Waza Conference

I had the opportunity to attend the Waza conference, Heroku’s second annual developers conference in San Francisco. This is a developer event that “celebrates the art of software development through technical sessions and unique happenings.” The word Waza is the japanese word for art and technique; which was brought to life throughout the conference.

The atmosphere that Heroku provided for the conference was breathtaking and quite unexpected. Immediately upon walking in, you hear chimes and live music in the japanese fashion and the event center itself was a beautiful natural lit area with wooden beams. Needless to say, it was a entrance to remember. The conference started out with ceremonial drummers and a live painting of the word Waza.

The conference then began with a series of amazing speakers, there were three sections, the Bansai, Bamboo and Blossom. The Garden area also had events going on with Arduino presentations, some amazing pour over coffee from Blue Bottle and to wrap the day up, a New Relic sponsored Happy Hour with 21st Amendment beer! Yes everyone, the Watermelon beer was there!

The Bansai area was the center stage and where the hub of events were. On the side, there were Art events including book binding, quilting and stenciling, oh my! These were introduced to us at the beginning of the conference as available, and I found it as a great release to do something artistic with my hands and using my brain. This was a great activity to do post-lunch to keep active.

Printing Code: Programming and the Visual Arts was of particular interest, primarily because I hadn’t realized how much more you can do with code with a visual aspect. Rune Madsen did a fantastic job in breaking down examples and re-creating art with simple lines of code. Another part of this was he talked about integrating graphic designers with developers, which is becoming more and more prevalent I feel.

Unfactoring from Aaron Patterson was also an inspirational and amazing talk. He brought in so many great points as well a stories throughout the talk. I felt engaged the entire time and he really nailed his point home. He broke down how to get out of nightmares from metaprogramming, flying toasters, Mamba candy and cats. Yes, this was all included and went well, you’ll have to watch it to fully understand.

Winding the day down, I had the opportunity to meet so many brilliant speakers and make some fantastic connections. The event had such an intimate feel, that I was able to meet some of the speakers, including Aaron Patterson and even Matz (which I felt like a teenage girl meeting the Biebster)!

This, I attribute to the success of Waza, art and development as one. Heroku’s detailed approach in this conference venue choice, set up, sponsors and speakers set the perfect atmosphere for a successful and engaging conference. The energy and vibe flowed nicely with Heroku’s company culture and felt overall welcoming. I would definitely recommend this conference to anyone interested, even beyond PHP and Rails; this is one for the books. All videos are available on the conference here if you missed them or are curious to learn more.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to reach out to me on Twitter. Cheers!