In early 2009, several developers from Relevance and Viget Labs got together and starting talking about technical conferences. As we discussed our past experiences at regional, national, and international events, we began to realize something: large conferences are wonderful for a lot of things, but we wanted something that met a different set of goals. We came up with Developer Day, which was designed to:
- Build lasting relationships among local peers
- Bridge distinct technical communities
After a year of Developer Days, however, we decided a new look was in order, and thus was born DevNation. We've still got the same ideals, but we feel that the DevNation name better reflects that vision (and it's easier to Google!)
The general pattern for a large conference runs something like this: you fly to a city, go to the event, have a great time, meet lots of great people, and fly home. More often than not, you don't see those people again until the next big conference, and that's a problem. We wanted our event to be different, so it's intentionally local. Speakers and attendees are overwhelmingly local to the conference, so when you meet someone doing something cool, you can connect with them a week later for lunch without a problem.
Sure, there are events that draw a wide range of developers (e.g., OSCON), but even then people tend to segregate; the Pythonists go to their sessions, the Rubyists to theirs, and the PHP devs to theirs. By having only one track, we give everyone the opportunity to see what's happening in other communities.