EpicFEL 2015

How a small (in size) but great (in content and people) meetup becomes “epic”

Saturday I spent the whole day at EpicFEL, the full-day version of Front-end London, a meetup that every month gathers together the front-end community here in London.

FEL, how is called, is definitely my favourite meetup, and this is not my first EpicFEL, so I should not be surprised by how great and well organised was the conference, how interesting and engaging were the speakers, how top-notch were their talks and presentations, how the whole day was simply amazing.

But still, while I was walking home after the evening at the pub, I was so enthusiast, happy, relieved, that I was surprised at myself. I felt so re-charged in my motivations to do my job, in my sense of belonging to a community, in my trust towards this community.

I don’t want to tell about the speakers or their talks (the videos of the whole day will be available soon), just follow the hashtag #EpicFEL and you will see how enthusiast people were. What I want to tell you about is the conversations that went on “around” the event. Something you can’t get looking at a video or following a twitter stream. And it’s this event in the event, this collateral/parallel stream of conversations and thoughts, that made me so happy.

Because it’s when you speak with one special person like Arran Ross-Paterson, about the future role of the recruiters in our software industry, you listen by his own words the ethics that drives him in doing his job – he has just joined a recruiting agency, Zebra People, so if you are looking for a job he is the man – it’s when you have this conversation that you can restore your trust in the recruiters, that you can see that they are not simply “all the same” as we all tend to think.

It’s when you can share with a friend like Marek Lenik your opinions, frustrations, doubts about every possible aspect of our job – be the use of a new framework/technology or the impostor syndrome affecting almost everyone of us, the crazy idea for a new kind of conference or a possible argument for your next blog post – and with only one single phrase he can give you an answer that you have sought after for days and weeks, it’s when this happens that you are so happy to spend your saturday with such brilliant people.

It’s when at the pub after the conference, with a pint of beer in your hand, you can join any bunch of people and start chatting about CSS namespacing and BEM, blockchain database and democracy, IT departments and games theory, future conferences and programming languages, and when in doing that you simply feel at home, it’s at that exact moment that you re-discover what a community is: not a physical place, not an abstract idea, but real people. And you start to reconsider your impressions on “the state of the industry”, by looking at the quality of the people that make it.

One last though and “thank you” goes to the organiser of the meetup and the conference: Andy WalkerIlya Poropudas and the new entry Fiona McLaren.
You have all my admiration, esteem and gratitude.

In conclusion: I wrote this post mainly for two reasons. First, is just a way tell you that if you are not going to Front-end London, you’re missing something… epic! :) and second, if you have a blog, a Facebook page or a Twitter account and you haven’t done yet, write publicly to Andy, Ilya and Fiona and tell them about your experience and impressions of EpicFEL: they need it (as feedback from the community) and deserve it (as persons devoting so much of their own time to the community). It’s just a matter of “give back”.



Update: here a write-up of Ilya with all the videos of the talks: Coding for humans, developers and other animals: EpicFEL 2015

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