The Evolution of the Evolution of TC Conference in Sofia – The Journey from a Small and Informal Gathering for Technical Writers to an International Conference
As the Evolution of Technical Communication (Evolution of TC) conference is turning the respectful age of ten, I cannot help being proud that I have been involved in it from the very first days.
Today, Evolution of TC is the annual gathering event for all technical writers with a focus on innovations in software documentation, not only for Bulgaria but for the whole of Southeastern Europe. It is part of the tekom Europe brand and features the same distinguished speakers from all around the globe whom you can see at the world’s top industry conferences.
But this did not happen overnight and took a lot of time, perseverance and dedication. For me, it has been a great personal and professional journey.
How the journey to creating a tech comm community all started
Back in 2010, I was a newcomer to the technical communication field who found it difficult to explain to friends what exactly my job was. It was an exotic profession in Bulgaria, so imagine my joy when we were invited to a local event by colleagues doing the same thing in VMware, where we presented an SAP project that we were working on at the time. Some of us were so inspired by the idea of a local community that we offered our help to the VMware team.
This gathering was the beginning of the bumpy road for an enthusiastic team of volunteers at SAP and VMware to establishing a local professional community. Back then, we were calling it “technical writing”. Today, we know it’s much more.
We organized the annual event together for a few years. I will spare you the details of the long hours’ work behind the scenes doing tasks that did not come close to technical writing – contacting potential community members, finding sponsors, inviting speakers, organizing the venue, catering, equipment, logistics, PR, expenses and invoicing, etc.
Little by little, we got support and help from colleagues in other local companies, such as Telerik and Software AG, and gradually built a small but passionate community of technical writers eager to learn and develop. Enthusiasm grew more and more as we found out we were not alone.
It was challenging, and yes, I have asked myself why I was doing it on top of my daily work, in my free time – was it worth it?
Obviously, it was worth it, because our efforts were noticed by tekom Europe, which contacted us through German SAP colleagues who were tekom members. After some communication and meetings, tekom became a conference partner in 2014. This was the turning point that took our community beyond the local borders and put Evolution of TC on the global map.
Moving from an informal group to become part of a large European association as tekom Bulgaria
As the next evolutionary step, we became tekom members and established a country organization. Since February 5, 2015, tekom Bulgaria has officially been on the European map.
As I was one of the leaders, I was elected as a member of the Initiative Committee, spokesperson and the delegate to represent Bulgaria in the tekom Assembly in Antwerp, Belgium. There I was happy to meet in person the other people from tekom who work hard in the interest of our profession as a whole.
In 2016, Evolution of TC became part of the tekom Europe calendar and is now organized by the tekom conference team. I can now enjoy the event simply as a participant and reap the benefits of our hard work in the past.
ETC is still our place to show our peers what we have achieved and also learn about the latest trends and innovations in user assistance. But now, it is truly international and as professional as any other major tekom event. In the last few years, we have attracted participants from many different countries with an impressive array of expert speakers. The conference is a two-day event with interactive sessions and workshops.
Why the journey was all worth it
If you are still unsure such “overhead” activities are worth the effort – I can give you a long list of benefits for the community, my team and me. Our cooperation with the European organization that supports professionalism in technical communication broadened our outlook and gave us valuable insights into the state and opportunities of our industry.
But leaving aside the community gains, for me it was a journey from newbie to proud member of our profession’s global family.