We wrapped up Do it with Drupal (DIWD [dūd] to those in the know) a few days ago and after slogging through email and catching up on the rest of life, I've had some time to begin digesting it all. Spoiler: it was awesome. I say that as an attendee and as a worker-bee. On the worker-bee side there are lots of reasons that I didn't want to run screaming and crying into the night, mostly due to great work by our organizing team. On the attendee side, I got to see lots of great presentations and chat with really interesting folks. Some big wins that made this fun for me were: a wide range of topics by expert speakers; in addition to IRC, the Twitter back channel was awesome; moderators to handle questions; and snow in New Orleans. ;-) There were too many times that I was thoroughly torn about what to go see, but being on staff made decisions "easy" since I had to be in certain places at certain times to help the sessions run. Luckily we recorded all of the sessions on video so that I can watch all of the ones I couldn't finagle my way into. (Videos aren't up yet, but should be soon.)
As I mentioned before the conference, I was most excited about the "external perspective" speakers we had lined up. They totally delivered and my brain is still spinning. Having my head in Drupal and the Drupal community most of the time, it was great to have new ideas and concepts injected into the mix, especially from articulate and entertaining speakers. I've been pondering our community, how it works, why it works and the tools we use for a while now. Speakers like Lane Becker, Heather Champ and Brian Oberkirch really gave me a lot of stuff to chew on (I missed Chris Messina's session because I had to be helping in another session, but will definitely be catching that on video). Thinking about Drupal by seeing it in its place in the larger web stream shows not only how we can improve things now, but how we can be part of building the future of what the web will be. Lots of non-Drupal people are thinking in big strokes and mapping out the rapids, eddies and falls; charting the future paths. We need to explore with them as well as within our own boat. I'm really excited about the things happening in my brain but I'm still not at a place to articulate it all (it feels sort of like this video crammed in my head). Aside from the presentations themselves being just plain awesome, they have given me new terms to help clarify things in my own mind and new resources to keep feeding on. I think many heads in the house got overfilled with excitement and inspiration, so a huge thanks to all the speakers that came and stuffed us full of goodies.
After all of that brain work and talking, we spent our last day in New Orleans gathering up a group of 26 conference folks and heading about an hour away from new Orleans to help build houses for Habitat for Humanity. It was a great change of pace, the Habitat crew we worked with were patient and full of laughs, and it felt good to give a little something back. I slept good and hard that night. It was a perfect way to end a really fun and rewarding week in Louisiana.