Getting the most from Codegarden

With 62 days until Codegarden ( I thought I'd write a blog about how I get the most out of the event and tell you how I try and embrace meeting new people. 

Online, I've some confidence, I'll chat to people, I'll ask questions and answer questions but, in person, I find talking to crowds and individuals difficult at times. I would say I have introvert tendencies and I find socialising tiring and stressful. 

So when I go to a tech event, it's very easy for me to sit in a corner, put my headphones on and bury my nose in my laptop. I don't feel this is the best use of my time though. There are amazing individuals at events like Codegarden and the only way I can learn from them is by speaking with them. 

The Codegarden T-shirt

How do I meet these people? How do I interact with as many people as I can. Well, let me tell you a story! 

Back in 2018, I was going to Codegarden for the very first time. I wanted to get to meet as many people as I could. I had only been in the Umbraco community for a year. I didn't have the social network with the community that I do now and so I jumped on to Twitter and used a couple of hashtags to try and get noticed. Mostly #umbraco and #codegarden. 



Why did you want to get noticed?

To get the most out of an event like Codegarden, you should network. Speak to people you maybe wouldn't meet normally. This is even more important now that many people are now working fully remote. Maybe sitting in a home office 5 days a week and not really meeting people. 

Back in 2018, I just wanted to totally emerse myself in to the Umbraco Community. I'd just been awarded my first Umbraco MVP but I felt I could give so much more to the community if I could meet more people. 

I came up with an idea. 

Create a github repo where people would add their names if they were going to Codegarden and I would try and meet them all. I expected maybe 5 or 6 names but the idea really took off. 

More and more people started retweeting my idea and the community really liked the idea, but then, another idea came up. What about adding all the names to a tshirt and then when I meet that person, they would tick off their name. 

Well, this then took a life of its own! I ended up with 50 official names on the tshirt but once I arrived at Codegarden, a number of people also added their names to the list. I met so many amazing people and the tshirt really got me known. 


In 2019, I don't think I did any gimmicks but I did join the uBuddy scheme so that I could hopefully help first timers to the event meet other people. 

Fast forward to 2022 and it was the first in-person Codegarden since Covid but unfortunately I couldn't make it. I was gutted, but rather than just accept that I wasn't going to be at the event, I noticed a lot of other "regulars" were also unable to attend that year. 

The Secret Stage was born!

On a run one evening, I thought it would be fun if I created a lego version of Codegarden. I'd build some stages and then post some updates during the event from my home office. I got chatting with a fellow Umbraco MVP and good friend Nik and he came up with the idea of calling it #theSecretStage

I loved the idea and then thought it would be cool if people could attend The Secret Stage in some way. This is when I contacted They create custom Lego minifigs and they offered me a discount code to give to people. 

Before I knew it, I had people from all over the world sending me minifig versions of themselves so that they could attend The Secret Stage

Then in 2023, I was able to attend Codegarden for real and I took all the minifigs with me so that the story could continue. 

So what is in store for 2024? 

Well, I'm attending Codegarden in person again this year but that's all I am going to say for now, there is something being planned.

If you are attending Codegarden this year, come and say hi! I would love to meet you and if you don't know many people, I'll happily introduce you to as many people as you'd like. 

To conclude, how do you get the most out of Codegarden? You meet people, chat to people and introduce yourself to the community in any way you like but have fun doing it. 

Published on : 10 April 2024