StartFEST 2015 was awesome

Not only are the mountains of Utah great, and the people the friendliest, Provo has some things going for it when it comes to technology.

Last week I got back to RethinkDB HQ in Mountain View from attending StartFEST 2015 hosted by BeehiveStartups over in Provo, UT. RethinkDB was kindly offered an opportunity to do a small workshop in the developer track of the festival, and being always eager to get out in the world, I packed my bags for Utah.

There were two things that stuck out at me about StartFEST. One being that all the venues are on Center Street in downtown Provo, and it was amazing to walk outside and see the Wasatch Range wrap the skyline. This view was atypical of the usual looming conference venue and it felt great to be outside so much for a conference. The other thing was that bumping into other attendees on the sidewalk always resulted in a great and friendly conversation. The conference zeitgeist was just open and friendly. Sitting down to eat was a lot of fun as everyone was willing to share what they were working on and it felt like a very collaborative and constructive atmosphere. I got to hear about all sorts of cool projects like 401k plans for millenials, carbon fiber guitars, and supporting content creators online for just pennies.

When it came time for my workshop, I had a great interactive session with people familiar and not familiar with RethinkDB. I demonstrated our web UI and changefeeds but even for those who had heard of us, I got to show some of RethinkDB’s new failover features from our 2.1 release. Using the new features on the Web UI is a great way to show how replication and sharding works in realtime.

Not knowing what to expect, my first visit to the Beehive State was very warm in welcome. From getting directions to the FrontRunner, to @gabegundy making sure I was all set to my workshop, and all the great interactions I had with participants at StartFEST. If there’s one takeaway I have from my trip, it’s that I definitely look forward to coming back again.

Also congrats to Purpose Portfolio for winning runner-up and to SimpleCitizen for winning both People’s Choice and the grand prize! These are both really exciting projects that bridge the gap between social innovation and technology and I wish them all the best.