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EuroSTAR 2012 – People-->
Kristoffer Nordström of Electric Cloud gives his view of the 20th EuroSTAR Software Testing Conference in Amsterdam…
After attending EuroSTAR the last days and waiting at the airport currently, I feel a need to write down stuff and just dump all of the things that are spinning in my brain… however the lack of sleep the last days might also contribute to my head spinning.
Since this will be way to long, I have to split it up into different blog post, and right now I simply must start with the People at EuroSTAR.
This year I had been accepted as a speaker at EuroSTAR for the first time and I was really psyched having been given that privilege.
Also I’m ever so grateful that my company Electric Cloud didn’t even hesitate a second to pay for the trip when I said I had been accepted as a speaker (love working there).
Since I attended EuroSTAR the last time in 2010 I have become a massive twitter addict and have gotten to know so many people via that medium. Now I looked forward to meeting with some of them, and boy oh boy did they all live up to my expectations.
Every time I go to EuroSTAR I get to meet friends that I’ve gotten to know over the years and whom I normally only meet with in person about once a year.
This year was no different meeting up with Michael Bolton, Julian Harty, The Swedish test crew popularly just called “The Test Eye” (Rikard Edgren, Henrik Emilsson, Martin Jansson) and many more.
But this year has also been even more about all the new people I have met, knowing some of them from twitter, and some of them being entirely new acquaintances.
It turned out that I stayed at the same hotel as Rob Lambert and we instantly hit it off. Rob is hands down one of the most down to earth guys I’ve met, and massively funny as well. Both of us being dads with small children we had kind of been looking forward to getting some uninterrupted sleep, but I fear we both have a very, very bad influence on each other since I ended up all nights in the hotel bar with him and Michael at 2-3am in the morning… totally worth it in hindsight…
If you don’t know Robert he has been one of the center pieces of “The Software Testing Club“, a place I encourage you to look up if you don’t know of it.
One person who might be even funnier to be around than Rob is Shmuel Gershon.
You cannot be around the creator of the Rapid Reporter without laughing almost every minute, also his puzzles collection that he brings to conferences is quite impressive.
One thing that struck me was how often I met people, shook hands with them, started talking, only to realize after a few seconds when looking at their name badge that I knew this person from twitter already…
[Note to self]: Twitter pictures differs significantly from faces in real life.
One example of that was on Monday night when I was at the drink reception for all the speakers and I started talking to this larger-than-life Dutch guy who I instantly loved for his wonderful and really really loud laughter… we looked at each others name tags and laughed since we both knew each other from twitter but didn’t recognize each other… I had met Huib Schoots! Huib has been a real hoot to be around the last couple of days and I so look forward to meeting him again.
One day Rob introduced me to a totally new acquaintance and I met with the oh so funny and oh so talkative Alex Schladebeck.
Alex was at EuroSTAR as a speaker as well and I was absolutely gutted to miss the chance to see her presentation today on ” What Agile Teams Can Learn From World of Warcraft“, I hear the room was apparently smack full, but I had to be at another track since I was being track chair at another couple of sessions at the same time.
Alex is a fantastic person to hang with during the conference and not least in the evenings at the different restaurants and pubs that I was hijacked into by the gang of older and wiser EuroSTAR speakers, all from within the test community, Fiona Charles (wow what a sharp mind!), Michael Bolton, Huib Schoots, John Stevenson, Zeger Van Hese and many more.
And who knew testers could be such a rowdy bunch when going out in the evening!
Man oh man does these people know how to enjoy a conference and the activities afterwards!
On the night of the gala dinner I accidentally and suddenly met up with Matt Archer that I’ve gotten to know over twitter the last year. Matt’s a really humble and extremely likable guy to hang around with, and I’m glad to now have met him in person.
Now I have also met with at least (to the best of my sleep deprived knowledge) four of the DEWT members as well! Meeting and speaking with Ruud Cox and Jean-Paul Varwijk was so enjoyable, and I hope to meet up with them again in the future.
I finally got to meet the Norwegian tester Geir Gulbrandsen as well (again totally different twitter picture than the face in real-life), and a lot of Scandinavian testers was present at EuroSTAR as well this year.
There were many many more meetings for me at EuroSTAR, all to the extent that it’s a bit difficult to remember them all now, please don’t feel offended if I forgot to mention you here.
The best part about attending a conference like EuroSTAR (IMHO), and this is something the organizers stress every year, is the meetings with all the new and old people you know there. If you have ever been there and been with colleagues from your company I can fully understand the temptation to spend most/all of the time with them (I’ve done it myself too many times). But I truly and enthusiastically encourage you to meet new interesting people while attending a conference like EuroSTAR. And I also understand (being slightly on the introvert scale myself) how scary and uncomfortable it can be to seek out new people that you don’t know.
So my best tip of the day is this. Join twitter today, start following the interesting test people that are out there, engage with them, talk with them, and by the time you go to EuroSTAR the next time you will have a whole pack of people being eager to meet you in person for the first time!
The sessions at EuroSTAR can be oh so rewarding, but in my opinion I might rate the meetings with people even higher.
Thanks to Zeger, Julian, Shmuel, and James for putting together a fantastic program at EuroSTAR 2012, and for being part of upholding this European and internationally vibrant and extraordinarily fine test community.
Hope to see you at EuroSTAR 2013 in Gothenburg next year!
Find more blog posts from Kristoffer on his blog at http://contextdriven.blogspot.se/