Matt Trask

The Happiness Bar

January 01, 2018 | 2 Minute Read

Happiness is a warm gun (bang, bang, shoot, shoot) - The Beatles

No we are not bringing guns to Southeast PHP, but instead we are bringing a Happiness Bar. I had the fortunate of “attending” WordCamp US this year as it was in Nashville, and as I was walking around the conference I noticed the Happiness Bar. It struck as me as interesting because in all of the PHP Conferences I have attending there was nothing like this. Sure there was a hallway track, and that is invaluable on its on merit, but no place a developer could ask questions openly and outside of a session. While yea you can ask in the hallway track, its not specifically the place to ask questions but rather a time to make new friends and celebrate community.

I thought a bit about this last week while away from work and life. There are a few reasons I think why it is easy to do at WordCamp and not the greater PHP community. One is that WordCamp is essentially a single topic conference… Wordpress. With this in mind, you can go to the Happiness Bar with the confidence that your wordpress issues will be worked through. What if you went there with a Laravel question, or a question about Symfony? You probably won’t find many people there able to help you. This is the problem I want to fix, provide PHP developers a way to get help at conferences. It is no secret nothing beats one on one help. I can personally attest that if I didn’t have Brian Retterer sitting next to me at PHP[World], I would not have had fixed an issue I was having with Laravel as quickly as I did.

I think I will continue to think about it, and iterate over it. Hunter Skrasek came up with a good idea of something similar to an uncon board, where if an attendee who specializes in a particular thing such as Laravel or Symfony can post times they will sit at the bar and help out. Im hoping to iterate more in the coming weeks, but look for this at Southeast PHP!

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