So about a month ago, a ran a competition to win one of five tickets to TestBashNY. Part of the deal of entering the competition was that, if you won, you would agree to write a short post/article about your day at TestBashNY.

The first of those is in! Here is Melissa Eaden talking about her TestBashNY experience. She also decided to join twitter whilst at TestBashNY, so you can now follow her testing journey here.

I could have used mind blown, or mind explosion, but really, it was a day of brain shaking presentations, of foundational changes to my testing habits and philosophy, on epic, but very personal proportions. It was like an internal nova happened in my head. I could not look away; I could not look back. I cannot continue to test as I have been testing.

Even the paragraph above doesn’t really describe what exactly happened to me on November 6th. I attended another conference for testing before TBNYC. I spent three days at that conference and walked away with one page of notes and freebies. Lots of freebies from people that were mostly trying to sell me something. I vowed to never go to another conference like that again.

My essay to Richard Bradshaw was a last ditch effort to get to this conference. When people asked about it I described the essay, in short, as a story about wanting to have Ministry of Testing’s love child and how going to TestBashNYC was absolutely like giving me an all access pass to my biggest professional/testing crush.

I am absolutely pregnant with ideas! My head was so full from the conference, from the conversations with people, from my own ideas on how to implement things I learned, I’m not even sure where to start with them.

All the presenters were wonderful! The conference format allowed for conversations with presenters that normally don’t happen at bigger conferences either because of time constraints or just from having too many people lined up to ask questions.

Everyone was there to learn something. I walked away from that conference with ten pages of notes, and no fewer than five business cards. There were so many testers and even developers there, heading the right direction and doing the right things and encouraging loud mouths like me to speak up more and do more in the community. I was never discouraged from my opinion or view, but more often than not, I was gently led in another direction, or given a viewpoint I hadn’t considered before. Or even more to my surprised, agreed with, often. I didn’t have to fight an uphill battle. It was the greatest example of culture fit happening right before my very eyes.

The biggest takeaways for me were to follow my fears or my dreams and co-create everything! Collaboration was a big theme throughout the day and into the discussions later that night. I’ve been asked to speak, write and even help with a podcast. I don’t think I would have ever been offered those opportunities at another conference.

For as long as I am testing, I will be forever a fan of Ministry of Testing and their TestBash conferences.