This year was the first time that I attended the SoCraTes Conference. My expectations were high as I heard a lot about it from colleagues or people I know from other conferences or Twitter. I was told that once you’ve been there, you want to come back again and again. And what can I say – I see why people like SoCraTes.
The SoCraTes Conference is basically an unconference/open space. You meet in the morning, people present topics they would like to talk about. They write the session names on a post it and pin it on a huge board, which will be the schedule for the day. Those sessions don’t have to be presentations, you can even propose a session if you didn’t prepare anything in advance. So there are formats like presentations, discussions, guided conversations, hands-on sessions and many more. What differentiates SoCraTes from other barcamps is the location and the program apart from the sessions during the day.
As the event is in a congress hotel, you not only attend the conference for the daytime, but you also stay there for the night. This means that in the evening, when the regular sessions are over, there are some more activities planned. Like sessions, katas, tastings, board games, conversations, etc.
On the first evening there is a World Café, so that you get to know first people. Afterwards you can join some katas, talk to other people, play board games or social deduction games. When you are tired, you can just go over to your room and rest. In the morning people meet for morning runs, katas, meditation or breakfast. Afterwards the session planning takes place and is followed by a day of sessions, only interrupted by a lunch break. In the evening you have another session planning for the evening and evening activities. The next day basically is the same. The conference itself ends on saturday evening. You also have the possibility to stay until sunday evening to join some workshops.
I really liked the openness of the SoCraTes organizers and attendees and the diversity of people that were there. It was an amazing experience to not only attend sessions, but also to do something together with other attendees in the evening. I, for example, got to know some really cool board games. Three of them were Deception, Star Realms and Ricochet Robots. But I also got the chance to play Avalon and Codenames Pictures.
I attended some very interesting sessions on the first day of SoCraTes 2018 (friday, I had to leave a little early and didn’t attend any sessions on saturday). You can have a look at my sketchnotes of them to get an idea of what they were about:
Corporate Learning Environment
How Does Your Team Reach A Shared Standard For Quality
The Human Side Of Software
As you see, there was a huge variety of topics for the sessions. There were not only sessions about programming languages, frameworks, tools or strategies, but also some about people and communication.
I really enjoyed my time at SoCraTes 2018 and I would love to hear more about your experience.