6 Reasons to Attend and Sponsor Open Source Events
“Is it worth it?”
This summer, I’ve been asked a lot of questions concerning Promet Source’s commitment to sponsoring Drupal Camps, as well as our eagerness to lead training events and be present at them in every way that we can.
I get that at any given moment, most of us have more on our plates than we can handle. It’s difficult to justify throwing travel and a two or three day camp or convention into the mix.
That said, my answer to the “Is it worth it” question is an enthusiastic, “YES.”
1. It’s good for business
Key among my objectives is the opportunity to connect with a new client or two, but regardless of the expectation that I have walking into an open-source event, I always learn something new or gain a new perspective or solidify a relationship in an expectation-exceeding kind of way. The basic maxim, “You don’t know what you don’t know,” rings very true during Drupal training events, and I’ll add to that, “You don’t know who you don’t know.”
2. You owe it to the community.
The defining feature of any open source product is not the technology, it's the people. Open source thrives or dies based on the community that supports it. Any company that depends on open source has a responsibility to give back to the community. Giving back can come in many forms.
- Contribute code back to the project, update documentation and other traditional "technical" facets of open source
- Sponsor the project financially, either by funding critical work or by sponsoring events that bring the community together
- Provide, content, programming, and volunteer labor to the events
- Just show up
If your company is built on open source, consider all of the above as goals.
3. You can hire or be hired.
This one should be obvious. If you need to hire open source savvy people you will find no greater concentration of them than at a camp or convention. Likewise, if you are looking for a job in the open source world, or simply to network among the movers and shakers, you can usually count on the most connected players participating in and sponsoring open source events.
4. You get smarter.
It's probably impossible to attend a Drupal Camp or DrupalCon and not come out of it smarter. The sessions are led by passionate and really smart people sharing interesting ideas and technical solutions to complex problems. Product pitches are usually prohibited, so the presentations are actually useful. And the conversations you end up in on the "hallway track" are often the most interesting of all.
5. It's fun.
Get 25 to 2,500 open source advocates together in one place and shenanigans will result. Decorum, and maybe a statute of limitations, prohibits me from going into too much detail here. And a lot of activity is actually very tame. Trivia contests, dinner meetups, and coffee exchanges are regular occurrences.
6. You meet awesome people.
Hey, it's a bonus 6th reason. Oh, the people you'll meet.