When we started working on the concept for the Bulgaria PHP Conference, we were full of doubts and fears. We had this strong vision of what the event should stand for, but was it really going to turn out as we dreamed? What if we fail? We wanted this conference to be about quality of the content (the sessions), but more importantly to create a unique atmosphere and intensify the strong PHP community spirit that we feel is the number one reason for organizing an event of that kind. Fast forward 8 months – yes, in short, the event topped our highest hopes and expectations! Here are some insights:
To give you some raw numbers – we were hoping to sell around 400 tickets, this being our first event of that kind, but we actually got 527 registrations with more than 90% turnout rate. The mix of the audience – 85% Bulgarians and 15% international attendees. Special thanks to PHPSrbija, many of whom showed up to our event! Also greetings to the big groups from Macedonia and Slovakia, as well as all the other attendees who came from abroad. We had representatives from more than 12 different countries including USA, Canada, Poland, Germany, Austria, France, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland, Finland and more. Next year, we hope to see a lot more international attendees as the PHP community is strong and grows beyond borders.
We had 25 speakers presenting and a total of 32 sessions, which until now have received 328 evaluations in joind.in. The Bulgarian audience is a tough crowd in general so we feel very proud of the overwhelmingly positive ratings that our speakers got.
We received more than 40% survey responses, which by itself is an achievement of its own (average email survey response rates are ~25%) and your feedback rates our event as top quality. BGPHP15 average rating is 4.5 out of 5 and we couldn’t be happier and thankful for your fantastic feedback. 88% of respondents said that they would come back next year, 12% said it was too early to tell and 0% said they wouldn’t come back – this is utterly amazing! We had a question that asked what was the one thing we should do next year again and more than 90% of respondents said they wanted us to run the conference every year.
But what matters even more, we saw that many of the attendees really got the message! A message that was spread through by many of our speakers such as Michelangelo van Dam, Cal Evans and more – that the community is a vital part of a developer’s life. How do I know that? Many people came to ask when the next BGPHP UG meetup is going to be so that they would attend. And we didn’t wait long – it’s this coming Saturday (Oct. 10th) and we already have 2 confirmed talks. Come by and don’t hesitate to join the group.
We now feel joy and satisfaction and gratefulness as we saw that our vision became reality. Many people stopped us in the hallways just to say how much they enjoyed the event. Comments, such as: “This is the best conference I’ve been to!” made me personally very emotional. And when people started talking about getting their ticket for #bgphp16, I was overwhelmed with happiness!
Of course, we realized there were some things that needed improvement. We have taken into account all the recommendations we received from the attendees regarding the event. The greatest takeaway for us is that we have a lot of hard work ahead of us and we have to be extra diligent in order to make #bgphp16 as successful as #bgphp15! We already have some amazing ideas, so stay tuned for updates for next year. Our planning starts today
Thank you all again for taking part of Bulgaria PHP Conference 2015!
P.S. As many of you enjoyed the hallway music during the breaks, here’s the official #bgphp15 OST playlist.