for the win!
Realizing I could watch YouTube from the TV in my hotel room was a game changer. Not to mention, it was a fantastic battery saver for my iPad.
Watching my favorite Ted Talks and NPR Tiny Desk concerts was a great way to occupy my downtime while I adjusted to the +9 hour time difference.
 AirSource Soundbite
Meeting Andy Mountney and Katharine Robinson of The AirSource podcast was a treat. I was able to spend a few minutes chatting with Katharine for a special SourceCon episode of their show.
Take a listen here: https://soundcloud.com/airsourceshow/episode-14/
 Familiar Faces
How marvelous to run into Michaela Moser, Head of Sourcing at epunkt in Austria. I initially met Michaela at my first SourceCon in Anaheim (2016).
Michaela commented on how much improvement she noticed since my first keynote on stage in Anaheim in 2016. I appreciated her feedback and seeing her smiling face in the audience.
 The Views
I couldn’t have envisioned a more outstanding view from my fifth floor room in the Marriott.
I learned the hotel sits on the Pest side of Budapest and offers lovely views of The Danube, Buda Castle, Elisabeth Bridge and sightseeing cruises like Legenda.
 The Hacks
Whether it’s your first or fifteenth SourceCon, there is always something new for a Sourcer to learn — no matter how advanced you consider yourself to be.
Ronnie Bratcher, Akberali Engineer and I were super excited to sit in on Victor Soroka’s session on Pentesting as a Sourcer.
Here are a few of Victor’s insights on how Sourcers can use pen-testing:
- get access to hidden/paid features of different web services
- extract event attendee & certification holders lists
- extract data from niche sites not indexed by people aggregators
Victor recommends The Web Application Hacker’s Handbook: Finding and Exploiting Security Flaws.
Happy (ethical) hacking!
 The Reality
I was on such a post-SourceCon high on the last night of the conference that I sat down at my laptop to write this recap.
Alas, I kept dozing off as I typed.
That’s exactly how my first trip to Europe left me — elated and exhausted!
Until next time…
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