Why should I go to Rails Camp?

Hi Folks,

I’ve attended a few camps and absolutely love them.

I live in the UK now. I went to Rails Camp Scotland last year. It’s smaller and less well known here.

A question that came up a few times was: "How can I convince my employer that Rails Camp is worthwhile?"
It’s a barrier that didn’t seem to exist as much in Australia because it’s so well known.

I have a 5 minute slot to talk about Rails Camp at a conference. I’d like to crowdsource some answers to help me prepare.

So, As an employee, employer, rails camper, what is your most compelling reason or example that Rails Camp is worthwhile?

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I’d say that Ruby is all about opensource; opensource is all about community; and you can’t get better than Railscamp for knowing your community.

If that doesn’t work, throw some ideas that it’s the best place to hire great people.

I haven’t heard a good description about Railscamp myself. Usually it’s I can’t describe it, you just have to go there and see yourself. So i’m keen to see what other people have to say about it.

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RailsCamp is what you make of it. You can spend the entire time hacking, by yourself or with someone else; you can spend the whole time socialising and hanging out with your friends; or you can spend it meeting people you’ve only previously known by reputation or by username. All of these things make for happier developers, in my experience.

There’s also learning the fine art of deception via Werewolf, which is one of my favourite aspects :wink:

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Thanks Anton and Toby.

The video of the talk I was preparing for is online here:


Some more thoughts:

So far every camp I’ve been to has paid for itself in different ways:

  • Friends.

  • Inspiration. I saw people making things for fun. At the next camp I tried making something similar. Random ideas came easily and creativity spiked in such a freeing environment. That kicked of a string of other fun little projects that have also been the catalyst for talks.

  • Confidence. Rails Camp shrunk the gap in my mind between me and my kind-of-dev-I-could-never-be-image when I worked, rested and played side by side with excellent people. I got up and showed what I made. This gave me the confidence to go a little further and do the same at a conference. And that experience has cascaded too.

These are direct benefits to me but indirect benefits to my employer.

It was difficult to identify these before the Rails Camps but I see them now when looking back. I think that’s why RC is hard to pitch ahead of time.

If I were paid my hourly rate to level up in the same way—I wouldn’t be able to do it in-budget and on my own for what it costs to go to Rails Camp.