December 2, 2014 · Events

A quick EuroSTAR 2014 wrap-up

If you're following me on Twitter, it can't have escaped your attention that I was rather occupied last week with the EuroSTAR 2014 conference in Dublin. Lots of work, and some play!

As part of my media team duties, I wrote a collection of articles for the EuroSTAR website, previewing/reviewing the activities during the concerence, which are linked below:

In total, that's about 10,000 words about my thoughts on EuroSTAR, so it's fair to say that you probably don't want to hear much more from me on the subject! However, here's a few bits that didn't fit into any of the above.

This was my first EuroSTAR, which I chose to attend primarily because it was close to home (I love Dublin!) but my expectations for the conference were fairly low. Therefore it's perhaps unsurprising that the conference surpassed my expectations, but it also dispelled some misconceptions that I previously held.

Firstly, I thought that the event would be extremely exhibitor-dominated; I pictured a scene where you couldn't even get a cup of tea without being harrassed by a salesperson - but I couldn't have been more wrong. In fact, if anything, I feel guilty that I didn't spend more time engaging with the exhibitors, as it's their support which keeps the event going. So, credit where it's due to every exhibitor in this list.

Secondly, most of the other events that I've attended this year have been UK-based, or focused on the context-driven school of testing, or a bit of both. With the EuroSTAR conference, I was deliberately hoping to engage with testers from other backgrounds, and therefore I expected to find friction or disconnect when comparing my methods with those of others. However, this didn't happen - everybody was very respectful and had interesting tales to tell regarding their test approach. It was a great platform for detailed and frank discussion, in stark contrast to some unfulfilling conversations that I've experience on Twitter lately (where, as I put it, testers seem to be spending too much time "violently agreeing" with each other; another post to come on that shortly).

My final misconception was concerning the speakers, who (as reporter Nick Shaw also remarked in his final-day video) were the most approachable, down-to-earth set of presenters that you could ever expect to find. They participated in other sessions, mingled with the other attendees, and (without exception) their talks were engaging, relevant and not self-promotional. Perhaps that's why I managed to accidentally crash the speakers' drinks party on the first night; I followed the sounds of chatter and laughter through the convention centre, grabbed a pint and joined in the conversation, totally unaware that everybody in the room was a speaker! And not one of them complained - in fact Daniƫl Maslyn congratulated me on the sheer bravado of my actions...

It was a fitting end to the conference season, and my first year of experiencing the conference circuit. If 2014 was mostly about discovery, then 2015 is where I'll be focusing more on giving back - I'm already confirmed to be speaking at TestBash and Nordic Testing Days, and hopefully there'll be one or two more announcements to come on that front!

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