My experience from Fronteers, JSConf EU, Frontend and FromTheFront

This month has been very busy conference-wise. I had 4 conferences in a row, so I was flying from country to country and giving talks for 2 weeks. As I usually do after conferences, this post sums up my experiences and feedback I got from these conferences, in chronological order.

FromTheFront

This was a rather low-budget Italian conference that took place in Cesena, a city near Bologna. Despite the extremely low ticket price, they managed to pull off a very decent one day conference, which is very admirable. Italian food is so good that I’d recommend visiting this country even if it’s just for the food! They were very nice hosts, and I thoroughly enjoyed my time there.

My talk was right after Jeremy Keith‘s, who is a very well-known and experienced speaker that knows how to make audiences delirious (in a good way), so I was naturally a bit nervous about the unavoidable comparison. Despite my fears, my talk was very well received. Here’s a sample of the twitter feedback I got:

@ is presenting js methods I did not even know existed during her css3 talk!!
@cedmax
cedmax

#ftf11 this is a real css/js hardcore talk. Fascinating @
@caludio
Claudio Cicali

#ftf11 when you watch a @ presentation there is always something you didn't know
@andypanix
Andrea Panisson

#ftf11 I hugged @ at the end of her presentation at @ :-) Loved her
@verlok
Andrea Verlicchi


A whole hour of CSS3 to the tenth by @ at #ftf11
@Facens
Andrea Giannangelo

@ "what can we do in this case?" Nice presentation of css problem solving #ftf11
@matteocollina
Matteo Collina

JSConf EU

Next stop was Berlin and JSConf’s European sister conference. This was one of the most well organized conferences I’ve been to: The food, the coffee, the afterparties, the wifi, the projectors, everything was top notch. Also, it had a get-together the day after the conference (called “hangover.js”) which I think is great and more conferences should start adopting this tradition. It eases the pain of the conference being over and you get to say goodbye to a few folks you weren’t able to catch at the afterparty. It also featured many cool ideas, like a gal drawing live visualizations of the talks (Here’s mine) and a singer to open the conference in the first day singing a song to …Brendan Eich (!). I made new friends, had lots of fun and everything was awesome.

I was a bit more nervous about my talk for two reasons: Firstly, it was my first JavaScript talk, and secondly, it had no live demos like my CSS talks, which is a big part of why people like them. It went much better than I expected, and I got very good feedback and even though I went hugely overtime (I had 30 minutes and did 55!) nobody complained. Thankfully, it was right before lunch so I didn’t eat up another speaker’s time (which is part of the reason I love the pre-lunch spot so much).  I didn’t get the super-enthusiastic feedback I get from my CSS talks, but it was good enough to not be disappointed. Here’s a sample:

Now the lovely @ is rocking the polyfills on stage at #jsconfeu - good talk, I worked through the slides with her earlier :)
@codepo8
Christian Heilmann

wise JS code+hints on CSS and DOM features detections by @ #jsconfeu
@WebReflection
Andrea Giammarchi

Awww @ is sooo cute when saying "in other browsers, CSS polyfills are a pain in the ass!". Nice talk btw! #jsconfeu
@nddrylliog
Amos Wenger

@ dropping knowledge bomb after knowledge bomb about how to build polyfills. Awesome Talk! #jsconf
@cramforce
Malte Ubl

Don't do CSS polyfills! Says @. She is soooo right! #jsconfeu Excellent talk, really more technical then thought it would be!
@wpbasti
Sebastian Werner

Overwhelming talk by @ on #polyfills great detail hope to see it published! srsly this girl rocks http://t.co/APkxpGPl
@claudiopro
Claudio Procida

some great work by @ at #jsconfeu. "Impossible to detect"? Sounds like a fun game! :)
@VeganBen
Ben Green

@ Really long and really informative. Dope styling + rich content. Congrats :)
@nddrylliog
Amos Wenger

You can find my slides on Speakerdeck , Slideshare or the HTML version on my website.

Fronteers

I was looking forward to Fronteers the most, since it’s my favorite conference. It might not be the one with the most money or the biggest, but it has a special place in my heart for a number of different reasons (not all of which I can write in a public blog post). It was the first international conference I ever attended (in 2010) and I’ve met there so many people I used to only know (and admire) as a name & avatar before. It’s the conference I’ve had the most fun at, in both years I’ve been there. Everyone, the volunteers, the attendees, the speakers, everyone is awesome. There is something magic about this conference, as most of its speakers and attendees think about it in the same way (Christian Heilmann for example calls it “his special conference” and he goes to A LOT of conferences). It doesn’t just feel like a professional conference, it feels like a big, loving, open, web development family that gets together once a year to celebrate the advances in our field.

But this time, I wasn’t just an attendee. I wasn’t a regular speaker either. I was also hosting a workshop, my first full day workshop. I was super stressed about that, and in retrospect, it was the most exhausting thing I have ever done. Some other speakers told me it felt so exhausting because it was my first, I really hope they’re right. Luckily, attendees loved it, and they didn’t seem to notice my progressively getting tired after the 4th hour. Here’s some of the feedback I got:

Cool way of testing your CSS3 skills. Interesting workshop so far @ #fronteers11 http://t.co/ht9XwgHY
@flyingpinguin
Jurgen Vansteelant

Need coffee to keep up with @! Very nice and interactive workshop so far, though. #fronteers11
@V_v_V
Vivienne

Lea Verou really does it right. Her css3 workshop is pretty awesome! @ #fronteers11
@Jessman5
Jessica Lazarus

Agree :) RT @: Lea Verou really does it right. Her css3 workshop is pretty awesome! @ #fronteers11
@tforza
Tamara Forza

The CSS3 workshop by @ is pretty well executed. Learning loads of new stuff!
@ronderksen
Ron Derksen

My talk was the next day, and even though I was afraid it would be bad due to being tired from the workshop and the pre-party, I think it was my best talk ever. I was much more relaxed, and I got the most enthusiastic feedback I ever have. My hand literally got tired favoriting tweets, and I’m pretty sure I missed some. Here’s a small sample:

If you thought you can just miss the CSS talk by @ at #fronteers11, you're doing a big mistake. The talk will be amazing.
@smashingmag
Smashing Magazine



Live coding CSS queen @ is now talking about 10 things we didn't know yet. #fronteers11
@FronteersConf
Fronteers Conference


I've seen @'s 10 things talk three times now, yet still somehow manage to learn something new each time. Nice work.
@addy_osmani
Addy Osmani

Great live CSS coding session by @ revealing some very handy ans usable#CSS tricks #fronteers11
@LuukWilms
Luuk Wilms

There are some really awesome CSS3 tricks shown by @ here at #fronteers11
@Georg_Tavonius
Georg_Tavonius

@ just made geeks to love CSS. Nice usage of CSS pseudo-selectors! #fronteers11
@okonetchnikov
Andrey Okonetchnikov



@ showing off insanely amazing capabilities of CSS3 with the :nth-child selectors with adding and removing elements #fronteers11
@artjulian
Arthur Stobbelaar

Impressive css selector-fu by @ gets an applause from the #fronteers11 audience. And rightly so. Respect!
@ronderksen
Ron Derksen

I was sceptical because of the title of this talk. But @ rocks "10 things you might not know about CSS3" #fronteers11
@dantz
Andreas Dantz

Indeed 10 CSS3 Secrets that are actually secrets. Mind=blown. #fronteers11 by @
@nerdismus
Nils Riedemann

Can't wait for @ 's presentation/slides to come online. And she's not even done. #fronteers11 #cssQueen


@ kudos for your live coding slides! Awesome! And thank you very much for some very useful tips!
@LuukWilms
Luuk Wilms

@ talks things about CSS3, I didn't know before. I am shocked! o_O #fronteers11 http://t.co/i4A6MdOk
@soswow
Aleksandr Motsjonov

@ on CSS3 completely blew me away. Very creative use of properties and selectors. #fronteers11
@mennovanslooten
Menno van Slooten

Kudos to @ for cramming all these unknown CSS gems in one hour! Thanks! #fronteers11
@FronteersConf
Fronteers Conference



Totally amazed by the vast knowledge and CSS skills of @. Wow. Learned some nice css3 tricks along the way! #fronteers11
@peterpeerdeman
Peter Peerdeman

Just seen @ pull some amzing rabbits out of the hat. Pure magic at #fronteers11
@bjornjohansen
Bjørn Johansen

10 blackbelt CSS3 techniques in under one hour. @ is a CSS guru! #fronteers11
@cruster
Ján Sokoly


This is probably the most enjoyable/informative talk on CSS I've attended (& I've attended many) @ = awesome presenter. #fronteers11
@aral
Aral Balkan

So glad I got to thank the lovely @ in person for all her hard work! #fronteers11
@ldebrouwer
Luc De Brouwer

Recapping the first day of #fronteers11 - the talks by @ and @ were the definitive highlights. I'm glad I came.
@wiekatz
Patrick Hund

First day at #fronteers11, with great presentations by @ (awesome skills), @ (really funny) and @ (inspiring enthusiasm)
@GovertVerschuur
Govert Verschuur

@ BTW, saw you in Stockholm and sat behind you today during the afternoon. Big fan! #fronteers11 #sweden
@johannesaxner
Johannes Axner

The "10 secrets of css3" talk at #fronteers11 by @ all summed up here http://t.co/IJeW3UdP
@flurin
Flurin Egger

My slides are now online at Speakerdeck, Slideshare and the interactive version on my website.

Frontend 2011

Oslo is a city I’ve been to many times in the past, so there was nothing new to see there. I didn’t make it to the speakers dinner & pre-party due to my late flight, which kinda sucked but it’s my fault since it took me a long while to decide on my flight dates. The conference itself was a bit more design-focused that I’d like, but very well organized. It took place in the same hotel the speakers were staying at, which is always a good thing. It also had the best coffee I’ve ever drank at a conference, and one of the best I’ve tasted in general. I also loved the idea of having multiple projectors, so that everyone in the audience can see clearly. They had the very original idea of not only drawing caricatures for every speaker (here’s mine, I also got it in a nice frame) but also having the artist in the venue to draw caricatures for attendees as well!

My talk went smoothly, and received very good feedback:


fantastic presentation from @ at #frontend2011 is online http://t.co/GP5VU5Whuses her own build CSSS slides framework
@gustaff_weldon
Gustaff Weldon


Great presentation @ ! Grwat presentation framework! http://t.co/zKw8XRHH #frontend2011
@orioltf
Oriol Torrent


really enjoyed @'s talk, some great tips n tricks #css3 #frontend2011
@gav_taylor
Gavin Taylor

Just attended an amazing session with @. Thank you! #frontend2011
@mikaeljorhult
Mikael Jorhult

Inspiring peek into the less widespread secrets of #CSS3 with @ . @ up next on modular #JavaScript with Ender #frontend2011
@ken_guru
Ken Paulsen

Great preso on CSS3 by @ http://t.co/6wOOpoCB Thanks a lot Lea, really enjoyed it.
@cornae
Cornelis Kolbach

That’s it. I now get to rest for a while. Next stop is SWDC in November, which will host the première of my new talk “CSS in the 4th dimension: Not your daddy’s CSS animations” which will be about CSS transitions & animations, from the basics all way to badass secrets.

Thanks to all the conference organizers for inviting me and for the attendees for attending and giving feedback on my talks. You are all awesome, and it was the best 2 weeks ever. :)

  • http://jlix.net/ Sander Aarts

    Sounds like you had the awesomest geek trip (excuse the tautology).
    It was nice meeting you and David again at Fronteers.

    • http://leaverou.me Lea Verou

      It was great seeing you again too!

  • http://twitter.com/jb89149 jb89149

    Sounds like everyone loved you.

  • http://twitter.com/ronderksen Ron Derksen

    Thanks again for the workshop, I’ve really taken some good things from it, which I’m applying right now.  

  • Anonymous

    I agree with @aral:twitter completely.  You were fantastic at Fronteers. I tell anyone who will listen about your mad skills, awesome slides and lesser known tricks. You have serious talent and make it look so easy!  I’m totally jealous. :D

    I feel the same way about Fronteers. It was the best conference I’ve been to. Both the speakers and attendees were so smart, and the lack of keynotes and single-track format really worked to promote that “family” feel.  I hope I can make it again next year!

    It was also great to meet you, and I hope so see you in the US one of these days soon.

    Keep up the awesome work!

    • http://leaverou.me Lea Verou

      Thank you!
      As I said, Fronteers is my favorite conference, and you list some of the reasons in that comment :)
      Hope to meet you again sometime! I’m gonna be in Cali soon, for a month and a half, but iirc you’re in NY?

      • Anonymous

        Yes, I’m in NY. I actually just got back from CA, so probably wont be there for a while, but a whole month and a half there sounds awesome. Enjoy!

  • http://twitter.com/vassalos Vasilis Vassalos

    Sounds like you had a lot of fun. Good job!