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WeAreDevelopers World Congress 2022

Aloha people, it's been a while since I wrote a blogpost. I didn't come near a functioning computer for some weeks, and instead explored Costa Rica and Panama with my Girlfriend. Now that I am back, I got new ideas for blogpost and some fresh experiences I would like to share with you. Since COVID-19 had started, I haven't been to a conference in person, but now I went to Berlin for the WeAreDevelopers World Congress. Luckily for me, my Girlfriends siblings are currently living in Berlin. My accommodation was therefore cheap so that Hotels and Airbnbs couldn't compete with that. Thanks for sparing me the obligation to spend a few hundred bucks on a hotel room for two nights, Lukas 😎.

If you never heard about this congress, then let me say a few words about it. It's advertised mostly to frontend and backend developers from Europe. The speakers will talk about new technologies, arising industry topics and their products. The company behind the congress earns their money by finding these developers new jobs, hence they are a lot of companies at the congress courting the visitors. I am not kidding, they were a lot of opportunities to seek a new job. One of the companies even offered a ride to space for your contact information. I am not rich enough to go to space, so I declined.

I always feel bad when I am writing reviews, as I never know what to start with. Let me start with the stuff that annoyed me about the congress, so we can focus on the positive things. First and foremost, the app of this event was a hassle to use. The app would fetch all information about the agenda again and again when I tapped the button to look for the next talk to listen too. I would have loved to watch the traffic metrics of the app. Everyone was fetching the information at the same time, and it didn't take long for the app to start behaving quirky. The agenda wouldn't load, the profile pages would start becoming inconsistent and saved progress was lost. I added my personal information twice before I gave up on it. After the first day, I had managed to understand how the designers had intended me to use the app, so I was able to schedule my second day within minutes. That was also necessary, then after a few hours into the second day the app crashed completely every time you would open the agenda section. From that point on, I had to rely on my personal schedule. This situation was annoying, but not a showstopper. I had a similar feeling when I was trying to pay for lunch at the food court, as in German tradition most of the food trucks wouldn't accept anything else than cash. I had expected some fair prices from the food trucks, but they didn't impress me, except the French fries truck. All hail this truck that has fed me over the course of this congress. I had the impression that overall people were not happy being at the event. The comment feed in the app showed people complaining about the food, the venue, the talks and the ticket price. When the crowd was asked to celebrate the organizers for the event in the last talk of the congress, the result was embarrassing. The last talk was Microsoft onstage celebrating itself and copilot for one more time. I left early with the other Thoughtworkers as it had happened too often at the congress, the talk was a blunt advertisement for Microsoft's products yet again. I took this screenshot from the event feed, as I was surprised to see such a public reaction on a congress before.


Okay, let's cool down for a moment and let's focus on the positive side of the congress. There were a few talks that had me sitting upright in my chair listening to every word the speaker would say. The one that I would want to show to everyone was “Web development: where are we, and where are we going?” from Laurie Voss. He opened his talk by reminding people about the pride month which made me as one of few in the huge main stage celebrate too. Awkward but he played over it like a champ and animated the crowd to cheer with him while making a speaker selfie with all of us. He explained in the talk how we could spot the next big change in the industry. The simple metric to do that is hilarious, wait for it: “Look for the thing that bores developers”. I have to agree with him, it's always the mundane, repetitive things that are changed. I also found myself becoming the “but what about the fundamentals?” person as I watched the following talk, which had a topic that Laurie Voss was telling us about: a fundamental change in which we will build web frontends. The second talk was from Joel Spolsky the founder of Stack Overflow. The talk's name is “What's Next, or how we messed up the WWW, and how to fix it!”. Joe Spolsky drew a conclusion how capitalism changed the focus group of each part of the web and therefore corrupting it, removing the original motivation and design. Spolsky pitched his blockprotocol that should change the way web-developers are going to build block-based interfaces. It was amazing to watch my brain go: “but how will they learn X? How will they know Y?”. I hate it, but at the same time I love it. The second day had many more good talks to offer than the first day, that's for sure. I also learned that it's pretty easy to get into the VIP speakers room if you just look confident enough. The cake buffet was awesome, I tell ya. I paid 300 Euros for this event. Totally worth it for the cake. I took a plate stuffed it with cake and sat down outside in the sun listening to some good beats. Well, and that's frankly it when it comes to the good experiences. I am happy that most of the talks will be available online at some point. I missed a lot of good talks that were either on microstages, where the speakers voices were drowned in noise from the venue, or on virtual stages. There are more things I could criticize, but I want to stop at this point.

As I was leaving the venue on the last day, I had already decided that this would be my first and last WeAreDevelopers Congress. The experience was mixed and the price for at ticket way too high for what was delivered. It was funny exploring the venue with my colleagues and discussing the talks. The next conference I want to see will be the Rust Conf in August.

That will be all people, have a great weekend, week, or day. 🥳