Blog


Jun

Nordic Ruby 2013


Earlier this month, we held the fourth edition of Nordic Ruby, the conference we organise every year. Just like last year we held it at Hasseludden Yasuragi, a beautiful Japanese-style spa in the Stockholm archipelago.

Terrace

I couldn't be happier with the way the conference turned out this year. We had some incredible talks from our fantastic speakers, and I had a wonderful time meeting old friends and making new ones.

CJ on stage

If you want to see more of what Nordic Ruby was like this year, you'll find slides, notes, blog posts and photos in the coverage section of our Lanyrd page.

Some standout links that you'll definitely want to check out:

Speaking of what Nordic Ruby is all about, I think this year's conference showed that it's not about Ruby in any case. It's never been really, but we haven't done a good job communicating that. That's changing.

Teppanyaki

Nordic Ruby will be back next year, but it won't be called Nordic Ruby any more. The name of the conference will be different, but the feeling of it will stay the same. If you want to keep up with our announcements about it, make sure you follow @nordicruby on Twitter.

See you next year!

Nordic Ruby 2013 from Alexander Lang on Vimeo.

Sep

A conference should be an experience filled with joy


Jonas Downey at 37signals wrote about their experiences at the XOXO conference in Portland last week. It sounds like it was a great conference, and the principles behind it echoes our ideas for Nordic Ruby. This passage from the blog post about XOXO sums up Nordic Ruby as well:

“Conference events shouldn’t be short and formal. Andy Baio and Andy McMillan could teach s course in throwing a good event. In short: allow your attendees plenty of room to breathe. Don’t pack in tons of simultaneous sessions in a generic hotel. Give people an experience. Give them free time. Give them good food and loads of coffee in a weird place.”
— Jonas Downey, Lessons in creativity and joy at XOXO

We share the XOXO organisers belief in having fun together. To create social time for the attendees. The conversations and new connections you make at a conference are important. So putting everyone in one place for a couple of days with a spacious schedule and parties in the evenings open up for socialising which, like Jonas writes in his blog post, is invaluable.

To read more about our thoughts on Nordic Ruby, check out CJ's blog post about Nordic Ruby 2012.

Sep

Nordic Ruby 2012


After running two successful Nordic Ruby conferences in Gothenburg (2010 and 2011), we knew we wanted to do something different this year. Since many of our attendees are from Stockholm, we decided to move the conference there.

We went for an "East meets West" theme representing both the move from the west coast of Sweden to the east coast, and bringing a Japanese programming language to western Europe. With that in mind, we found the perfect venue — Yasuragi Hasseludden — a Japanese style spa in the Stockholm archipelago.

The Yasuragi terrace

Having the conference at a spa also fit perfectly with what's always been our vision for Nordic Ruby; a great event that's brings people together, where everyone can have a shared experience, and leave recharged and inspired. Nordic Ruby has always been single track, with everyone having lunches and dinners together, to give that shared experience. We've also always had slightly different format than most other conferences, with short talks, each followed by a break at least as long. This ensures that everyone has plenty of time to meet and talk to other attendees and speakers, and gives everyone the chance to digest the avalanche of information that a conference can be.

Yasuragi proved the perfect venue to take these ideas to the next level. We included accommodation at the spa in the ticket price, which meant that people didn't disappear to different hotels at the end of the day, giving even more of a shared experience. The calm and relaxing atmosphere meant that people left the conference feeling energised, rather than drained as is the usual feeling after many other conferences. And of course, the Japanese style of the spa was a perfect homage to the origin of Ruby.

Corey Haines

We had some amazing speakers this year too, and we're very grateful to them for coming all the way to Sweden to share their knowledge and passion. We had fantastic experienced speakers such as Corey Haines and Steve Klabnik, but the speaker who blew everyone away was Katrina Owen. Katrina had never spoken at a conference before, but she presented her thoughts on the therapeutic aspects of refactoring in a masterful way. The audience was at the edge of their seats, spellbound by her pitch-perfect storytelling. She's since gone on to present at many other conferences, with equal aplomb.

Katrina Owen

What makes Nordic Ruby such a great experience for all of us though is the attendees. They embraced and added to the atmosphere of the conference, donning the yukata (traditional Japanese bathrobes) they were given, and taking full advantage of the environment. People reconnected with old friends, and made many new ones. In the end, that's what really matters. Our goal with Nordic Ruby has always been to facilitate this by providing a great opportunity and environment for it.

Some of the Elabs crew relaxing

We're busy planning next year's Nordic Ruby. As successful as this year's conference was, there are always things to improve. If you want to help out, we're always looking for sponsors. We couldn't make Nordic Ruby happen without the great support from our sponsors (Hashrocket, Engine Yard, Valtech, GitHub, and ProjectPuzzle this year). If you're interested in sponsoring next year, get in touch.

Nordic Ruby will be held June 6-9 next year. If you want to attend, you should follow @nordicruby on Twitter or track it on Lanyrd. We hope to see you there!

Working under the midnight sun

P.S. Check out more photos by our photographer Antony Sastre in our Flickr album.

Jun

Almost time for Nordic Ruby


Right now, all of us at Elabs are on our way to Stockholm for the 3rd annual Nordic Ruby – the conference that we organise every year.

Nordic Ruby is the highlight of the year for us. While organising it is a lot of work, we always leave refreshed and motivated. Listening to the presentations and meeting the attendees from all over the world is always inspiring. We can't wait for the conference to start tomorrow.

If you want to follow along, follow @elabs and @nordicruby on Twitter.

Dec

The Year 2011 — A Summary


Wow, another year over already. It feels like it was just recently that I wrote a summary of 2010. Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, so it's about time that I try to sum up this year. And what a year it's been.

One of the highlights this year, just like last year, was our conference Nordic Ruby. I feel like this year was even better than last year, with amazing speakers such as Chad Fowler and Aaron Patterson, a party on an 18th century style ship, and 150 fantastic attendees. Next year we're trying something quite different, and I think it's going to be awesome. Keep a look out for the new web site for Nordic Ruby 2012.

Aaron Patterson at Nordic Ruby 2011

Aaron Patterson at Nordic Ruby 2011. Photo by Athega.

Right around the same time as Nordic Ruby, we said goodbye to our partners at Edithouse, and moved to our own space. Our new office is in a fantastic 19th century building, the old offices of the famous Gothenburg camera makers Hasselblad. We love our new office, and others seem to like it too, as we made the finals in a competition for Sweden's nicest office. Feel free to come visit us, we love having guests. If you can't make it, check out the pictures of our new office.

Our new office, in the Hasselblad building

We didn't just move out from Edithouse's office, but we also bought back their shares in Elabs. Right now I'm the full owner of the company. The main reason for this was that the collaboration that we envisioned when I started Elabs together with Edithouse never happened. In 2008 and 2009 Edithouse's business changed, and we set our own course. Our own office and ownership reflects our independence, and that feels great. Personally, I still want to say Thank you to Edithouse for helping get Elabs off the ground in 2008.

Another side of our move was that we decided to close down our Stockholm office. While we had some great projects there, for clients like Bonnier's Mag+ and TV4 Play, it was hard having people spread out. One of the best things about Elabs is our culture. Our way of working together, and our camaraderie. Extending that across the country wasn't easy, and it didn't feel fair to Ingemar and Dennis, working by themselves in Stockholm. We asked them if they wanted to join us in Gothenburg, but they decided to stay in Stockholm, and are now working for our clients Mynewsdesk and Mag+. I wish them the best of luck there.

To make up for the loss of Ingemar and Dennis, we've started hiring again! In August, we welcomed Kim Burgestrand to our team. Kim had been freelancing with us while he was on a break from his studies, and we're very happy that he decided to join us full-time. We'll be hiring more developers next year, so if you're interested in joining a fantastic team, let us know!

In 2011, we really ramped up our public speaking. We spoke at a whole bunch of different conferences all over the world. Here's a list, with links to videos of most of them:

Phew! Quite intense! In between working on client projects and speaking at conferences, our developers still found time to release some great open source projects. Nicklas released his Rails account management engine bento, and Anders released the model factory jay_z and the restful HTTP library resto. Kim did a bunch of work on Hallon, his delicious Ruby bindings to the official Spotify API. Jonas released capybara 1.0, an integration testing library used by most Ruby developers. Later in the year, he also released the brand new library turnip, an alternative to Cucumber.

In recognition for his outstanding open source efforts, Jonas received a Ruby Hero Award at RailsConf in May. We're so proud of him!

Jonas Nicklas, one of the Ruby Heroes 2011

During the year we've had the opportunity to work with some fantastic people. We've worked with some great companies in the US (such as Engine Yard, Stackmob, and LivingSocial), as well as some cool Swedish startups (like Naturkartan and Saltside), and some big established companies like TV4 and Bonnier. A big thank you to all of our clients! We're looking forward to more great projects next year.

Yesterday, our last day of work this year, we said goodbye to Antony. Antony's been working with us for almost two years, and he's been a fantastic part of the team. Now he's striking out on his own with a project related to his other big passion, photography, and we wish him the best of luck. Thank you Antony for all your great work, and for keeping our spirits high at the office. We'll miss you!

Now were taking a break over the holidays, and we'll be back on January 2nd, ready for another exciting year.

Happy holidays!

/ CJ & the Elabs team

Merry Christmas from Elabs

PS. If you want to keep up with what we're doing, follow us on Twitter or check out our Facebook page. Thanks!