Midwest PHP 2014 wrap up

Midwest PHPLet's get the negative stuff out of the way first. It was cold. Like, really cold. And I'm a wimp when it comes to the cold.

Whew. Thanks for struggling through all of that. With that out of the way, let's talk about how awesome the conference was. This was the second year I was invited to speak, so I'll also do some comparing with 2013's conference.

Location, location, location

They moved into the city to a bigger college. It was a big improvement over last year's venue. The rooms were big enough for the audience and had plenty of power in the two smaller rooms. I only heard one speaker mention having A/V trouble: two sets of dead batteries for the microphone. I had a bit of trouble figuring out which building the conference was in, but once I did, it was easy to get from session to session.

The food was pretty good as well, with soft tacos the first day and sandwiches the second. They took good care of those with special dietary needs as well.

The after party's location was very intimate, and really helped to mix up the speakers and attendees, which I feel very strongly about. I talked to every single person at the after party except for the people sitting down around the edges.

Content is king

The worst talk that I saw was still very interesting to me. The selection of speakers was fantastic in both breadth of topics and depth of knowledge. The only knock I have on the list of speakers is that it's pretty much the same group of speakers you see at other conferences such as SkiPHP and Lone Star PHP. The community really wants you (yes, you) to start speaking at your local user group and then at conferences. Trust me, you've got some knowledge worth sharing and can do this. 

And for some reason, I spoke as well. Despite my fear of public speaking and my nerves almost derailing my talk, it went over very well. The attendees were very welcoming and friendly.

Conferences can be so humbling to see the amazing stuff that people are doing and willing to share with you. Many of the speakers literally wrote the book on their topic. You can see them talk about it, and then chat with them about it more afterwards. That's just amazing to me.

The Atmosphere

Wow. So energy. Much connections.

The attendees were a friendly bunch, and the hallway track seemed to be on fire. The IRC back channel was very talkative, owing to some well-timed tweets to get new people on to Freenode to join the conversation that.

Overall Impression

I really hope that certain non-MidwestPHP events don't conspire to keep me from being able to submit a talk to Midwest PHP 2015. I really like this conference, the people, and the experience and would love to come back next year.


  1. Updated that last paragraph to hopefully make it clear that the end of my speaking career has nothing at all to do with anything that happened at MidwestPHP or any of their policies. They are a top-notch regional conference and I would consider myself very lucky to be able to continue to speak there year after year.

  2. I'd also mention that this is the first conference I've ever been to where the Wifi was properly secured, preventing local machines from accessing other local machines, which is a major security win.