Gene Crawford from Period Three sent me an email asking if I could help promote the Converge Conference being held in Columbia, SC this June. I said, "I know very little about this conference for web professionals who wish to defy classification."
So, we decided a little question and answer blog post might help us all learn more about Converge.
Q: Can you give us a little background about the team who is putting Converge together?
Converge was envisioned and is produced by the people who run a few of the local Columbia, SC groups and meet ups. From Refresh Columbia, The Columbia Adobe User Group to The Cola Ruby Brigade. That's me, Gene Crawford of http://unmatchedstyle.com and http:period-three.com, Jason Beaird from MailChimp and JasonGraphix.com, Jason Dew and Jed Schneider of the Cola Ruby Brigade and Greg Lunn from CAUG.
Our inspiration was that we had all been managing our own groups and meetups and really wanted to get some kind of convergence of information going so we could do some cross learning from each other and the idea just grew into ConvergeSC 2009 - We've changed the name to ConvergeSE this year, SE = South East.
Q: What makes Converge different and better than other conferences focused on the web?
Converge will take you from front-end design to the development technologies used to build websites and web apps, then also help you learn strategies to sell your services or application as well as build community around it. It's that well rounded, multi-disciplinary approach to Converge that makes it a little unique I think. We give each speaker ~30 minutes to get their point across and then it's off to another topic, fast and furious.
Q: The Converge artwork is really fun. Who's concept was that and who created the art?
The artwork was conceived by the group here at Period Three/Unmatchedstyle.com, Giovanni Difeterrici was the illustrator and Jay Barry was the designer (@petridisc) are the primary team that made it happen visually.
Q: Converge is in its second year. What were some of the lessons learned from last year? What are you doing different?
We learned a lot about how a conference comes together from our experience last year. Mostly little details and things we're trying to avoid this year. Though we've expanded to the second day for workshops this year so we've raised the bar a little on the challenge level.
Q: How can the community help make Converge better?
The community can help make Converge better by helping to get the word out as much as they can, and registering early. It's expensive to pull of a conference of just about any size. :)
Q: Columbia in June is going to be 14,568 degrees. Give me three good reasons someone from Greenville should risk melting his car tires to attended.
Ha ha, come on lightweight...
Editors note: The fact that I'm not light in weight is one of the main reasons I'm scared of Columbia in June.
Q: Who should attend Converge and do you have any tips on how to get the most out the experience?
Anyone who works with the web or on the web, it's going to make you better by simply educating you more. We have some truly awesome speakers and workshops lined up this year and there's just a ton of info waiting to learned. You don't have to be an experienced professional either, anyone who cares about this stuff will get something out of it.
One of the things people told me most about last year's conference and the speakers liked this too. Is that Converge isn't a small conference but it's not so large either where you can't get to know the attendees and speakers personally. I know several of last year's speakers who have made lasting friendships with attendees from Converge 2009 where they'd never met them before.
Come prepared to network too, there will be employers and potential hires at Converge.
Q: What makes the perfect presentation and/or speaker?
The perfect presentation/speaker is someone with real world experience doing what they love. Someone who's been through it and learned it the hard way and on their own. You just can't replicate that kind of experience. And then to have them tell you what they know is just priceless. All you have to do is listen and learn.
Q: Will there be beer?
Hmmm, Beer... Yeah, we need Beer. We'll work on that! Maybe we'll tap @untamedbeer for some help there.
We enjoyed the Converge animals on the website so much we made some of our own. This Iguanalope was created by Evan.