Ever visit an event on your own and tried to blend in with the wall, sweaty hands wrapped tightly around your cell phone, internal debating if you just should take a run for the door? Simultaneously hoping to meet new people and dreading someone could talk to you… Well, that’s me!

Let’s start at the beginning

Hi there! I’m Mirjam. I’m a self taught programmer, working as a Frontend Engineer since 2 years. I love to get to know other people in a similar field and learn from them – by hearing about their experience, talking about different approaches to problems and discussing about the best way to write tests.

The thing is: I’m an introvert type of person and I can be really socially awkward at times, so I’m stressed even thinking about talking to new people. Also, I don’t feel comfortable in unknown and new situations on my own. Happily I was always able to find friends to accompany me to user groups. Conferences were a different matter though. I struggled for quite some time with this problem before I realised: I couldn’t be the only one, right?

Conference Buddy

An idea was born! I wanted to create something to help solve my own problem. I wanted to be able to find a “Conference Buddy”. Someone who goes to a conference with me, is a moral support and lets me hide behind them for a bit if needed.

Against my first impulse, I tried not do plan anything further. Inspired by modern product development frameworks like Lean Startup or how Spotify builds products I wanted to take one step at a time.

I built a simple website where I described in a few words what problem Conference Buddy wanted to solve. I added a sign up for a mailing list, created a twitter account and shared my idea with the world. I wanted to see: Are there people like me where Conference Buddy could be of use? Is there a need beside my own?

And on May, 11th, I launched the website and tweeted about it.

Community Love

The feedback was quite overwhelming. It seemed to hit a nerve in the community. Amazingly, this mere idea evolved and within days. People began to send tweets, offering to be and looking for a Conference Buddy. The first successes were made simply over a few tweets.

Just like this, all ideas of next steps I already had thought of were obsolete. Luckily I hadn’t start building anything. There was no need to build a database of names, events and locations and match things artificial. The community was already taking care of that. For the start, Conference Buddy just needed to provide a place where people can find each other easily and get ideas which conferences to visit.

2018 was a crazy year

Conference Buddy started as an idea only 7 months ago and now people have met each other thanks to it. It’s an ongoing project supported by a growing amount of great people and I’m so curious to see where 2019 will take us!

The best thing is: It helps bringing great communities together to support each other while it’s language-agnostic. Front- or Backend? Doesn’t matter. It doesn’t care what framework you use. The communities that adopted Conference Buddy to be more inclusive are colorful and diverse. That’s what I love most about it!