Last week, I had the privilege to attend RubyConf, and it couldn’t be more fitting that I’m writing this post on Thanksgiving.

Now, I’m a week removed from California. A week past the amazing San Diego locale, the beautiful ocean air, and the 70 degree weather. So, my memory may be fuzzy, but really, I don’t want to put off writing about how you should totally attend a RubyConf in the future.

Ruby Central (and the people behind it) put on a fantastic multi-track conference. From beginner to advanced, to fringe and “not necessarily Ruby”, and more. It was quite common to have indecision about which talk to attend, and I appreciate that. Only a few slots had ones that didn’t really seem right for me, but it’s hard to say if that’s really the case, or (being day 3), whether I was just worn down.

I learned a few key things about Rubyists this year, that, well, if I had known going in, I would have been a lot less nervous. Some of these might seem like I’m joking, but I’m not. Look up #rubyconf on Twitter and scroll through the timeline - you’ll see :)

  1. Not everyone uses Ruby everyday.
  2. Friendship is Magic is a completely viable conversation starter (and, apparently, a fantastic programming language)
  3. Taylor Swift fans are widespread, and aren’t shy about it (1989 is amazing, btw)
  4. Everyone loves a good meme.

Stop and think for a minute — do you want to be part of a community that doesn’t always think their language is the best fit for the job, that also appreciates well written and intelligent television and music, as well as likes to have fun?

If someone had asked me that when I was getting started, I would of thought that every community should be like that. When they say, “We want you to be happy”, it isn’t a lead in to “…using our tool and/or language”. They mean what they say - it completely stands on it’s own.

The Ruby community wants you to be happy.

Now, when looking back on my experience, I have a few takeaways. Things I’m glad I learned, and things I hope that, if you don’t know, can help you understand this community better.

  1. The Ruby community loves you. You might not know it, but we want you to be healthy and happy. We want you to have fun. Go watch this Sandi Metz keynote from 2013 if you need any convincing.
  2. The Ruby community doesn’t always use Ruby, and that’s ok. Ruby is the common denominator that brings us together, because we enjoy being around each other and having fun together.
  3. Your local Ruby community may differ from what you experience at RubyConf, and that’s ok too. I’ve gone to a few Ruby meetups locally, and while they weren’t as welcoming as RubyConf, I can understand why.
  4. The Ruby community breeds better members because it cares about them. RubyConf wasn’t put on by a parent company — it was put on by the community.

Thank you to the everyone that made RubyConf 2014 so amazing for me - you made attending worthwhile, and I’m so glad to be a part of the community.