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This was such a fantastic conference to attend!
The talk options were excellent. I especially loved the deeper technical dives, including into Pest, UUID, and PHP internals. There was a good mix of veteran speakers and new speakers as well. I left with concrete takeaways to try out, which is a goal with every conference I attend.
The venue was good. It was easy to get to/from the airport ORD and the hotel. I liked that the hotel lobby was open, which promoted communication and socializing throughout the conference, while also making it easy to stop by my hotel room when needed. Some of the talk rooms weren't quite big enough for the attending groups, but that is a hard number to predict.
The food was excellent! It was quick and easy to get lunch, and the evening socials had plenty of food. My only complaint was that they ran out of cheesecake!
Chicago was a good location. I talked to quite a few people who lived close enough to drive.
I really liked the 30 minute talks just before lunch. It worked really well, and it was nice to have a slightly shorter talk after a morning of drinking from the firehose.
I have mixed input on the workshops in the afternoon. It was nice to see the workshops very well attended, which isn't normal. There wasn't a break during the workshop I attended, which made for a long afternoon workshop that was overloaded. Communicating with workshop speakers to make sure there is a planned break, and maybe even a snack/drink break added mid-way.
The evening socials were excellent. I loved meeting new people, playing some games, and the free food.
The swag bag was top notch, especially since it included an elephpant and a conference t-shirt! Every conference should include those (my opinion). The vendors were easy to talk with and weren't too pushy.
The community feel to the conference is a good angle to take. It was good to meet many people from the PHP community, from those active in internals to package authors to user group organizers to open source contributors. The round tables made it easy to sit with others and chat.
Registration Tuesday morning could have been more streamlined, but the opening day is expected to be really busy. Consider asking for a few more volunteers just for registration (I would have been happy to help!), have bags more ready (elephpants inside already, grab-and-go t-shirt), and easier flow (single door made for bunching up of people).
Overall an excellent conference that I would recommend to others! Thank you organizers and volunteers on a well-ran conference.
The return of tek has been one of the high points of 2023 and one of the most anticipated event resurgences in recent months. Seeing this community come together once again has been inspiring and exciting. The conference itself was well laid out and presented ample time for both reconnecting with old friends and networking to build new relationships.
Content talks were diverse and well presented. The opening and closing sessions helped bookend the entire event perfectly, and the organizing team did a stellar job in helping everyone to feel welcome and included.
My only critique would be targeted towards the length of the event (should always be longer!) and the lack of a few long-time sponsors. Neither is a critique of the event itself - it was fantastic - but a reflection on changes we've lived through from previous editions to this one. I have no doubt that future installments will be even bigger and better than this year, and that's already a remarkably high bar to beat!
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Great job! I thoroughly enjoyed this conference. The speaker lineup was great and I think everyone is going home with good ideas for future development and refinement. Thank you for all the work the team put in to hosting such a great event.