[Yes, this is a bit late. I've been busy!]
Last month, I got the chance to speak at the first MidwestPHP in St. Paul, MN. MidwestPHP is a regional conference organized by Mike Stowe (@mikegstowe) and Jonathan Sundquist (@jsundquist) that not only brought together different local speakers but also well known speakers (and then, for some reason, me).
MidwestPHP was a two day, four track conference that covered basic PHP, responsive design, Drupal, security, general programming topics, and all sorts of other things. Considering this was the first year for the conference, Mike and Jonathan put together an impressive lineup and pulled off a great event.
Overall I had a great time, barring the part where I got stuck in St. Paul due to weather. Considering this was the first year for the conference, I thought it went pretty well. The topics were varied enough that it was actually kind of hard to pick what things to go to and I know I missed some talks that I wanted to see. That's a good and a bad thing, but with four tracks and lots of good speakers that sort of thing happens.
I also got to reconnect with other devs that I had met before, as well as new people. The hallway track was pretty good, though I do wish that there had been some after-conference events lined up. A Hackathon or something would have been nice, and with it being a regional conference a lot of people went home right after the conference was over. Most of my evening ended up being spent hanging out with other speakers at the hotel. That's not horrible, but being able to spend more time with developers I don't know is a good thing.
The venue also made things kind of difficult, but I'm sure that had to do mostly with what the school had available for use and the layout isn't something Mike or Jonathan had any control over. The rooms were usually appropriate for the talk, though I think Sara Golemon's talk should have been in the big room used for keynotes (she was in I think the largest room downstairs already, but her talk had a bunch of people listening).
Overall I was proud to take part, and really enjoyed it. I look forward to next year's event.