Today is the kickoff for CodeWorks 2009, a remarkable PHP road show hitting seven cities in 14 days. While I'm not joining the tour until Atlanta, I'm proud to be joining up at that stop and presenting a Zend Framework tutorial during the tour.
When Marco first announced his intentions for the tour, frankly, my first thought was, "He has finally gone off the deep end," a sentiment that he was all too willing to consider himself. However, the more I thought about it, the more intriguing the idea was: bring some great speakers to a bunch of cities, and keep the admission costs down so that locals can actually afford to go.
My own considerations for going were many. I was initially reluctant — conferences are a lot of work, and while I travel fine, it always takes a while for me to recover on return. And the full two weeks was completely out for me — I have a family I actually want to be able to return to, after all, and a job I like. (Yes, speaking is part of my job, but two weeks in a row, non-stop, might be a bit much for even the most understanding of employers.) Fortunately, for US speakers, Marco had an answer to that: the ability to participate in either the Western or Eastern halves of the tour, which would make the total time away much less, though still an insanely daunting idea.
One facet of the project in particular kept me thinking, however. The opportunity to speak with PHP developers and ZF developers across the Eastern Seaboard is an opportunity I won't get often. And then there's the ability to say, "I did it" — I never thought that'd be compelling, but the sheer audacity of the event just begs for participation.
If you're anywhere within a few hours of one of the CodeWorks stops, and you've never attended a conference before, you owe it to yourself to hop in the car and go. The chance to meet other PHP developers, get training from some top-notch speakers, and improve your skills more than make up for any of the cost — and you may never get an opportunity like this again (though I sincerely hope you will!).
I look forward to meeting and speaking with you in Atlanta, Miami, D.C., and NYC next week!