Why you should attend ChefConf 2017

There are lots of tech conferences. Each year more are born, grow, and clamor for your time, money, and attention. When we started ChefConf six years ago, we knew two things for sure — we wanted it to embody the best of our community, and because of that, it would have to be different. We also knew those goals sounded cliche.

No organization, let alone a tech vendor, can make a conference different, special, or unique. There are many tricks of the trade to drive toward that end, but it is the people who attend that determine how a conference feels, operates, and, ultimately, fails or thrives.

ChefConf is nothing without you

We are proud to see that since ChefConf 2012, you, the people of the Chef community, have turned our dream for ChefConf into reality. What we could never do, you did. You gave ChefConf personality, variety, diversity, passion, depth, grit, fun, and power.

We have no doubt you will do the same at this year’s ChefConf. Your talks will educate and inspire. Your passion will spread and uplift. You will meet, connect, and become more powerful en masse than as individuals.

I could give you a bullet list of reasons to attend, like how awesome our keynotes will be, or how terrific our sponsors are, or how rad Austin is. And all of it would be true. But that is just me listing the same things you have heard before. Instead, I want to prove ChefConf is worth it, by showing you just some of what you have already made possible in years past.

You, the Chef community, gave a startup’s conference life and you have taken it places we never imagined.

Moments of ChefConf’s past

Two years ago, Mark Russinovich, the CTO of Microsoft Azure, was asked if Microsoft would ever open source Windows. His response:

“It’s definitely possible. It’s a new Microsoft.”

This was a moment. It was bold. It made waves. And, today, our friends at Microsoft have open sourced PowerShell and joined the Linux Foundation. Amazing.

That same year, 2015, our CTO Adam Jacob gave a talk entitled, “DevOps Kungfu,” arguing, simply, that DevOps is for everyone. Again, a moment. Impactful. Controversial even. Fast forward to 2017, when IT analyst firms are finding nearly 70% of surveyed enterprise organizations are using DevOps. DevOps is so prevalent some are wondering if it’s now just the way things are being done in IT.

These events show the impact ChefConf makes. Thanks to all of you, ChefConf challenges the status quo. It introduces new ways of thinking, problem-solving, and collaborating. The show pushes boundaries — personal, professional, and everything in between — inspiring attendees to take the road less travelled, while simultaneously opening up to people and possibilities previously not considered.

You Thrive, I Thrive

ChefConf is part of a movement. A movement driven by all of you — to build systems, products, businesses, and organizations that are more humane, more empathetic, and more effective than what came before. And by doing so we may even make society just a bit better in the process.

This is why you should attend. Because ChefConf has meant something to thousands of people over the past five years. If you’ve attended before, you likely feel the same, and will hopefully return to keep striving, keep pushing for better.

For all those who have never attended, this is an opportunity to step outside of the routine, the regulations, the limitations, and participate in something bigger.

Yes, we sell software. Yes, we’d love it if you buy some. And yes, in the end, whether open source or commercial, our software automates things – infrastructure, applications, and compliance – that make up IT systems. These aren’t the words of revolution. We’re not on a crusade. In the end, it’s just software, and we’re just a tech company.

But you all are much more than that. You’re people who can build what makes work, business, government, and, yes, even society, better. More enjoyable. More humane.
As Adam Jacob said in quoting Ubuntu philosophy at last year’s show:

Ubuntu philosophy

Come to ChefConf 2017 and let’s thrive together.

Nathen Harvey

As the VP of Community Development at Chef, Nathen helps the community whip up an awesome ecosystem built around the Chef framework. Nathen also spends much of his time helping people learn about the practices, processes, and technologies that support DevOps, Continuous Delivery, and Web-scale IT. Prior to joining Chef, Nathen spent a number of years managing operations and infrastructure for a number of web applications. Nathen is a co-host of the Food Fight Show, a podcast about Chef and DevOps.