The conference content was great, couldn't really fault it and having it on zoom this year made a big difference.
The only 'negative' I have is the swag. I know none of us are here for the goodies, but much of whats on offer really shouldn't be advertised as swag at all. Some of it just makes you hate the company behind it given they know you wont be able to use it (Forge being the prime one there, what an awful offer that was).
- 25% off forge. Great, 25% off for 12 months - thats genuinely handy....but its likely that 95% of people in attendance are already customers, so cant use that offer at all. That feels pretty insulting, especially given how much forge has gone up (200% price increase in 2 years). Lots of us are hobbyists remember, we've not all got piles of cash to throw at lots of SaaS products. 25% off for EVERYONE for a year would've been a much better offer. Or heck, 25% for new people and maybe a small ($10 to $20) credit to existing customers.
- Larajobs, again great if you are a recruiter...but we're developers. I'm sure there are a few that have hiring power at their locations of work, but once again, not a usable offer to a big percentage of the group.
- LaraTallent. Why was this even listed as swag...you're offering it free to employers during beta, something you advertise on the site - NOT SWAG.
- $20 linode credit - a genuinely useful bit of swag.
- €10 nexmo credit - again, genuinely useful, even if it only applies to a small percentage who would make use of their services
- 50% off first eyewitness.io invoice - Very useful being able to get it for $100 for your first year, great swag that a lot of us will find useful.
- Free .CO domain - meh. I mean its a free domain...but its also possibly the worst extension they could offer. A simple $10 credit would be cheaper for them, and likely get them more custom. A very strange restriction to have in place, presumably they got a fantastic .co wholesale price.
- 20% off blackfire, great tool to have and a welcomed bit of swag
- €50 Laravel Certification discount - really wish people wouldn't push this certification thing, it's a pretty worthless certificate and really feels scammy looking at the site for it. "Give us money and we'll tell people you're great at the job you've been doing for years". A laracasts subscription has way more value than this.
- 40% off shift - a nice little bonus, very good tool and obviously very relevent to the group of people you've got attending.
- 20% off Shipping Docker - no real opinion, nice to have the discount but one that wouldn't really apply to myself but I'm sure would be handy to many who attended.
- 30% off 99 Bottles of OOP - again another one I'd not really go for personally but likely useful to many attendees.
Sorry this really wasn't meant to be any sort of rant but may come across as one. I get that the sponsors provide the swag, but I think a bit of common sense when negotiating the swag needs to be considered, so that things that really aren't relevant to the audience at all aren't being pushed with demands to praise and thank the company behind it like they're a saint.