The elephant in the room

I run a workshop for developers and digital leaders on how to build privacy into projects on the governance, project, and code levels. I was meant to return to PHP Yorkshire this weekend to run it as a half-day course. I’ll be staying home instead.

Despite incredible promotional work by the conference organisers and their marketing firm, as well as my own best efforts to promote the workshop within my networks, the workshop sold zero tickets.

To be fair, it wasn’t just my workshop. Sales are down across the board, for this conference and for most volunteer-run tech conferences. There’s a discussion to be held about the massive loss of hope within our sector, organiser burnout, drying up sponsorship, and having to work twice as hard to get half the results. I myself stepped away from organising after having no idea why I was doing it any more. All of that is separate from the stress that Brexit is creating for our future – or lack of it – in tech. But that elephant in the room is a conversation for another day.

I want the conference to be a positive experience for everyone there, without me moping around, so forget about me and focus on getting the most out of the weekend. Give my beer tokens to Juliette.

And, for what it’s worth, I’ll be seeing quite a few of you at the Dutch PHP conference in June in any case.

PHP Yorkshire elephant
This little dude kept me company in the homeless unit. Yes, that’s an elephant in a flat cap. Because Yorkshire.

This decision has been doubly hard to make because PHP Yorkshire has been exceptionally supportive of me and my work on privacy over the past year. They supported my travel and accommodation to last year’s conference, which took place weeks after I had lost my home and had just moved into a homeless unit; if you watch last year’s video, what you’re watching is me clicking back into professional mode, and feeling pretty good to have that little bit of control over my life again. PHP Yorkshire also covered my travel and accommodation to Drupal Europe last September, where I delivered an abridged version of the privacy workshop and also appeared in a panel discussion with Dries Buytaert on the future of the open web. The team has, in short, gone over and above the obligation any open source community ever had to support me. I cannot thank them enough for that.

As always, I rely on public support for my time, labour, and contributions to work on open source privacy. You can donate here. You can also hire me to deliver the workshop to your team.

Leave a Comment