Going to a conference has changed my life

JSConfI was fortunate to be able to attend JSConf EU in 2011. This turned out to be a life altering event. Going there I expected to see some nice talks and get drunk in the awesome city of Berlin. While I did both of those things, what happened in the can going to Berlin airport was not expected. I got on board to organise a JSconf-style conference in Oslo: The Web Rebels Conference. Four  conferences later we are now planning our 5th(!) and we got an email from Jan L which made me reflect on how attending and hosting a JSConf event has affected me and my life. In short: it has made me a better person.

This is not some emotional statement based on nostalgia or wanting to suck up to the people in the community. It’s the truth and here’s how I became a better person.
I was there when Chris Williams gave his incredible talk An End To Negativity at JSConf EU 2011. Attending the talk and repeating the phrase: “What would I do if I knew, I could not fail?” changed something in me. Coming home from Berlin and seeing my kid I totally got what Chris was talking about in his talk. Since that day I became much braver and took on challenges I’d otherwise give a pass. It helped shape the coming years of my professional career.

Chris has helped create the JavaScript community. This welcoming and positive community has changed me in so many ways. Thanks to the members in our community I have become more aware of social justice challenges in our industry. How privilege plays a role and how the whole idea of meritocracy is problematic. I used to give talks saying “If you’re not doing what you love, it’s because you lack passion or you’re lazy”. Luckily I know better now and this is thanks to the amazing people in the community ignited by Chris and JSConf. Being apart of this community is so important that I’ve passed on job opportunities with large pay raises because I want to be connected with the JS community.

Chris, you’ve made a huge difference in my life and I wish you and your family all the best. Now it’s up to the rest of us to follow your lead.

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