In case you’re interested, here are the slides from my recent talk at ZendCon. My presentation was on E-Commerce and how PHP can be used in many other ways besides just a simple shopping cart. We use PHP in virtually every facet of our company - we really are powered by PHP. I’ve not done public speaking to a larger group in a while, (most of my public speaking experience is through teaching e-commerce) but I fared better than I thought. I usually end up completely humiliating myself in some form or another (ask me sometime about the speech I gave to my high school senior class.)
At any rate, I did get some positive feedback from some attendees - several of which were thankful that someone had touched on PHP in small business use. Again, I want to stress to all conference organizers that not everyone can practically use methodologies that are geared toward enterprise, and smaller, simpler solutions for the smaller dev shops still do have a place at these things. Hell, maybe I’ll organize a new PHP conference (as if there aren’t enough already) that’s geared toward small business and just leave big business out of it altogether .
Overall, it was a great experience as conferences always are, and even though I didn’t get to attend a lot of presentations (due to work and some other external factors) I did pick up a few tidbits here and there. Besides the PHP knowledge you can obtain, another benefit to conferences like these are the social connections you carry home with you. You can connect through IRC, mailing lists, forums, and other ways… but when it comes right down to it, there is no substitute for real face-to-face human interaction. And if it occurs while enjoying an adult beverage or two, and maybe some crazy karate guys chopping up skulls, then all the better. I felt very fortunate to be able to meet several people in person that I had only previously known by name, and to meet some new people as well. Just like college, it’s perhaps not only about learning information but also going through the experience that makes you better off on the other side.
I also want to personally thank Cal Evans and Zend for allowing phpwomen.org the opportunity to promote our cause - it was wonderful to see so much support from men and women attendees alike. I especially liked seeing our signature purple t-shirts everywhere, and I hope everyone wearing one comes to visit our site and forums. A lot of guys brought shirts back to the PHP women working in their department - bonus points for all of you, and we appreciate your help spreading the word.
I don’t know if my liver can handle it, but I do look forward to going to next year’s conference. Hope to see you there!