I will not be able to do JCrete justice in this simple post, because, for me, the event was overwhelming. The people present there were incredibly knowledgeable and I felt humbled many times during the sessions. Initially, it was hard to “just go talk to them”. Later, I got out of my comfort zone and chatted with a couple of them (Robert Scholte, Cliff Click, Heinz Kabutz, Ivan Krylov and Chris Newland, to name a few). It turns out they’re approachable and very inspiring. I’m grateful for the opportunity to interact with them and others.
My experience at JCrete
This year, I had the pleasure of being invited to arguably the best and most exclusive event around Java in the world.
JCrete is an unconference, probably the first wildly successful one around Java, ‘disorganised’ by Java specialist Heinz Kabutz along with other Java Champions. It started back in 2011 as a space for Java professionals to share experiences in a relaxed environment, under the Mediterranean sun and away from commercial circuits.
Last July I had the opportunity to make three of my life dreams come true. First was taking a hike to Verliga dragonlake in Pindos, Greece. The second was watching Justice live which happened during We Are Electric festival in Holland. The third and most relative to this blog was attending JCrete unconference.
During my 4 year professional experience as a java developer, I have been to many conferences and meetings across Greece. Voxxed Athens and Thessaloniki, JHug, DEVit. But among all those an unconference stole my heart. So… why is that?
As described on the web site:
An Open Spaces Conference on an Island in the Mediterranean Sea
But all attendees speak about it as an “unconference” in opposition as a traditional one. What is so different? No CFP, No speakers, No pre-planned agenda, Open Space Technology usage.
In practice, when you arrive to JCrete you don’t know about the subjects that will be discussed during the 4 days (Last day is a Hackaton). Even if the main topic is Java/JVM ecosystem, other subjects from “Self-awareness of introverts” to “Startup experiences” via “Spectre/Meltdown crash course” are discussed.
JCrete 2018 was my first unconference ever (Check out wikipedia to learn more about what’s an unconference). I really loved it, love the spirit, the quality of unparticipants, disorganizers who work hard for almost a year to welcome us as a family members, no sponsors, everything is crowdfunded, crowdsourced, self disorganized etc
I’ve been attending many conferences around the word but the quality of people and discussions at JCrete was really unexpected. I couldn’t miss any session or any excursions to the awesome beaches in Crete (by the way, one of the best all over the word, I went to Balos, Falassarna, Elafonissi etc) Old Town, visited oldest olive tree in the word. My experience was just awesome and I’m so lucky to get my first ever invitation to this magnificent Unconference (It was also fun to travel to that island with my lovely wife & daughter)
After years missing it, I finally went to JCrete last year for the first time. I went with my family and we had a great time. This year, I went back again but alone.
For those who never went, it is hard to describe the event. The boring way would be to say that it is a Java unconference.
But it is a really bad way to describe it.
Here is my current explanation.
Close your eyes. Imagine you can gather all the almighty experts in your field and put them in one place. Then imagine this place has multiple beaches, great (cheap!) food and good wine. That everyone is friendly and wants to help each other without judging. And that you will talk will all these experts all day, in formal classrooms and on the beach. You will gather a tremendous amount of knowledge.
This is JCrete.
This was my experience last year. This was my experience this year. It almost feels surreal.
Just came back from wonderful JCrete® 2018. This year didn’t disappoint, we had close to 110 people openly sharing ideas and knowledge on both technical and soft skills matters. Here’s a picture of the final schedule, captured by fellow Java Champion Badr Elhouari:
If you are wondering what was the schedule of @JCreteUnconf 2018! Really ? my first #JCrete & #Unconference experience brilliant people with top notch content. Thanks a lot for all the disorganizers @heinzkabutz@javaperftuning@rgransberger@aalmiray@IXSC & others ???pic.twitter.com/iHk0dxSqle
— Badr Elhouari (@badrelhouari) July 26, 2018
Every year, intrepid Java enthusiasts converge upon the island of Crete to brave questionable air carriers, the intense heat, the allure of beaches, the temptation of tropical drinks, and the astounding disorganization of the conference; all in the quest for knowledge. Here is my trip report.