With HolidayJS behind me and more awesome memories than I can count, I wanted to put down some thoughts as a public record to all the awesome people that made this possible.
So let me start with how HolidayJS started and what our goal was. I am a huge fan of the hackathon format as I think it creates an environment that is perfect for new developers to learn through guided participation.
Here is an email I received from one of the Paul Pfaff that really captures the primary goal for putting the event together.
Thanks, I had a great time, I am really really really glad I let the gang talk me into joining the hack-a-thon portion – I almost walked out because I have little/no JS experience and very little coding experience (even in other languages) but Chris Cowan and Eric Burley convinced me to join in, and I’m glad I did, I learned a HUGE amount of JS as well as some very rapid application development tips and most importantly it inspired me to really make cool stuff, so let me know if there is a JS usergroup or mailing list so I can be included in the next one!
THAT totally made my day! The secondary goal was to do an Oprah Christmas Special BUT WITH CODE! I really wanted everyone who showed up to walk away with a cool gift that they would be excited about. I am thrilled to announce that the mission was accomplished.
I simply cannot express enough gratitude for all our sponsors.
Please stop and take a moment and check out this amazing list of companies http://holidayjs.com/#sponsors that really care about contributing to the community.
I was absolutely amazed the outpouring of support that I received from our sponsors. I am lucky enough to work for WebFilings who have been 110% behind my efforts to do events for the community. This is actually the fourth event that they have sponsored and given me the time to put it together. Eric Burley @eburley I heart you and you know it! I am extremely grateful for the support!
We had a lunch sponsor fall through and Michael Palermo @palermo4 from Microsoft and Gregory DiPaolo @gdipao from Appcelerator jumped in during the 11th hour to save the day. The food was excellent and I really appreciate them stepping up and pushing that through! Thanks!
Thanks to PluralSight, PeepCode, O’Reilly, Safari Bookshelf, Manning, Wijmo, MailChimp, JetBrains, Google and Adobe for the awesome prizes!
And thanks to Dutch Bros and Vita Coco for the great beverages!
As you can see this is a pretty impressive list. I am still humbled that so many great companies were willing to donate money and awesome prizes.
We had 100 people sign up and we had 60 plus developers show up which in hindsight was just about the right number. We were pretty packed out and so it was cozy without being cramped.
We put had seven sessions that covered a fairly wide range of topics with a focus on pragmatic things to take into the hackathon in the afternoon. It was really cool to see how everyone was so engaged in the topics and we had really good dialog around each topic. It was a moral conflict for me to try to keep to the schedule and just let us freestyle and see where it took us.
I really appreciate the time that the speakers took to put together some really quality talks. They were all quality and quite interesting. We are currently compiling the video and will post them as soon as possible.
So in closing, I had an AMAZING day and I spent most of it running around coordinating things. It was so much fun to spend an entire day with friends and mentors that have shaped my career in so many profound ways. My entire programming career has been shaped by people being so gracious and giving with their time and it was such an honor to give something back to the community that has brought me more joy and happiness than I could possible hope to quantify. That pretty much sums up how I feel about HolidayJS in one sentence.
Speaking of friends and mentors, John Bland posted a really nice writeup about his experiences of the event. You can check it out there: http://johncblandii.com/2012/12/holidayjs-ftw.html
Oh! And before I forget! A big thanks to one of my oldest programming friends Aaron Murray @wearefractal for all his hard work and being such an awesome partner in crime.