How to visit DrupalCon efficiently: Tips from CEO Alex Schedrov

Jun 02, 2023
By Alex Schedrov

DrupalCon Pittsburgh 2023 is an incredible experience you wouldn't want to miss! I have had the privilege of attending multiple DrupalCons over the past ten years both as an engineer and CEO of Five Jars. Before entering this technological carnival, let me share a few tips and findings.

The Drupal community is talented, knowledgeable, incredibly welcoming, and kind. When you step into the world of DrupalCon, you're surrounded by qualified and fascinating people who share your passion for Drupal. It's a place where any person may study, have a great time, and build relationships that will last a lifetime. So, be prepared to enjoy DrupalCon to the fullest!

Pre-Conference Planning

1_Pre-Conference Planning

Tip 1: Setup goals

First things first, let's talk about planning. Setting specific goals is the first step towards making the best use of your time at DrupalCon. Depending on your role and job, your objectives for the conference will differ. As a developer or solutions architect, I was always eager to dive deep into technical topics and attend sessions that pushed my boundaries. Because it is an area in which technology and ideas collide, laying the path for future years. On the other hand, project managers or business development folks may have different priorities. So, before you even set foot in DrupalCon, take some time to define your personal goals.

Our speaker Iryna Semenova will be taking the stage on Monday, June 5th, to share her insights on the topic "Wartime remote work: A superpower that we learned while being under unique circumstances".

Tip 2: Build a schedule

Once you have your goals in mind, it's time to create a schedule. This can be done a week before the event or even on the plane while you're traveling. It's up to you. Fill your DrupalCon calendar with sessions that align with your interests, workshops that can enhance your skills, and social events that allow you to connect with the community. Remember to allocate time for meetings with partners and colleagues. These face-to-face interactions can lead to fruitful collaborations and exciting opportunities. So, remember to keep a balance between structured sessions and networking time. For example, if you want to chat with me or our speaker Iryna, feel free to use LinkedIn or the contact form on our website.

Networking and Building Connections

Networking and Building Connections

Tip 3: Use networking opportunities

Ah, networking is the heart and soul of DrupalCon! It's an absolute goldmine for building connections and expanding your professional network. Now, here's the rule: embrace every networking opportunity that comes your way. One of my personal favorites is exploring the Exhibit Hall. Companies from all over Drupal set up booths, and it's the perfect chance to learn more about them. Take your time, start discussions, and who knows, you might find a brilliant partnership or discover a tool that revolutionizes your work. And remember to grab the swag! Bags, T-shirts, mugs – you name it. It's all part of the DrupalCon experience.

Tip 4: Attend BoFs and social events

Another fantastic networking avenue is the Birds of a Feather (BoF) sessions. These round-table discussions focus on specific topics, and they're a great way to connect with like-minded individuals and engage in meaningful conversations. But it doesn't end there. DrupalCon is known for its vibrant social events. The community knows how to have an excellent time, so ensure you participate and be a part of it! You'll not only feel the enthusiasm and fellowship but also have the opportunity to engage with other attendees on a more personal level. Be sure, some of the best connections are made during those casual chats over a drink.

Maximizing Session Attendance

Maximizing Session Attendance

Tip 5: Take notes and write down ideas

Attending sessions at DrupalCon is like being a kid in a candy store. The amount of knowledge and expertise shared is mind-blowing. I have a few strategies to share for maximizing your session attendance. First and foremost, take notes! Believe me, ideas will flood your mind, and it's essential to capture them. Whether you prefer an old-fashioned pen and paper, or an iPad, phone, or laptop, write down those valuable insights. You'll be thankful later when you want to revisit them.

Tip 6: Engage with speakers

Engage with speakers

Another tip is to actively engage with the speakers. After the sessions, there's usually a Q&A section where you can ask questions and discuss breathtaking topics. Participate without hesitation! It's a chance to connect with the speakers and gain their insights on specific issues. And if a topic resonates with you deeply, remain not afraid to approach the speaker afterward and continue the conversation. Never know where it might lead.

Tip 7: Take breaks to recharge your social battery

Lastly, here's a little nugget of wisdom: take time for yourself. DrupalCon is an intense experience filled with non-stop information and interactions. It can be overwhelming if you skip breaks. Look for quiet rooms or designated areas where you can relax and recharge. Without a doubt, a short walk or some moments of silence can do wonders for your social battery. It's essential to find your balance and ensure you're not burnt out by the end of the conference.

Post-Conference Follow-up and Reflection

Post-Conference Follow-up and Reflection

Tip 8: Identify key takeaways and share them with your team

As DrupalCon comes to a close, there's still work to be done. The first step is to process all the information you've gathered. Take the time to go through your notes, structure your thoughts, and filter the key ideas. This reflection will help you consolidate knowledge and transform it into actionable steps.

But it doesn't end there. Share those newfound knowledge nuggets with your team! Present the top five to ten main ideas that you believe can bring value to your work. Discuss them, evaluate their importance, and consider how you can implement them. Remember, the true value of attending DrupalCon lies in how your team applies what you've learned.

Bonus Tip: Keep a connection until a next Drupal event

And let's not forget the connections you've made. Follow up with the people you've met, whether through LinkedIn or email. Developing these relationships can lead to collaborations, mentorships, or even friendships. Keep the conversation going and explore possibilities together.



Follows the tips and insights I've shared based on my experience, and you'll be well on your way to a remarkable DrupalCon journey. Remember to set clear goals, create a schedule that balances sessions and networking, and maximize every opportunity to engage with the Drupal community. DrupalCon is not just about professional growth; it's about fostering lifelong connections and staying updated with the latest developments in the Drupal world. So, prepare yourself to dive in and embrace the magic of DrupalCon Pittsburgh 2023!

Alex Schedrov
CEO with 13 years of experience in delivering digital solutions to global institutions such as Stanford University, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He has a keen eye for strategy and can address challenges from both the business and tech sides.


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