I would like to share what I think to get the most out of the conference.
Go to a big conference like RubyConf, RailsConf, and RubyKaigi is the most efficient way to meet community members (gem authors, Ruby committers, Rails Contributors) in the Ruby community. People who go to conference are passionate, active member who work in this industry and probably very open to meet you and talk to you.
I have found myself doing these while meeting a new person:
Hey there is this guy @JuanitoFatas sent me here to ask you: What is your favorite RubyGem?
Then continue the conversation!
Show appreciations for their (Open Source) work
Know a gem you're using and the author is there? Show your appreciations, share feedbacks, and ask how you could help (if you want to get involve with Open Source).
Follow up with them after the conference.
I saw all talks, so what?
At my very first conference, I saw all the talks. I do not really learn much, felt exhausted so I went home right after the conference. I am not at the age of student anymore. I can't take 8 hours of learnings anymore.
Most of talks will be recorded and put up online after the conference. Skip some talks if you would like to hack some things together with someone. Skip when you want to talk with someone (Only if (s)he also wants to skip).
I also found real conversations usually happens at the hallway.
Real friendships form after
The conference cosists of series of talks, back to back, it's really hard to have any lengthy conversion with anyone. Go to the after party. Talk to people you would like to be friend with.
Before you go
Find 3 speakers who you want to meet. Dig into what they are doing so you can chat with them.
Please don’t be the person who watched all talks then just go home.
That's silly me long ago. You're wiser than me!