JSDayIE: Irelands first single day JavaScript conference

JSDayIE: Irelands first single day JavaScript conference

Remo H Jansen the organiser of JSDayIE


Thu, 28 Sep 2019 04:20:54 GMT


Guest: Remo H Jansen organiser of JSDayIe joins us to discuss open-source contribution, writing a technical book, starting a meetup, and ultimately starting a conference.

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Remo H Jansen the organiser of JSDayIE


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Dave: Calling all JavaScript developers and people interested in starting a conference. Today’s guest is Remo Jansen, he is organizing the JSDayIE conference, which is a one day conference here in Dublin. That will happen on the 20th of September. That’s 2019. So less than a month away.

If you’re a JavaScript developer, it’s probably a good place for you to be his goal was to make a conference that was more like a longer, more involved meetup than a typical large conference. And I think it’s a great idea. Sometimes the conferences that get too big, can feel overwhelming, at least for me. So I think this will be a really good event. This was a good episode to hear what it’s like starting that up, and then hear more about what the event will be like. Listeners, if you check the show notes, you will see the discount code. The discount code is CTODA. So that’s just for us. The link is in the show notes, along with all the other links to the conference page and social media resources. Enjoy, and maybe I’ll see you there.

Music Intro

Dave: Hello, and welcome to the podcast. I’m your host Dave home. In this show, I talk about technology, building a company as a CTO and co-founder and have guests to discuss their roles in technology and entrepreneurship.

Today we’re joined by Remo Jansen, web developer, Microsoft MVP, open-source contributor, entrepreneur, and the organizer of the JSDayIE 2019, the first JavaScript conference in Ireland. Thanks for joining us Remo.

Remo: Thank you.

Dave: So can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Remo: Yeah, so I’m 30 years old. I’m originally from Spain. Well, I’ve been living in Ireland now for almost 10 years. And I’ve been kind of really involved with community stuff in the last few years like meetups now the conference. And yeah, I’m now a developer. I work at the moment with react, ice cave and JavaScript and I’m a very big fan of TypeScript.

Dave: Cool. Is that the open-source that you’ve contributed to? Or is there a different one?

Remo: So I have contributed to the script because TypeScript has, there’s there are many different ways to receive a script. So one of them will be done through the compiler. I haven’t done that too much, just one time just to say I did it. But I’ve been contributing to mostly likes when you have a JavaScript library. They are by default, they don’t have TypeScript support. So you have to write the interface of the types of the JavaScript library because JavaScript is not typesafe. So I did that a lot - contribute to the types. And then I also did some smaller libraries that I release but that’s mostly where they belong. Yeah.

Dave: Yeah. Nice. No, that’s, that’s really an interesting entrance path into contributing to something like typescript. That’s very valuable. And also, even though it’s not sexy, it’s going to give you so much of an understanding of so many different.

Remo: This is a very good way to learn. Is now maybe a little bit more difficult because at the beginning there was, for example, maybe there’s no type allowed for some library. So you contribute like the version one, or maybe the version one wasn’t perfect, but it was okay. `But now it’s more difficult because now the types are very advanced like they’re very mature. So contributing now maybe requires more expertise than before. But it was a very good way to, to a better start this.

Dave: What drew you to TypeScript?

Remo: So, I think it’s my background. So I originally I was in college, I was like a Java and c++ developer. But then when I first came to Ireland, I started the world with visual basic, actually.

Dave: Visual Basic.

Remo: Yeah. And then I moved to see C Sharp. And I kind of stick with Microsoft and knowledge level for a little while. And I really like that was the thing I liked the most on Microsoft and all these other time was the tools, which was to you, for me was a very good tool. Yeah. And then I eventually because business needs I end up doing some JavaScript because you know, websites were becoming more like client-side oriented, and somebody had to leave them. I was kind of like the only one in the dim nearly without JavaScript because everybody else was kind of like more focused on bargain. So just because I knew a little bit more was later so do either one. But then I love doing the entire website front end Wesley so I got more and more into Javascript and I really enjoy it was I found JavaScript we are very weird language because I hate it and loving it simultaneously.

Dave: Don’t we all? Yeah, anybody who loves it also hates it at least parts of it yeah.

Remo: There was a lot of other things while also when I wrote it I’ve I feel like I can do a lot of things in many different ways and have like a lot of freedom. So I like that about the language. But at the same time, I found it very messy so I found like I knew there was some architecture kind of organization in place like so I started to use require ES because there was like normal use at the beginning so everything was like low it was like a mess. And then from there I moved to use minimizers then eventually writing a test also from Javascript other than we used to kind of care a lot of other ball game and not so much all the time. Now I think it’s the same level of quality in both sides. But other than it wasn’t later. So eventually, I was looking for ways to do JavaScript better. And I that drove me to coffee-script. I thought I’d write a coffee-script for over a year. And it did have some things well, like, for example, this operator, the loose context, that one was very solid by coffee-script. Because he will he had arrow functions basically which now are part of JavaScript, but they were not there.

But then Microsoft announced to Typescript and the moment I saw that was like, I have to try Typescript because it was from elsewhere, which is the creator of C Sharp. And I was a big fan of C Sharp. So I was I okay. I have no problem trying that, and then is basically have a lot of good things in my opinion to JavaScript. There was a lot of people at the time, nobody happy about it because I think Microsoft had a very bad reputation a few years ago. And in particular, in the web, the community was truly the worst. So at the time everybody was like, doesn’t want to go anywhere. That’s not good. But I was like yeah I choose it because who else comes first.

Dave: It has gained quite a lot of momentum. We’ve, I say recently, but I guess it was in the last three months or so started well, we’ve almost completed the first version of what will be released of our web application. So we started with native iOS and native Android. Our web app is built on view JS. We did use TypeScript at a very scaled-back level. So pretty much the only things we’re using it for is for code hinting, which integrates really nicely with VSCode and that’s really nice, though it is.

Remo: So you were writing not TypeScript files, you’re writing JavaScript files.

Dave: About half and half. So like we have declarative files with that are TypeScript. But then a number of them are just like Java JavaScript files, but where we can understand through the code hunting, what those methods are, and what those functions are, that the amount of time that that’s actually saved us has been super valuable. I’m irritated that haven’t found a good way to continue to use VIM instead of VScode. But I’m getting used to

Remo: I actually don’t know how to use VIM. But that is a flowing was quite popular for VScode to make it behave like VIM.

Dave: Those never work the same. But I mean at for the majority of the people who are like me and ridiculous, I come back I come from a time before windows, the windows. I came from the DOS 6 actually it was DOS 5 was one of the first ones that I used. I was using Linux and in 96, maybe 97 depending on when you can say that I really started using it. VIM, terminal It’s where I want to be. I want to be as close to the terminal as possible, but I’m getting used to being as code and it’s a good experience and we are using Azure serverless functions, and to be able to deploy that directly from your editor while you’re testing things. I have to say that’s pretty nice.

Remo: So many fast development cycles.

Dave: So what got you interested in starting the JSDay?

Remo: So, basically, it’s a long process. So I, I started with iScript, and then after, maybe one year, so when I feel confident with it, I basically update my profile on LinkedIn. And I, you know, the way you’re gonna have the skills, so I had Typescript. And believe it or not, that led to me writing a book.

Dave: What was the name of the book?

Remo: Learning Typescript. So I asked after I had the scale, I was contacted by somebody random from the Internet, and it was basically from Packt Publishing. Sorry, Packt publishing.

Dave: Packt publishing.

Remo: They’re from Brighton I think in the UK. So they want me to review a book, which was called master typescript. And it was basically just to review the book and give them feedback about if it was good enough or not. And the opportunity came because they were trying to find somebody with typescript experience and at the time as I say, it was not very popular at the very beginning. So now it was explained very briefly. So when they search probably for typescript I assumed I came out there in the results. So that’s how they found me basically. I was very lucky. And then after reviewing the book, they like my feedback so they say how about you write the next one?

So they offer me the right learning typescript one. And then that led me to start a typescript meetup in Dublin. Because before the book, maybe it’s stupid but I kind of feel like to do fully speaking I used to think that you needed to have somebody high level of skills. And I was like no, nobody’s going to listen to me like there’s no point. But then after I published the book that kind of gave me some confidence, I was like maybe I can share something you know. So I started the meetup because of that. And then eventually I tried just to try to help my meetup to grow I kind of partnership with other meetups, so I partnership with JavaScript Dublin. With React Dublin. Sometimes we need a couple of events that were kind of like mix you know. Eventually, I got to meet almost the entire community of Javascript in Dublin.

And after that, I realized that there was, first of all, the community is huge is very big. And second that there was no, there are conferences, but there are enough for developers. I think libraries, inspire Fest, there is UXDX. But they are kind of more for product people than from for developers. You know. There is now one that is shipitcon. That one is for developers, but it’s more like developers, you know. So I think there’s not really a web development conference in Dublin. I don’t think there’s such a thing. Because even before we have the Web Summit, but l was either for a developer that was for startup people like.

Dave: Yeah, but back when the web summit was here, there was actually a code track but it was one day out of three days, which I just thought was ridiculous.

Remo: But I went. I went to one of them. And I didn’t feel like it was busy. Nobody was showing an ADE or anything. Like, this is not going further for developers. So I’ve been there, there was opportunity for that. And I will if there was such a thing, I will go. So I was thinking maybe there’s more people in the amazing things to say, you know. So they will go as well. And now that is happening, I think it’s very good because it’s very good in many different ways. So obviously, this year is the first time so we’re not going to add now are the crazy famous or anything like that. But we will have somebody who the speakers and some of them are traveling from the States, from France. from the Netherlands, you know, so it’s new faces here Dublin that we do not know, you know. So we’re going to learn from new people. And then also we have some speakers are based in Ireland. So and it’s going to be the for most of the thing is going to be the very first time talking. So it’s very good for the community because the ones who are here and belong to the community will grow. Also, the way we learn from other people from other communities, so I think there’s gonna be a valuable thing.

Dave: Yeah, very cool. That’s where you were saying that you didn’t have the confidence until writing the book. And I’m sure that’s a very important thing, because from everything I’ve heard and learned that when you start meetup community, you better be prepared to give presentations a lot because it’s hard to find speakers.

Remo: Yeah, I actually the only way I found to keep the meetup alive is to a lot of times I talk to myself. Because it’s very hard to find the speakers and if you don’t do it for too long, it kind of like you know

Dave: Well, a lot of that is because so many of us just don’t feel like we have the most important thing to say. But if you look at what’s actually presented, they’re all usually very interesting and, and relevant. But it’s not like they’re the deepest levels of the most complicated thing you’ve ever seen. You know, it’s not somebody tracing, CPU interrupts, it’s, I found this thing, I use this thing. This is a nice way that we do it. And it works for us.

Remo: Most, most of the thing is an introduction to something. So it’s like this, this new library, this is how you use it. So it’s like the basic entry-level tutorial you know, what you have to show us now

Dave: Or even what’s what I find to be one of the best is when it’s just one step beyond that because there are you’ll find the Hello World of everything, the very first steps. And then question mark, question mark, question mark, here’s the most complicated thing you could possibly imagine. Okay, how do I get from A all the way over to Zed? Can somebody talk to me about BCD? And those are where I find the really sweet spots of our talks. And it doesn’t matter the experience level of a person, I almost always get something out of it. So I’d say all you out there listening, they’ve been putting off giving your first talk, stop it, just do it. Just do it.

Remo: Yeah, I totally agree with that, like, it was the way I used to think but it was stupid of me to think that way. I should have done it already and that’s it.

Dave: I know. I know. I’ve just been too busy lately to actually write the one that I was planning to try to find this home for. So I’ve got a few things that I really enjoy the way we’ve done them and I want to talk to people like me about them. But I haven’t had time because we’ve been so busy. And you know, I do this in my spare time, air quotes. Did starting the meetup, did that really teach you a lot of things that you’re thankful for while trying to create the conference?

Remo: Yeah, so my communication skills have improved drastically like over the last couple of years because I actually have because they are uploaded to Youtube right so you can see like my very first few thoughts on now, and I’m obviously not a professional speaker, but I have improved a lot. And I think I will continue to improve the size and other skills are very important because it’s something that you cannot really learn by going to a school or reading a book. Just have to get yourself in a stage and talk. So it’s basically something that you’re going to learn by reading a book or going to some school or something. So you have to practice. That’s the only way.

And I find that even if you practice you, it’s like any other skill you’re gonna have to keep challenging. So for example, if you do a small meetup, that’s your first step. But then you go maybe to live, he gets me that, you know, and then the next step is like, try to apply to speak in a conference or something. And it gets scarier as you go. But I have to say that the first time I speak in a conference, I was freaking out, I was really nervous. But I finally was, once I was in the stage, it was not scary at all, because normally they have strong lights so you actually don’t see anybody so eventually, you’re talking alone.

Dave: What conference was that?

Remo: In Madrid, it’s was some A thing I think was the one. It’s a new one. So they have done all iterations, Dot net 2018 so.

Dave: Cool. What’s been the hardest, hardest part of getting the conference setup?

Remo: So the biggest problem I had was unexpected logistics in relation with setting up our business in Ireland basically my biggest problem was the bad registration. So I was expecting to sell tickets six months before the event, but I was not able to until I had the registration.

Dave: Of course I never, I never would have even thought of that.

Remo: So I felt that the registration was needed. But I thought that was something that held me down in a month or so while took like four months.

Dave: Who wants businesses to succeed?

Remo: So I only started selling tickets like at the end of June so it’s been stressful because, to be honest, the first couple of weeks I was like, I don’t know if I want to sell enough tickets to colleagues or not like I’m panicking now. Now I think we’re going to leave because we have right now 265 people confirmed.

Dave: Wow.

Remo: So a hundred of those are guests from the sponsors of this event but if we give setting a strong for the next two or three weeks we call rate 350 or something like that so we will sell a number for the first time.

Dave: I knew only announced that when we met at that meetup. What was it three or four months ago?

Remo: More I think so. That’s the thing when I announced it was like, just after Christmas. I was hoping to sell tickets not so long after that. That wasn’t the case.

Dave: That’s crazy! That’s it that’s really impressive that so many tickets have already been sold even though some for guests.

Remo: Yeah and announcing the speakers also do quite a little time because confirming everyone you know getting I would like it was way more difficult I thought well.

Dave: Are you still looking for speakers or there’s a lot

Remo: That’s close now. We will be looking. So my hope is that there is going to be addition too next year. So we will be looking early, probably in January, February, March, we will be looking for speakers for like two or three months. And then we will select and announce addition too.

Dave: How many tickets is the cap? What’re the most that you’ll?

Remo: So the most that we can sell this 350 that’s the maximum.

Dave: So there’s only about 100 left.

Remo: Yeah.

Dave: All right now you heard that. What’s the date of it?

Remo: It’s the 20th of September of 2019.

Dave: So 20th of September, okay. We’re less than a month away.

Remo: Yes. 24 days I think from today.

Dave: Okay, all right. 20th of September. Where is it located?

Remo: So it’s in Dublin City Center in Dawson Street. The venue is called amongst The Round Room at the Mansion House.

Dave: The Mansion House. Yeah. I have been there before.

Remo: So we, I took a risk I could have gone to some hotel and the zoom almost the same thing, but I didn’t want that I basically what I wanted was when I thought about this, I was like, I want a conference like ones that I have gone in other countries like that they’re very cool experience like with very cool venue. For example, that iscript conference in Seattle. It was very smart. It was like 200 people but it was very cool venue and then after the held a party and it was really cool because it’s only one day while you get to meet other person like for example if you want to speak with a speaker, you will be able to do so because it’s not like 5000 people want to speak with a speaker is like maybe 200 maximum you know so you will probably be able to talk with the speakers if you want in person. So I wanted something like that. I wanted like a conference that was bigger than a meetup or if you think about it in terms of number of people it’s not much bigger than some meetups but it is going to be bigger than meetup in terms of the setup, right like like the venue is better, you have breakfast, coffee breaks, you have lunch, and then we have a party after so it’s going to be bigger than a meetup in terms of a setup, but not really in terms of people I think. So that’s kind of what I was aiming for. I was aiming for Southern love feels like a meetup. It still feels like is the community.

Dave: Yeah, no, I really like that. That’s, I’ve been to some that were just so big that you spend the whole time anxious. That is the talk track that I’m in now the right one for me, or am I missing a thing, or you’ll have three sessions where you don’t mind so much when you go to, and then there’ll be a track or a time of day. And I want to be at all three of these and I can’t be at one so yeah, I like that. So there’s just just one track?

Remo: Just one track. Also, this was the same way I was being inspired by that iscript one day. And also I know the guy we’re on IS is the CEO of Siphen he’s called the Dylan Siphen. Siphen is a conference of the, so is a company a little like consultancy with technologies like Angular, React. And they’re very involved in events on open source. So they’re kind of known for that. They participate in a lot of events. So that’s, that’s why people will hear about them. So here when I saw one and I asked him some questions when I need help because I have no slack so and I think the little things right like for example, the way they have the venue so small that the stage and the kind of area where you have the breaks, is this the same room. So that makes the whole talking way more. I don’t know you can get more interaction with people because it’s not like people is moving around the place going from one room to another and things like that. So for example, when the speaker finish he is basically in the same room where you’re having a coffee, so

Dave: Nice, what other than getting the vat registered? The ongoing challenges? What’s the biggest kind of challenge you have at the moment?

Remo: The biggest challenge once all the main logistics have been solved is I think there is an interest. And I, I think we are selling very well. But the problem is that people is not aware of the event you know, I think once they hear about the event, the chances of being interested are very high. But it’s very hard to make people aware of the event. So I give you an example. The JavaScript meetup send one email, only one email, and we sold like 50 tickets. So if you get people to hear about it, they will pay for them, but the problem is how you get people to hear about it. And even I’m very surprised that we’re getting quite a lot of people not coming to the event done and it’s just one day event and they’re coming from different countries. So they’re willing to take a flight for just one day. I wasn’t expecting that. I was expecting 99% of the people were based in Ireland. So I think there is interest in them and the rolling is get people to find out about it. So I’ve been trying to do it through social network. So we have a Twitter account, LinkedIn an account, but obviously, these accounts are new, so they have nearly enough followers. So it’s going to take a while before they work. Yeah. So they’re working but very slowly.

Dave: What’s the price of the ticket?

Remo: So we started with 95 euros, I believe. But basic, let me double-check. So the sub super early bird was a 95 euros, then early bird is 145EU and regular is 195EU.

Dave: And when is the regular?

Remo: And we are about to run out of our early birds right now. So regular will be like in next week, the last three weeks is going to be mostly right.

Dave: So by the time this is posted.

Remo: By, no the way it works is we have been capped by number of tickets not by dates.

Dave: I got you. Okay. All right. So you better hurry up I’m, I can probably fast track the episode and get it out faster than Tuesday. I might be able to get it out in the morning, depending on how the audio goes and how much editing it needs.

Remo: Yeah. That would be very helpful so, thank you.

Dave: I’ll post tomorrow, so that we can get as many people to hear this as possible.

Remo: So that’s another thing I try. So I know that 195 euro is quite a lot of money. But at least, there was an opportunity to get it for 95EU, which I think is very reasonable. So if somebody really has a lot of interest in going, there was an opportunity a few weeks ago to get one ticket for 95EU. For 195 I think it’s going to be more like companies probably paying for the employers you know. But even like that, still is way more reasonable than other conference out there, like, other conferences are like 400 or 500 1 day.

Dave: Do you have any multiple ticket discounts?

Remo: We don’t have like automate stuff like that in the site. But if you contact via email, we have like a contact section with an email. So if a company is interested in buying more than three, four tickets, we can do something for sure.

Dave: Yeah, excellent.So bring your whole team. Okay, cool. What else is there that’s interesting about starting a conference that most people wouldn’t know.

Remo: Let me think about this. I think well, you can maybe guess it but maybe you don’t guess the extent of it, but you’re going to need quite a lot of money up front before the event actually even start selling tickets. Because you have to pay deposits, for venues and for food and for everything. And we’re talking about 450 people, so the deposits are large. So you’re going to need like 20,000 euros upfront, just to book things. So basically, I I was able to do this because I decided to start a company and I was saving it for a long time before I didn’t know that. But if I just say, Oh, I’m going to do a conference. I think I could have run in trouble actually if I did that.

Dave: But hopefully, they’ll be enough from this year’s to make it for next year’s.

Remo: The hope is that if we do any profits from this, that profit will be we straight away for the next installation basically that’s why I hope

Dave: Do you already have the ability to sign up for a mailing list on the site so that they can learn about

Remo: We have a newsletter. Yeah. So we try to I think we have only sent two or three only when the tickets went on sale, and only when we’ve sold out the super early bird because I want to be like a spamming list.

Dave: Yeah, no, not at all. No, I just meant for those people who may have caught this episode after their window of opportunity to attend. So whether the prices has gotten out of reach for them or the date is already bought for next year.

Remo: Another thing is, if I think is value in going, especially if you’re based in Dublin, because you’re going to meet a lot of people who is part of a community. So the cool thing about that is I view if you meet somebody and you have an interest saying something like react or something, you can probably meet them again, right? Because they’re in your country in your city. So you will be able to maybe you meet them in the conference, but then maybe they they become your friends or something. So that’s the reason why I think it’s valuable to maybe pay for the ticket. But if you’re not interested in paying money, you will be able to watch it online after the event.

Dave: That’s gonna be my next question.

Remo: It’s going to take probably a month for us to process all the videos and everything. So in terms of learning from the content, you will be able to do that no matter what. But the value is not just that the value is to interact with the people because let’s say that you, you watch and you do and you really like the content. But in the conference, you will be able to ask questions, speakers after so

Dave: And discuss it with people while it’s fresh, as opposed to I watched it last night, and I’m trying to remember that thing that I wanted to tell someone about. And they haven’t seen it. So I first have to explain it and then my perspective is skewing it. So yeah, it’s always better when you can actually be there. Okay, well, I’ve kind of asked everything I can think of that. I think would be interesting. Is there anything that I’ve missed, that you think would be valuable to hear?

Remo: No, I think that’s all. If what I would like to do is if somebody is part of the community I will live into us then to help us to spread the word about event because if we have a successful event, we will do it every year. And I think everybody in the community will be happy about that. So basically if the event happened or not it is up to the community if we proceed this further or not.

Dave: Are you still looking for like volunteers or anything like that?

Remo: We are really on to that but I’m just waiting for the very last week or so. Basically, we’re going to need some people for help in the registration. And then during the event, I already have the people who will be looking over like the speakers and stuff like that.

Dave: And the venues taking care of the technology that the tech?

Remo: All the tech is the venue. Yeah, and the venue includes security and stuff so it should be all good.

Dave: Excellent! Okay, what’s the website?

Remo: It’s JSday.org and in twitter, we are @JSdayie

Dave: I’ll add links to all the relevant places

Remo: A lot of people make jokes because they believe that the conference is all JavaScript in Internet Explorer.

Dave: Short conference.

Remo: But it’s actually IE is Ireland the code for it. Yeah.

Dave: That’s great. Anything else that you’d like the listeners to do?

Remo: Now, that’s it. Thank you very much.

Dave: Okay, great. Well, thanks so much. Oh, so you gave the two sites. How about reaching you personally? What’s it is?

Remo: Oh, they can find me on Twitter @remohjansen and by email is [email protected]

Dave: And I’ll add those links in the show notes so you can see them nice and easy. Alright, well, thanks so much for joining us Remo and thanks for putting on the conference.

Remo: Thank you. No problem.

Dave: And thank you all for listening. Until next time remember any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.