Lone Star PHP 2014 Review 01 :: Spotlight On Chris Tankersley’s Stay @ #lsp14 – We Need To Talk To Each Other To Learn & Grow

What Is This All About?

Welcome to the 7PHP PHP-eatre (theatre) where the screens never tires of diffusing everything that has PHP deep down inside the DNA. Tonight, we’ll watch the “after-the-show” of a yummy PHP Conference, named as the Lone Star PHP which took place last week.

The screen tonight, features our PHP Rockstar, the Only-and-Only Chris Tankersley. It is worth-all-the-while to raise your attention here about this guy; Chris has been the very #1st 7PHP Interviewee back when I started on this journey in January 2012. So Chris aka dragonmantank is someone very special here for 7PHP! (And for The Community as well for those who already know him)

NOTE: You can view all the speaker’s slides and ratings here on joind

And Now Let’s Visualize #lsp14 Through The Mind Of Chris

>> Hey Chris, please tell us a bit about yourself

Chris Tankersley
Chris Tankersley

I’m Chris Tankersley, and I’m a PHP consultant from Northwest Ohio. I’ve been doing PHP professional for about 10 years, and server administrator for about 8. I’m a speaker, writer, and trainer as well, in addition to being a father to two great little boys and husband to an awesome wife. I also run the Northwest Ohio PHP User Group, though we’re in a bit of downswing right now, though I’m hoping to get us back into regular meetings here soon. I occasionally blog at http://ctankersley.com and you can find me on Twitter as @dragonmantank .

>> Is Lone Star PHP 2014, your first one to their yearly “party” ?

This was indeed my first year for Lone Star. I had wanted to attend last year, but my schedule didn’t really work out. I’m kind of glad I missed the 100 degree weather last year though!

>> Could you describe how it was when you landed at lsp14? Your feelings, the environment, the people..etc

I’d never been to Texas properly, just flown through DFW a few times. I was really excited that I had been chosen to speak at Lone Star, especially since I knew the guys who were running it and that they would be doing a great job. Bob Majdak Jr. picked me up, and then we went to pick up Jeremy Mikola, whom I’ve know from other conferences. Bob was a great person to ride around Dallas with.

I’d met the organizers many times at different conferences, and they were wonderful hosts.

The people at the conference were great as well. I met a bunch of new people and caught up with old friends. At every conference I gauge the “hallway track” to get a feel for how well the conference is going, and there was usually someone to talk with. During the lunches people were eager to speak with each other, another good sign. I really enjoyed it.

>> What are the things that you really enjoyed there?

For me, much of is the people and interacting with them. I learn a lot by talking with people about what they are doing, especially new people. Lone Star also had a great set of talks so it was hard to pick one to go to. I didn’t feel like there was ever a dull moment.

>> The top talks that marked your spirit?

While none of the talks I attended were bad by any means, the keynotes from Allson Gianotto and Larry Garfield were my favorites.

>> The #1 Talk that really went beyond, and why?

I think it really was Larry Garfield’s keynote about the changes in Drupal. There’s always the idea that really bad codebases cannot be refactored into something better, and the Drupal community is showing that it can be done. Larry is a great speaker and really conveys how much the Drupal Community wants to get in line with more modern practices, and clean up much of the technical debt they’ve incurred over the years.

>> Anyone you’ve chat with and who have made a high impression?

I spoke with many different people at the conference, and each conversation had it’s merits. I don’t think I could pick just one.

>> What did you take home from #lsp14 – the ideas, lessons and take-aways that you would like to share..

First and foremost, at these regional-ish conferences you always take home the feel that the community is the best part of PHP. We don’t live in a bubble and we need to talk to each other to learn and grow. Ben Ramsey‘s talk about working on core PHP did get me to finally bug Liz Smith about a mentorship on C and internals, and Jeremy Mikola’s talk on developing beautiful software has gotten me to use a few new tools.

>> You’ve also been speaking, tell us about it, how it was, the reaction of your audience..etc?

Even though I’ve been speaking at conferences since 2012, speaking is always the best and worst thing in the world. I’ve always got a lot of anticipation and worry leading up a talk, and then coming back down from the actual talk. I encourage anyone to try it at least once, if not at a conference at least at your local user group. My talk was on some system administration tips for PHP devs, and the crowd seemed to enjoy it. The comments on Joind.in were encouraging and the talks I had afterward were as well. I look forward to giving the talk again soon.

>> Were you satisfied with your talk, if no what would you like to improve on for next time?

Honestly, I’m not usually satisfied with any of my talks. This is not because I don’t like the topic or felt it was sloppy, but after every talk I have a list of things I want to change. I’m proud of my talks, but like my code there is always room for change. This talk changed from the last time I gave it at Zendcon, and it will change a bit the next time I give it.

>> Will you be speaking again there next year?

That’s up to the organizers 😛 I will definitely be submitting again, Lone Star was perhaps one of the best conferences I’ve been to. I’m really enjoying going to these smaller regional conferences, in addition to the ‘bigger’ ones like php[tek] and Zendcon.

>> How was this conference different from other conference you’ve attended?
>> Aspects where you feel this conference went ‘A-class above’?
>> Any improvements you would recommend to them?
>> Any other “behind the scene” things you would like to share with us?

Lone Star wasn’t terribly different than the other regional conferences I’ve been to, like Midwest PHP last year and Sunshine PHP earlier this year. These conferences excel in bringing people together, especially people that might not be able to make it to the conferences further away. In fact, there is very little I would change unless the conference gets bigger, but the amount of talks with the length of two days is a good size.

Lone Star went above-and-beyond with the food. I’d love it if the other conferences offered barbecue on par with what Lone Star offered.

Other than the speaker’s dinner (which, again, how can you go wrong with pounds and pounds of barbecue?!) there’s really not a behind the scenes. PHP conferences in general do a great job of getting speakers to mix with the attendees. The only difference between us and the people that attended was that we had to get up on stage and speak.

>> Last but not the least, if you want to add more things to share with us, feel free to do it here..

The only thing I would add is that if you have a chance to go to a PHP conference, do it! If you can’t make it to php[tek] or Zendcon, find a regional one. The last few years have seen a bunch of them pop up. Get involved in the community locally, as well as globally, by attending user groups, conferences, and hanging out online in IRC. The PHP community is a community that I’m proud to be a part of.

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