Matt Trask

Speaking at Upstate PHP

May 23, 2016 | 3 Minute Read

Welcome to Upstate PHP

If you didnt pay attention to Twitter last week, you missed the tweet storm from Steven Wade Jr about my impending visit to UpstatePHP to speak about building awesome API’s. This was huge for me for a few reasons. One is that I was invited, two was that it was a different user group and three it was another step into a goal of mine, speaking at a PHP conference.

Greenville, SC is only 2 hours from Atlanta. It was a straight shot up I-85, so easy drive. Going after work allowed me to avoid most traffic but unfortunately Atlanta doesnt have a good time to leave and avoid any kind of traffic. But once I was on the highway, it was easy going. I put on a podcast and was in for an easy, albeit boring drive. Once I got there, the AirBnB dude was a great host for me. I settled in and went over the slides again, checking to see what I could add or remove.

In the morning, I hit up a place called Coffee Underground which was perfect. Excellent coffee and breakfast sandwiches abound, it was a great coffee shop. Not super small so you could spread out, places to plug in and power up laptops and devices. One huge thing is that OpenWorks threw me a day pass, which helped me have a dedicated place to do video chats, and work without having to be a bother to a coffee shop or their patrons. OpenWorks was a fantastic place, if you need a place to work in Greenville, I highly recommend them.

Meeting Time

After we finished up, Steven, Matt and I packed up and went over to Coffee Underground where we hung out for a few minutes before it was time to get the pizza. After grabbing the pizza, we walked over to the meeting spot with the pizza and set things up. It was a good crowd, especially for a young meetup group. At lunch, Steven had asked me how to get the user group members interested in the community I owed my career too. I offered to do a “mini” (like 10 minutes if that) talk about the community. It was great, and I saw people following others on Twitter, asking how to join the IRC rooms etc. One lady had posed the question to me about conferences when I realized that they were hungry to learn. I had a pass to All Things Open which I gave away as well as a pass to Connect.Tech, a conference in Atlanta. After we did that, they split the group up so they newer people could continue their PHP Lessons while I talked to the experienced developers about REST API’s.

After it was all over, the flurry of tweets appeared which showed me I did a decent job. The morale of this story is if there is a user group near you, get to it. If there is one within a few hours drive and you can manage it, get to that one too! Having user groups cross pollenate will help grow the community. As it is with UpstatePHP, they have been looking for speakers, so now they have one that can pop up and talk often. And now there is another experienced developer in their midst so people with questions can ask and connect.

Want me to come to your user group? Feel free to conect me! I can either come intown or talk over video chat. Either way, lets make some plans!

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