Brighton Ruby 2014

Mon Jul 28 04:07:49 2014 Zachary Scott

Now that I've had a chance to reflect, and meditate... on my experiences in Brighton, I thought it would be a good time to sit down and write about them.

Our journey to Brighton was an amazing one, and I want to share with you our story; as well as recap some of the highlights of the conference for me.

It all started sometime back in April, I think, when I met up with Terence in Japan for Oedo Kaigi. One of the goals for this trip was to organize a ruby-core developer meeting in Japan. So after some diplomacy, we set out to Shibuya to attend the meeting we had set up just a few days before the regional kaigi.

The meeting went well, for the most part, its always good to sit down with the other committers and talk about our plans for the language. After the meeting, we had a revelation..

We were high above the Tokyo skyline, at the DeNA offices of the Shibuya Hikarie building, when we realized.. This meeting was exactly like one of those jedi council meetings we've always seen in the movies.

After a few laughs, and some ramen, Terence mentioned that he was going to be invited to the first ever Brighton Ruby conference and we should do a talk together.

With the star wars references still fresh in our minds, we jokingly suggested doing a joint talk about how ruby-core is just like the Jedi Council.. complete with Jedi Grand Master Matsumoto.

As time passed, it seemed we couldn't get this ridiculous idea out of our heads. And as it turned out, Terence knew someone that could actually make us Jedi costumes to pull off this talk. We would have legitimate Jedi robes with the help of Dan Bright and his wife Dawn, long-time friends of Terence.

Terence was busy sharing his experience joining ruby-core, and literally traveling around the world in a campaign to get me a Ruby Hero award. This is an amazing honor, and I cannot express how humbled I am by this.

Several conferences later, and it was time to seriously make something for our talk in Brighton. Terence had contacted Dawn and heard back that she would be able to make the costumes. We would have to fly down to L.A. to get measurements and help with materials and such.

While in L.A. I got to meet one of Terence's best friends and spent the afternoon hacking on the talk. Dawn, who is an amazing artist.. her house is literally filled with her own beautiful paintings and illustrations. She not only hand-crafted our Jedi robes, but was the spark that re-inspired us to do this talk.

It was time for me to do my part, with just a little over two weeks before the conference I wrote up the first draft of our script then started outlining the storyboard. It was crunch time.

Not long after, I was on a red-eye to JFK to meet up with Terence EWR and fly to LHR together. I spent the last two days before the flight finishing the storyboard and started drawing up some of the slides.

By chance, the morning I landed in New York, a wild @wycats and @tomdale appeared on their way to an ember-core meetup.

This was both surprising and inspiring. I don't normally get star struck but they were gracious enough to snap a photo with me for proof.

An hour later I made my way to Newark airport to meet up with Terence. He was running late after missing a flight and having to be redirected. I found him on a moving walkway in the middle of the airport.

We put our heads down in the United Club where we watched The Phantom Menace. We were amazed at how good Qui Gon's lines were and inspired to use some of them in our talk.

A short hop over the pond later, and we were busing from Heathrow to Brighton, passing in and out from the back to back redeyes.

After we checked into the hotel, we went to a BBQ at Andy Croll's to meetup with some of the other speakers.

We were opening the next morning, and We both knew it would take another all-nighter to finish in time.

At this point, we had both been awake for about 48 hours, it was a struggle but we knew we had to push through. Room service helped keep us energized, we also tried jumping jacks and a quick karaoke of Eye of the Tiger.

After many hours, and no sleep, we made it. The sun arose and we carried the burden, that is around 20 pounds of costume to the venue by 7:30am.

I remember the moments before we went on stage, there was an audio failure and it took a few minutes to start while we impatiently waited behind the curtain.. this was one of the most terrifying feelings in my life. What were we thinking???

You can't imagine the amount of joy we had when the intro video finally kicked in, what took us hours to create in imovie. The music was perfectly in sync thanks to Terence who spent many hours preparing the audio.

In total, we stayed up for around 72 hours, about 6000 miles each, and a weeks time in costume design and creation. With uncounted hours of hand-drawing slides, photoshopping, audio engineering, post-production, and months of planning...

We finally did it.

The feedback on our talk was overall positive, it was reassuring to hear the applause and cheers upon our introduction.

The rest of the day, was a bit of a daze; the sleep deprivation was definitely hitting me hard. Although the talks I was awake for were really good.

Ben Lovell's talk on building JSON APIs was on point, and Sarah Mei's talk on technical decision making kept everyone's attention.

Lunch time was great to catch up with friends of old and new, and to get feedback on our talk. We made our way to the park under the scorching Brighton sun in several thick layers of Jedi garb... this called for gelato.

After lunch, I was feeling the affects of food and sun, also not sleeping in days and took short nap in the dressing room.

Then was able to see Laurent's talk on RubyMotion, but was asleep for Sam Phippen's talk on type systems.

I woke up to see Rosa Fox and Despo's talk on codebar, an organization I can only compare to that of the Jedi Academy.

The lightning talks went... fast, and last but not least Aaron Patterson closed out conference as only he can.

We finished the night with karaoke. A truly great way to end a conference if you ask me. #rubykaraoke4lyfe

Many fond memories were made, and there is much sleep to catch up on. Without a doubt I can say that I have no regrets, and will always remember the first Brighton Ruby with a smile.

Terence has uploaded his photos from the conference, and you can view them here.

Until next time, May the Ruby be with you...