Last month I spoke at CocoaLove, a conference about people, not tech. After traveling so much it felt wonderful to speak at a local conference. It had the feel of a classy European conference with the convenience of not needing to travel there. I enjoyed speaking there and I hope it will inspire others to have more conferences in Philadelphia.
The conference spanned three wonderful days. The opening keynote and banquette took place on the night of Friday, October 24. Mike Zornek, the head of Philly Cocoa, gave a great keynote about mentoring. Meanwhile I ate pasta and took in the good vibes. They chose the Chemical Heritage Foundation for their venue, a museum and hall. People had come from all over the country and a few even came internationally to Philadelphia. Everything felt wonderful. After it ended I just took an Uber back home. Excellent!
The next day I got up, ate breakfast, and took an Uber back there. I really liked having a conference locally. I would speak in the morning, and arrived shortly before my time. The non-technical format made my talk about accessibility very accessible. The crowd also felt very receptive. See it for yourself.
I got my adrenaline rush after I finished which always happens, so couldn’t focus too much on the other talks. I enjoyed them though, and I encourage you to check them out. All the non-technical topics began to blend together into an intellectual pillow. It all seemed to boil down to the Reiki precepts, which I will reproduce below.
For today only:
Do not anger
Do not worry
Be honest in your work
Be compassionate to yourself and others
I took an Uber back home, ate dinner, and took a power nap. I loved that I could do this. Eventually I made it to the after party at Frankfort Hall. I had good conversations with people from Downcast, Mint, and the Omni Group. A guy asked me about Apple Maps. When he persisted I asked if he had an interest in cartography, and he explained that he works for Apple and used to work on Apple Maps but has since moved to the Apple Watch, which as I recently detailed will have accessibility. You just never know!
The next day they had a walking tour of the Constitution Center. I could not go because I had to have a meeting about the Map4Access Project. Also, eating cheesesteaks doesn’t do anything for me, a vegetarian. I hope everyone had fun though.
CocoaLove began as a few people talking after a meeting of Philly Cocoa. Curtis and the others had no experience running a conference and made it happen smoothly. The site already hints at CocoaLove 2015 and I can’t wait! I have told other conference organizers to consider Philadelphia. Perhaps they will begin taking my suggestion more seriously now. We have great venues, wonderful history, and from what I understand a small conference doesn’t cost a prohibitive amount. See you next year in Philly!