Top 8 Conferences We Love to Attend Ilze Leite-Apine

Top 8 Conferences We Love to Attend

Amidst morning routines and the first sips of coffee, a familiar ping signals a new message in the company's Slack channel.

—“Hey, greetings from the airport; I'm going to the RailsWorld 2023!” A picture in the Slack channel shows Jānis B. with a wide grin. A selfie from the Riga airport (or bus station) is a tradition of the eazyBI team whenever someone goes on a business trip.
—“Oh, pity, you are going alone!” Ilze believes the parallel “discussion track” among team members who also attend the conference is as important as the official agenda.
—“From time to time, it is good to be alone at a conference,” eazyBI founder Raimonds adds his opinion on the channel.
—“Yes, it is cool! You can experience the conference better!Jānis V is known for his habit of attending events alone or in very small groups to have a better chance of meeting with other attendees worldwide.
—“No, it is not cool,” Jānis J, as always, keeps his thoughts short, and his answer ends the discussion.

This casual discussion was not groundbreaking; it was a relaxed chat among colleagues about things they were well used to. We are past the discussions about whether it is worth going to conferences; now, we just do it. Developers, support consultants, designers, marketing managers, or administrative assistants—everyone is encouraged to attend events regularly to absorb new ideas, shape their knowledge, and then share and discuss what they learned with others. Sometimes, we organize "watch parties" for online conferences and comment on those sessions live.

Sure, attending conferences involves costs—travel expenses, time away from regular work, conference fees, and more, especially when a part of the team goes together. However, looking back, we can see that many events and presentations helped to structure and formulate our working principles and approaches. Of course, conference talks are not textbooks. Instead, you can find a lot of inspiration and ideas. Sometimes, a catchy phrase or meme helps you formulate the thoughts that have been circulating within the team. Later, when discussed with colleagues, those ideas might become a guideline or principle we all adopt and follow. For example, one of eazyBI principles is celebrating team success over individual achievement because “The team is the unicorn”. A unicorn theme from one presentation interlocked with our belief that no flying heroes can beat a hard-working team.

To encourage you to go out and meet like-minded people all around the world and get inspired, here is a list of eight conferences and seminars we have loved and most probably would attend again (or already have been there several times). See you there?

1. RailsConf

eazyBI is built on the Ruby on Rails framework. We maintain and constantly develop the code base created ten years ago. We’re proud to be able to keep it up-to-date with the newest versions. RailsConf is one of the conferences that let us keep up with the framework and language development, stay in touch with the community, and meet the Rails and Ruby core team and creators.

“This is the largest Ruby on Rails conference. From time to time, it’s great to get this huge community feeling. I like to watch recordings from recent years, so it’s good to have them available.” Jānis Baiža, eazyBI software developer

2. ElevateCX

Customer support conference that almost all eazyBI support members have attended. It helps to reaffirm our existing practices and build eazyBI support excellence. It highlights customer support's crucial and significant role in maintaining the company’s client base. It’s also pleasant that the conference is relatively small and very friendly.

My primary goal was to engage with other industry professionals, hear about their customer-centric experiences, learn about the tools contributing to their success, and I found exactly what I sought. The workshops inspired me to view myself not only as a customer support specialist but also as an individual passionate about my work and the fulfillment it brings. It also gave me assurance that the eazyBI support team is on the right track when it comes to our customers!” Elita Kalāne, eazyBI customer support

eazyBI support team at ElevateCX conferences throughout the years

3. SmashingConf

The most-loved conference by our front-end developers and designers. There is great content throughout, excellent workshops, the latest trends, and a lot of examples, tips, and tricks on how to impact product usability. The key person of the conference is Vitaly Friedman, the SmashingConf founder, who has unimaginable knowledge and examples to answer almost all audience questions. Even with vast experience in the field, you can always learn many shocking news. Also, the conference starts with a 5k morning run, which we love to do as a team.

“I saw Vitaly in UX Riga conference 8 years ago. And since then I’ve been following his apperances on various conferences. I would consider the chance to listen to his speeches all over again. He knows how to maintain audience interest and engagement and there is always something new and exciting to take away.” Jānis Celms, eazyBI designer

4. RubyKaigi

RubyKaigi is one of the top Ruby programming conferences. Ruby programming language was created by Japanese developer Yukihiro Matsumoto (also known as Matz), and the conference is held in various cities across Japan. The conference is all about Ruby. There are no soft talks like in many other similar events. This is a technical conference; thus, the audience is mainly Ruby developers. Usually, there are also some presentations about JRuby, which we are very much interested in as eazyBI is running using JRuby.

“RubyKaigi is a very special conference. It’s held in Ruby homeland—Japan and is always opened by Ruby language author Matz. There is a pannel discussion for a Ruby language board, where they look through the issue list. Besides the latest news announcements, you can witness how the decisions of language’s further development are taken. It’s a developers world there. A great mingle of the Ruby developers around the world that nowhere else could be experienced.” Gatis Tomsons, eazyBI software developer

An additional bonus: if you fit a bicycle in your luggage, you can be your own driver from the airport to the conference venue and get to know Japanese culture and people closer.

Jānis Vītums and Gatis Tomsons on the way to RubyKaigi 2023

5. Refresh

Refresh is a relatively new conference organized by our neighbors in Estonia. Focused on product development and UX design, it has inspirational keynotes, presentations, and practical workshops. It had only one onsite gathering in Tallinn before the pandemic; now, it is back in Tartu, hosted in the splendid Estonian National Museum. The conference has a Scandinavian vibe—smooth organization, attention to aesthetic details, and great speakers from well-known companies.

“I attended the only event right before COVID and was afraid that it won’t be back (but it is!). It is one of rare events where the focus is on overall IT product design, from human experience to UX-design to technical solution, trying to answer both questions why? and how?” Ilze Leite-Apine, eazyBI customer support

6. EuRuKo 

EuRuKo is Europe's longest-running and biggest Ruby conference, connecting the Ruby community from Europe and beyond. The conference is organized every year in a different European city. The audience decides the next year’s location on the last day of the conference. In 2024, EuRuKo is heading to Bosnia and Herzegovina for the first time.

“Like-minded people. The conference format allows for more up-and-coming and less-established speakers. The single track keeps everyone on the same page.” Jānis Vanags, eazyBI software developer

eazyBI dev team attending EuRuKo 2023 in Vilnius, Lithuania

7. Write the Docs

Write the Docs is a community that cares about user manuals and documentation. Those are people who love documentation and care to make it user-friendly, understandable, and, most importantly, valuable for users. Apart from conferences on three continents, there is also a community Slack channel and local meet-ups.

“You can read in the books all theories on how to create documentation. However, our readers are real people and their behaviour differ, therefore, shared use cases are an important addition to the theory. The insights unveil the ideas for further improvements—would it work in our case; what adjustments are needed to make it work for us; what results would it bring?” Zane Baranovska, eazyBI customer support

8. Runas Skola

At eayzBI, we do our presentations ourselves, in our not-that-perfect-english and without completely staged speeches. There is not just one spokesperson, but the majority of eazyBI employees (19 out of 30) have taken the stage at our own or partner events. As we do it on top of the main duties, we’ve discovered the wide range of “Runas Skola” (“Speech School”) training and workshops for enhancing public speaking skills. It must be admitted here: it is held in our native Latvian language.

“In early 2020, I attended the Runas Skola Storytelling workshop to prepare for my first presentation at the eazyBI Community Days. This workshop is fantastic because it’s not related to the IT industry and teaches general storytelling methods and practices. As I was in the beginning of preparing my presentation, my challenge was to make a technical story engaging for an audience unfamiliar with IT and eazyBI. The workshop provided me with key insights on how to structure my stories with an introduction, development, some surprise elements and not to forget about conclusion.” Gerda Grantiņa, eazyBI cusotmer support

This, of course, is not the ultimate list of all conferences the eazyBI team attends. We are open to new experiences and communities where all aspects of building a product, a happy team, and thriving relationships with customers are in focus. Tell us about the events that excite you! Who knows—maybe we'll run into each other there!

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