Going to MatterCon as a Mattermost contributor
I was invited to MatterCon 2020, a Mattermost community event. I decided to go because I was interested in how an open source company reaches developers and customers. I also wanted to experience what the Bahamas was like.
First, some high-level takeaways:
- MatterCon is a valuable opportunity for members of the Mattermost company and community to get to know each other in person. MatterCon makes people available; you can easily talk to the CEO and CTO.
- Mattermost is a company that cares about the community. As a guest, I was overwhelmed by their commitment to the community.
- The atmosphere emphasized communication—not technical skills.
What is Mattermost?
Mattermost is an open source Slack alternative. Unlike Slack and Microsoft Teams, which are SaaS solutions delivered through the vendor’s cloud, Mattermost enables companies to maintain control over their messaging data by hosting it on-premise or in a private cloud.
What is MatterCon?
Here’s how the company describes MatterCon:
We try to get together every 12 months or so to get face-time with one another, build community, reinforce our leadership principles, and get some work done! Since our team is scattered all over the globe, we try to plan a different location for each MatterCon.
MatterCon is not a mandatory trip or a department offsite, nor is it a vacation or incentive trip. It’s a chance for everyone to meet fellow Mattermost team members across all departments and regions: part team building, part education, part community building, and hopefully all fun. This is a work trip with fun mixed in.
Because Mattermost is a remote-first company, it hosts an annual face-to-face event, which is called MatterCon. Mattermost advocates open source collaboration as one of its missions. In this spirit, the company invites some community members to MatterCon. This year, I was one of those members.
Here are some recap videos from previous MatterCon events:
- Mattermost | MatterCon 2017 | Community Meetup in Las Vegas
- Mattermost | MatterCon 2018 | Community Meetup in Lisbon
- Mattermost | MatterCon 2019 | Community Meetup in Dominican Republic
My involvement with Mattermost
Currently, I maintain the Mattermost Japanese translation, manage the Mattermost Japanese Twitter account, and share articles about Mattermost. I also contribute to the project by taking care of Help Wanted tickets every now and again. Two years ago, I was named MVP of Mattermost 4.6.
I started contributing to Mattermost when I started using the platform at work sometime around 2016. Even before I began using Mattermost, I was trying OSS chat tools such as Kandan and Let’s Chat. But these tools have some problems, such as insufficient cooperation with other systems and lack of active development.
Meanwhile, Mattermost had tons of functions and active development. Plus, it was a very attractive open source solution. While I was initially playing around with Mattermost, I noticed a small translation mistake and was interested in contributing to the project. So, I found out how I could contribute and sent a correction of the translation in. That was the beginning of my journey with Mattermost. (Since then, the documentation on how to contribute to Mattermost has improved significantly.)
At the time, the core committers were very friendly and commented on the Mattermost community server about just one small fix. That was encouraging. Then Mattermost started using technologies such as Golang and React.js and they regularly sent swag such as T-shirts, so I gradually expanded my range of contributions over the years.
And in 2020, I was invited to MatterCon.
Highlights from MatterCon
MatterCon 2020 was held at Hotel Melia Nassau Beach-All Inclusive, in Nassau, Bahamas in February 2020. The event brought roughly 170 people together, including Mattermost Inc. employees, partners and contributors, and significant others.
Here are some highlights from my experience:
- Mattermost created a MatterCon guest channel that provided easy access to all of the information I needed to know for the conference.
- The Mattermost team was very welcoming; at times, I was a bit confused because I am not a native English speaker, but it was a fun atmosphere to be in.
- MatterCon attendees were given the option to enjoy a number of incredible experiences, including checking out Ardastra Gardens, Zoo and Conservation Center, going on a City and Country Tour, and even swimming with pigs. I had a great time on the tour.
- I also got to talk with Mattermost employees and community members. I was particularly happy to meet Jason Blais (@jasonblais), who motivated me to contribute to Mattermost, Ben Schumacher (@hanzei), who I’m developing Matterpoll with, and other Japanese contributors.
- The resort was great and provided the opportunity to swim in pools, paddle board, snorkel, and kayak at the private beach.
- I got the chance to sit in on a partner session and check out a number of helpful and interesting lightning talks led by the Mattermost team.
- The Mattermost team treats members of the community as one of their own.
All in all, I would recommend the MatterCon experience to other members in the Mattermost community. If you get the opportunity to go to one, you should.
For more, check out some photos I took during MatterCon.