Why we do this

On June 8th 2017, I witnessed the birth of JSHeroes. It was the first independent, community-organized tech conference in Romania. At least to my knowledge. We were a bunch of hard-working, mission driven, highly optimistic people. I still remember that two months before the event we weren’t sure we were going to have the money to pay for food and drinks.

But it turned out to be a great conference! We didn’t lose money, which was our sign of success. But also, the overwhelmingly positive feedback we received kept us going for the 2018 edition, 2019 and onwards.

As the events got bigger and broader, so did our team. What started as a 5-6 people effort is now a 20+ team of: organizers, volunteers and ambassadors. We lost track of the number of meetings, remote calls and total hours spent behind each event.

So after 7 years and 6 events, I took a deep breath and asked myself: “Why are we doing this?“. And this was a half rhetorical, half real question. So let me try to sum up what I think are the factors that drive this amazing group of people to push on.

We care about our original mission

This sounds repetitive, but the entire effort around JSHeroes really is 100% community based. There’s no company behind us. We manage everything through a non-profit org and we are very transparent about our finances.

Our mission has been to bring people together and bridge the gap between our local community and the international one. But we also wanted to put our hometown on the map, to show the whole world how amazing this community is.

One of the best feelings I get is when I meet someone at an international event and they know about JSHeroes. It’s even better when they are speakers who wish to join us one day. It is probably the best sign that we are doing the right things.

Across all these years, we didn’t steer away from our mission and we didn’t change our community focus. We didn’t turn this into a profitable business and we stayed close to the original format and to the ideas we believe in.

We really enjoy doing it

It’s not just hard work and mission-driven focus. Everyone in our team really enjoys what they are doing.

After each event, we’re all happy and sad at the same time. Happy because of the success we see after months of hard work. But sad because we know we will miss working together in the coming months.

I was part of the initial team, so everything I do as an organizer comes natural to me. However, I was plesantly surprised to see how new team members joined with 100% dedication from day 1. Everyone really clicks with what we’re collectively doing and this makes the whole process so much easier.

We work together, we have fun together and we enjoy putting all the pieces of the event together. I’m super happy to be surrounded by such an amazing crew.

We want to inspire others

One objective we always had was to share all our learnings with the broader community. We think there’s room in the world for hundreds of JSHeroes-like conferences, each with their own flavor and unique traits.

We started in 2017 on the open-source software model. All the organizing details are public by default. Everyone is welcome to run inquiries about every little aspect behind our event.

We are super proud for being an inspiration for revo.js, which started in 2019 in Timisoara. We’ve also seen the transparency report adopted by other events, which is again telling us we are doing the right things.

We’re always happy to jump on a call with other community organizers to share ideas, learnings and other useful tips.

In the end, I know everyone has their own “why” on top of our collective one. My personal “why” probably has to do with meeting so many amazing people along the way. But the sense of accomplishment, the joy experienced at the event and the countless relationships formed are invaluable.