I am lucky enough at work to be able to choose a conference every year to attend for professional development. This year, the five of us iOS developers decided we wanted to find a conference that would give us a slightly different perspective than we usually get, and one that we could all attend together. After hearing Peers mentioned both on Core Intuition and Release Notes, a couple of the only tech podcasts to survive my latest purge, I proposed that we all head to Austin.
To be honest, we did not expect the content to be completely relevant for us. We recognized that Peers is primarily a web and business conference, and we all work as iOS developers at a large enterprise company. But since we are all involved with our company’s efforts to expand our business and start new ventures, we want to keep in touch with the startup and independent developer culture and try to embody some of that inside of our company.
We were pleasantly surprised to find that nearly all of the content was exceptionally helpful and relevant for us. From the beginning of the conference, we knew that it was going to be a different experience. Jess D’Amico greeted us as we came in, and exclaimed, “Are you the group from O.C. Tanner?” We found a very warm welcome in this community and enjoyed ourselves tremendously.
The conference was extremely impactful to me on a personal level. On the first day, we participated in the business workshop, which consisted mainly of introductions and breakout sessions. The conversation of which I was part focused on discovering what is next in our careers. It was deeply personal and refreshingly open and honest. As we talked, someone asked if this was my first Peers. When I confirmed, he told me that this kind of conversation is the essence of Peers, and if I want to, I will find many more similar discussions throughout my time at the conference.
As I flew home, I took some time to write in my journal, and finally came to understand some of the things that I heard on that first day. A career is made up of so many moving pieces, and it can be a real challenge to line them all up properly. I still have a lot to think through and process as a result of Peers, but I am so grateful for the emotions and thoughts it stirred up. This is a kind and generous community that pushed and provoked me to think outside of my previous mental ruts, and I look forward to learning from and participating in it in the years to come.