Ask yourself, why are you here?
I haven’t really written much about That Conference. Looking back not documenting our journey seems like a mistake. For someone whose mission is fostering a better community, to not share our story, our journey seems at odds with our mission. Honestly, that is really super duper batshit selfish. This is just one of my efforts to course-correct.
I could have helped so many more people, so many more communities. I still can; this is one of my efforts to course-correct.
Unapologetically, I started all of this to foster a change in our community. I wanted to create a building block of our industry, not just a conference. The “conference” is just a reunion of the people, a celebration of our collective hard work, all while creating exposure to the ones around us. On the other hand, community is all about the people. It’s about serving one another, helping, creating, supporting those people with similar interests. That’s what drives me, us. Every religion, profession, hobby, sport, so on has a community, and most have some sort of “conference”.
I started That Conference to give people not just a voice, but a different voice. No corporate motive, no sales pitch, just legit passion for helping one another. I started That Conference to give kids a safe place to witness their parents being a hero. I started That Conference to create a place where adults could learn from kids. I started That Conference to create a place where we could give innocent bystanders some exposure to all of the great things we create day in and day out. I started That Conference to set the example of what we could do, what we really should do.
I started That Conference to give kids a safe place to witness their parents being a hero.
When I set out on this mission, countless people told me not to waste my time. I’ll never forget that a very large media company told me “The midwest market is a lost cause.” People have tried multiple times and failed. Potential sponsors told me I was crazy to include families. “Kids at a professional conference? Is this some kind of joke?” Nope, they just didn’t see the bigger picture. Thankfully, countless people did believe in me. And here we are.
Have we accomplished everything we want? Of course not, but I started all this so the next generation of software developers can have a better community than I’ve had. My parents always taught me to return the item you borrowed in better condition than you received it. Every day, we get closer to our goals. And in turn, every day our goals get bigger.
So, here we are. THAT. I started THAT to give a voice to the real practitioner, the doer. Celebrate the craft while unapologetically helping your fellow technologist. To mis-quote Gandhi, “Be the change you wish to see in the world”.
And while I started That Conference, I couldn’t do this without any of the epic support of my awesome wife and crew who work every week of the year to be the change we wish to see.
Hey we started a new publication here on Medium? Why? It’s just another road to help give people a collective voice. Make sure to follow us and if you’re interested in contributing here or in other places please let one of us know. Better yet here’s my number: (847) 513–9001, txt me and let me know how I can help.