It was 13th of July when I got an email from Katarina Sonjic about Call for papers. I’ve sent two papers for them – my old topic “Magic of Chaos – how to remain sane in everyday testing” and brand new topic “Tester in charge – Judge, Jury & Executioner”. Not only the second topic was accepted but also it was introduced as the keynote speech. I’ve received this news during my stay in Las Vegas and was so excited to start my preparations!
I arrived one day before the conference and had time to do a little sightseeing. I must say that when I was walking through the city center I felt like walking the streets of Warsaw many years ago. Except maybe for some signs written with Cyrillic alphabet. I ended up in the oldest traditional Tavern in Belgrade called “?”. There I was able to try some ćevapčići with local beer during last presentation preparations.
Strengthened by the amount of eaten meat I decided to go for a walk around famous Belgrade Fortress. This is an amazing place with a well preserved old citadel and Kalemegdan Park. The present name derives from two Turkish words, kale (fortress) and meydan (battlefield). Within it, I found military museum and dinosaur adventure park.
I must say I really enjoyed my stay in this city (even though the prices were very high for my pocket!).
I was very surprised when I found out that the oldest persons in the organization of BTC are… 23 years old. They are all students. When I think about my time at university and my colleagues I feel ashamed. We didn’t even think about doing something that great for others in our spare time. For free. Big “Thank You” for all those amazing people:
I was even more shocked due to the fact that the event was managed in the most professional manner. They proved that age is just a number. They are passionate people with a goal and idea… Now just gathering the experience. I can’t wait to see what they will do in a few years.
Now just to give some more details – every speaker was welcomed at the airport and brought to the hotel. The sleeping place was a walking distance from event venue in the city center of Belgrade. For those who came the day before the conference, there was speakers dinner with “everything you need to try while being in Serbia” (true story, I had the list prepared in advance). This was an opportunity for me to meet new amazing speakers. I also had a chance to reconnect with Andrei Contan, which I already knew from Romania Testing Conference.
Now for the juicy stuff. The event took place in Belgrade Youth Center, which is a big venue in the city center. For speakers, it was 3 minutes walk from the hotel. The event was split into 2 tracks – Starter Track & Tester Track. Each group had their own room, with the one designated for Tester Track was enormous!
Each track had live streaming so everyone around the world could watch it. Amazing, since not many conferences do that. Therefore instead of writing about the presentations, I encourage You to watch them yourself. Just please be aware, that some presentations in Starter Track were in fact in the Serbian language:
As for my experience with this conference, I performed some weird social experiment. After dinner, I dressed up in my judge robe and walked around the venue. I was curious if anybody would approach me with questions “What are you wearing? What does that mean?”. It seems that people in Serbia are either shy or very understanding for weirdos because no one approached me.
My presentation was the last one – closing keynote – for Starter Track. I started with a slight delay due to the previous presentation taking a bit longer than expecting. Therefore I appeared on the stage at 7pm. I know that my talk was very late (10 hours after conference start) so I still feel a warmth in my heart for those who stayed to hear my story.
The main advantage of BTC are people – organizers, volunteers, attendees, and speakers. After this conference, I felt inspired to give more from my life to others and be more grateful for what I get. Those thoughts will now shine from Photo Booth pictures I took as a souvenir to remember this event.