StarEast 2010 – Self-Organized CWAC

I have LOTS to write about StarEast, but I’d like to start with the conference-within-a-conference that a group of us planned on our own. Well, I didn’t do much planning, but Matt Heusser took the lead and lots of other folks including Justin Hunter planned a couple of fun and enlightening events.

We were self-titled the “Rebel Alliance”. I don’t think we were rebelling against anything, there are just a lot of Star Wars fans in the group. (Though there was a good lightning talk suggesting good things we do rebel against). I was going to be a Bantha until someone reminded me of a gruesome scene involving one.

But I digress. We had dinner one evening, at which we even got t-shirts with a star fighter on it. So much fun to get to know people such as Yvette Francino, Shmuel Gershon, Lanette Creamer, Selena Delisie to name just a few (and how great to have lots of women!) I’ve known Adam Goucher awhile and met him at Agile 2009 (if not before), but it was great to see him and his fellow editor of Beautiful Testing, Tim Riley (who did a great keynote at the conference).

Shmuel Gershon's lightning talk

The next evening our group had our own lightning talks, which were as intriguing and creative (maybe more) than anything at the conference. Adam talked about pirates, and Lanette talked about herding cats. This photo of Shmuel presenting a new session testing tool he wrote shows how much energy the speakers had.

Jon Bach had surprising and thought-provoking exercises, as always. These are just a few examples.

At the Rebel Alliance Lightning Talks

Selena and Dan took lots of videos, I hope those will show up someplace. David Gilbert provided his own tasty home brew – what a treat! He did a good talk too, on what we’re rebelling against, and for – learning vs. pass/fail, programmer’s best pal vs. quality police.

Conferences always get my brain buzzing, just being around such smart and creative testing professionals. But being a part of this terrific group was amazing. From old friends like Janet Gregory to more recent friends such as Sean Stolberg and Dawn Cannan, to people I only knew on Twitter up to now, such as Alex Kell, to people I didn’t know at all before, like Mark Vasco –  it was almost overwhelming! I wanted to talk to everyone at once!

After this experience, I suggest you consider this at your next conference: get a group of like-minded people together and plan an evening ahead of time. You’ll look forward to the conference that much more, and take exponentially more ideas home with you. And you’ll be part of a small community that hopefully will live on past the conference.

3 comments on “StarEast 2010 – Self-Organized CWAC

  1. Hi Lisa,
    I have been twitter-following the adventures of the alliance all throughout StarEast – what a brilliant concept. Would have loved to be part of that.
    Maybe a good idea for the upcoming European Conferences (Eurostar / Agile Testing Days) ?

  2. Agile Testing Days would be great, though we did something like this last year. On the last day, Gojko Adzic, David Evans, Mike Scott, Declan Whelan, Rob Lambert, and two others went out in Berlin to some pubs and talked the night through. Though, the rebel alliance was a bigger event, I was also thinking about something for the ATD. Unsure about the format, though.

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