The ExpressionEngine Roadshow: A Summary

I just got back from Seattle, from the big event I organized called the ExpressionEngine Roadshow. We had 80 attendees, from 20 states and provinces, 14 speakers, 2 parties, and 1 heck of a good time. I was told once by a wise man not to point out one’s own flaws: other people either spotted them before you did, or haven’t yet noticed; either way they don’t need to be told.  So let’s just say the conference went extremely well.

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And it’s true—it went off wonderfully. What did I especially like?  I liked the space: Pravda Studios.  There’s something nice about a novel space that gets people talking, conversations happening, and ideas seem to float into the air.  I thought up two new add-on ideas, and heard from several other people about new projects that percolated from the meeting of the minds in that airy, bright space.

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I liked the attitude of the folks who came—how willing they were to share with each other, like in Matt Perry’s presentation about high-performance EE sites.  I worry sometimes that as the EE community grows, more grumps, creeps and porcupines will join the EE community and push out us old, mellow do-gooders.  But that was not the case with the people at this conference, and that thrills me.  I hope next year we can make it even more inclusive of new EE users and the EE-curious, too—suggestions on that would be appreciated.

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Most of all, I liked getting the reminder that each one of us, whatever our own skill set, can have a big impact on the growth of the EE community. I think the best story was the one told by Brandon Kelly, creator of some of the best EE add-ons like Gypsy, FieldFrame and Playa. He said he’d originally made one really good extension for ExpressionEngine, but then had drifted away from EE development until the end of 2008 when Ryan Masuga came up with the “AcademEE Awards” and named Playa the Extension of the Year. That recognition and praise gave Kelly the push he needed to get re-involved in EE, and now, 9 months later, he’s getting ready to quit his job and start developing add-ons full-time, to the benefit of all us EE users.

It’s just wonderful to see that happen, and it reminded me how important it was to give support and encouragement to new folks, because that can really come back around and help us all.

Seeing people making new friends, form new business relationships, solve problems, and meet face-to-face for the first time—that’s what the EE Roadshow was all about for me.

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Hop Studios was proud to be one of the four organizers of the EE Roadshow this year—the other organizers being the tenacious and clever Degan Beley, the boundless and perfectionist Kevin Shoesmith and the insightful and wry Monique Trottier. I know, reading thank yous is boring, but these three deserve a moment of thanks from me, that’s for darn tooting, because we couldn’t have done it except all together, and I think we all got something special out of this.


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