Mango Tree Media is a web design firm focused on helping small and mid-sized businesses reach their true web potential using the Joomla!® CMS

Top 5 Reasons to Attend a Joomla Conference

As I sat on the train on my way home to Indianapolis from the Joomla  “J and Beyond 2011” Conference in Krekrade, Netherlands, I was thinking about the weekend’s experience and how many people who worked with Joomla missed out on an amazing experience.  If your business is related in any way to Joomla, here are the top 5 reasons you should attend and a Joomla Conference, and why I definitely plan to be there again next year:

1. You become part of the Joomla Family

Ignacio/Gabe/Daniele/JamesWith almost 300 attendees from 35 countries, we were indeed a diverse group of men and women. With names like Parth, Jisse, Ignacio, and Simon, you would think that our language and cultural differences would make it difficult to mix. But there was a common theme that quickly brought us together… our love for using Joomla to provide technology to our users, and an eagerness to share that common experience and passion with each other. For most of us, our family, friends, and even clients do not share that same passion, so it was great to spend a weekend with those who do. I now have genuine new friends from Portugal, Italy, India, and… Milwaukee, to name just a few.

2.    It’s all about face time

Many of us attendees had “met” previously over Twitter, Skype, Forums, etc. But 3 days of face time is worth way more than any amount of digital time. Just sitting down with someone over a drink or a meal and looking them in the eye and sharing your common experience creates a connection that cannot be replicated online. If you work in the Joomla world and have not yet attended a Joomla event, you just have no idea what you are missing.

3.    You get to know and thank your benefactors

Johan Janssens / James Friesen / J and Beyond 2011I feed my family (3 growing kids!) with the money my business generates using Joomla. I am truly humbled by the fact that the product that forms the core of my business was really a mass donation by many people over a number of years. So I made it a point to meet and thank those who have given so much of their free time to the Joomla project and community, perhaps none more so than Johan Janssens the lead developer of Joomla 1.5 and now head of the Nooku project. Being around guys like Johan, Lois, Brian, Ryan, and many more has motivated me to make a much more concerted effort to pay that forward by releasing more of my code to the public and participating more in the growth and direction of Joomla. Added note: I suppose this blog post is the first example of that.

4.    You Get to Meet Brian Teeman

James Friesen / Brian Teeman / J and Beyond 2011I have had a number of interactions with Joomla co-founder Brian Teeman over the last couple years on Twitter and had him pegged as a bit of a cranky Brit. While that may be true online ;) it certainly doesn’t describe the Brian you meet in person. Anybody who is willing to wear Joomla “trousers” or trot out on stage with a full knights suit and a… uh… “horse” between his legs is alright in my books. Brian, I enjoyed meeting you and appreciate your involvement in the organization of the event  and your many contributions to the Joomla community. It was your tweet to me “It’s a great investment in your business” that got me thinking about going to the conference and you were absolutely right.

5.    You’ll see how The Joomla Community Rocks

The Joomla Community has taken quite a bit of heat lately from other open source projects for the apparent “deep divisions” within the community. While there certainly have been some struggles lately, I can say without reservation that the Joomla community is already strong and growing stonger. Anybody witnessing the thousands of conversations going late into the early morning every night (helped by our new best friends at eBay!) would agree that the community is NOT broken. Sure we are not perfect, but I loved seeing supposed competitors swapping notes to improve their products, creators of different products planning how they can collaborate to bring more integration and innovation to the public, and even Joomla project leaders intently listening to the community on a number of different topics. The path forward may not be straight, but it will be good. I saw it with my own eyes.
James Friesen

James Friesen

James is the founder and CEO of Mango Tree Media and since 2004 has been squeezing the most out of the Joomla CMS to help businesses and non-profits communicate with their client base and extend their reach.

Add comment

comments powered by Disqus