For whatever reason, maybe it’s the “chaos” in the name, I have always wanted to attend the Chaos Communications Congress in Germany. When I heard of the chance of attending this year, I jumped at it and was fortunate enough to earn a stamp of approval to go. For those unaware, the conference starts on right after Christmas and ends right before New Years, so traveling and organizing a schedule can be somewhat problematic. After a couple delays and a few taxi rides, I made it to the location in Hamburg, Germany and despite there being a slight chill in the air, I was happy to bundle up and walk around.
Overall, I was impressed with the conference and not just the facility, but the speakers, organization and humility of those attending and hosting the conference. The reoccurring themes for the talks were mainly centered around policy, governance, privacy and ethics which is not my usual cup of tea when it comes to conference material. Mixed into all of those subjects were the more technical talks and project introductions. Despite not having an extreme interest in some of the talk subjects, I found myself enjoying them because the speakers themselves were very well prepared and passionate. Unlike some speakers who fumble around on stage, forgetting why they are there and acting like an idiot, every single person at CCC walked up with a purpose and completely delivered.
The hosts at CCC also managed to take lightning talks to a completely new level. Instead of treating them as an after thought or something to fill the time in between events, they were moved to their own fairly large room and ran the entire duration of the conference. I am not talking 20 minutes of talks, but instead 5-7 hours of them with each being 5 minutes a piece. More often than not, I found myself sticking around the entire time listening to each talk and making notes of new projects I hadn’t heard of. After seeing the large turnout and good reception of each new idea, I submitted a talk myself and rattled away for 5 minutes.
Now having attended the conference I have been interested in for many years, I guess the main question is whether or not I would come back. I believe that I would, but not without doing more research into the subjects that take center-stage here. When I come to these sort of events, I want to be part of the bigger picture and if it’s one thing I though I lacked, it was a clear idea as to why focus was placed on details I would normally look over. The turn out for the conference was excellent and as mentioned above, it was extremely well organized. Videos from the talks are already online, so feel free to check them out at here.