Catherine Ricafort McCreary, of Artists Who Code, and Ruby veteran Aaron Patterson take their bows after a surprise, Ruby-themed musical number. Photo by San Diego Conference Photography.

To all of our attendees, speakers, volunteers, sponsors, vendors and the staff at the Town and Country Resort, thanks for helping us make RubyConf 2023, a huge success! Over 500 Rubyists joined us in San Diego from Monday November 13th through Wednesday November 15th for the 23rd annual RubyConf, and experienced our brand new format. Read on to soothe some of your FOMO if you missed it, or relive all the fun you had with us there!


RubyConf 2023 Recap. Video by ConFreaks.

Who attended

A combined total of 573 people joined us on site for this year’s conference, from 21 different US states and 10 different countries! About 47% of our attendees were senior developers, 19% mid-level developers, 12% junior developers, 8% (people) managers, and 1% students. We were so excited to welcome 20 wonderful Scholars to their first RubyConf ever. And we streamed a portion of the talks for 144 virtual attendees who couldn’t join us but wanted to be a part of the live conference experience. 

Community Day

In response to feedback from attendees at previous events, this year’s RubyConf experimented with a new, innovative format. Instead of three full days of talks, we kicked off on Day One with a day of community building, hacking and collaborating, sprinkled with a few workshops. This Hack Day featured projects led by members of core Ruby teams, including:

  • CRuby, led by Jemma Issroff, Kevin Newton, Aaron Patterson, Matt Valentine-House, and Peter Zhu
  • Hanami, led by Tim Riley
  • Natalie, led by Tim Morgan
  •, led by Sam Giddins and Jenny Shen
  • The IRB and Debug core gems led by Stan Lo
  • The Ruby LSP, led by Vinicius Stock Alexandre Terrasa and Andy Waite
  • The Faker gem, led by Stefanni Brasil and Thiago Araujo
The Faker Gem Hack Day Table. Photo by San Diego Conference Photography..

Conference talks

RubyConf 2023 featured 21 total talks and workshops, including three keynote speakers:

Yukihiro “Matz” Matsumoto, creator of the Ruby programming language, discussed how the successes and pitfalls of other popular programming languages over the past few decades, have informed how he designs Ruby. He also offered his advice and vision for the future of Ruby, with or without Matz at the helm!

Matz's keynote video. Photo by San Diego Conference Photography.

Sharon Steed, author and founder of Communilogue, told her story about how overcoming her fear of public speaking with a speech impediment was key to mastering, and teaching about, vulnerability and empathy as skills for success in the workplace.

Sharon Steed's keynote talk. Photo by San Diego Conference Photography.

Saron Yitbarek, developer, entrepreneur, and founder of CodeNewbie, shared how the overwhelming challenges of teaching herself to code ignited her journey to creating a more inclusive space, and more effective tools, for new software developers, highlighting the power of Ruby community support that helped her get to where she is today.

Saron Yitbarek's keynote talk. Photo by San Diego Conference Photography.

Open Spaces

In addition to talks, Open Spaces served as on-site meetups for conference goers with similar passions in the Ruby world to continue the conversations, collaboration and hacking that started on Community Day. Spaces were hosted for Ruby meetup organizers, Ruby content creators, Ruby implementers and Ruby open source teams.

Rubyists enjoying Open Spaces. Photo by San Diego Conference Photography.

Hearing from you!

Out of the 128 RubyConf 2023 goers who responded to our survey, 46% told us this was your first RubyConf and 27% of you told us this was your first Ruby Central event, ever! 

66% of you participated in some combination of Community day and Open Spaces. There was a lot you appreciated about this new conference format. You enjoyed the opportunity to build community, hack and have actual PRs created on some of your projects. Here’s more of what you loved about RubyConf’s new Community Day and Open Spaces events:

  • “Please do more community days and open spaces in the future! It's a very interesting format, much more hands-on and collaborative than just watching a talk. Talks are great too, but I also loved the community building aspect of RubyConf.”
  • “This was the best part of the conference. I had such a blast hanging out with Ruby luminaries and hacking on cool stuff. I must admit, I was skeptical at first, but I would love to see community day happen again.”
  • “It was great to have experts on the same table and being able to ask them questions.”
  • “Having the community day first also helped breaking the ice as a first-time attendee.”

We also heard your feedback about what we could do better next time, to make things easier and more productive for you all. We look forward to working on improvements like providing descriptions of the projects available to contribute to during Community Day and Open Spaces, structured facilitation of the Open Spaces sessions and more intentionality with the timing of the hacking and open space sessions to allow for maximum participation in the conference by attendees and Open Spaces hosts alike.

Live podcast recordings 

As is often the case, we had several Ruby content creators attend the conference and capture their experience, live — which means we got to hear from a few of you as you were taking it all in. Elise Shaffer, of the Ruby on Rails Podcast, talked with several RubyConf first-timers in between conference sessions who shared their favorite conference moments, and advice for new conference goers.

A total of six podcast episodes were recorded live at RubyConf 2023! Check them out: 


Starting with this conference, we are going to share some of our event finances, to help you understand more about what things cost and how the ticket prices are set. Transparency is an important value for us at Ruby Central and we want to be more open about how things work internally. (Note: these are directional numbers to give you an overall sense of how things work behind the scenes).


Our total revenue for RubyConf 2023 was $477k, with $301k coming from ticket sales and $176k from our sponsorship partners. Typically, we see equal amounts of revenue from sponsorship and ticket sales. However during 2023 our sponsorship partners were less able to support the event due to economic challenges in the tech industry.

When we have low sponsorship, it makes finances more challenging, but more importantly, we know the attendees feel that loss as well.  When event sponsorship is low, we have to make up that loss in revenue by either selling more tickets or increasing our ticket price. Also, it was felt by having a more empty exhibit hall and not as many companies to meet and mingle with.  We know that our conference goers want to meet with companies excited to hire them or collaborate with them and it's frustrating or disheartening when they aren't there.

We are hoping for a change in this trend and are preparing as much as we can if it doesn’t change. If your company is interested in sponsoring our next event, please contact our sponsor lead Tom Chambers (


On the cost side, we spent $462k altogether producing the event, which made this the first in-person Ruby Central event since 2019 which turned a profit. The biggests costs were catering ($171k), staff for the event ($96k), event production vendors ($83k), and honoraria/scholarships ($48k), with administrative costs including software, WiFi, security, swag, shirts, and travel making up the balance. More than ever before, our team worked very hard to get these expenses down, both to minimize our financial risk as well as reduce our ticket prices as much as we possibly could.

Going forward, we are experimenting with ways to lower our costs while delivering an even more fun event - things like selecting non-traditional venues, trying different lunch ideas like food trucks, offering sponsorships to software vendors in lieu of payment, and using local vendor partners to reduce trucking expenses.

I’m sure you can guess that putting on a conference is a lot of hard work, especially in the past few years, but the team putting on RubyConf 2023 was one of the best we have ever had!

Thank you!

For more pictures from RubyConf 2023, click here, and check out our RubyConf twitter page for another look back at all the action. 

Conference talks and workshop replays are available now! Visit the Ruby Central YouTube page to watch. 

And to get the scoop on even MORE Ruby Central events — including RubyConf 2024 in Chicago —  sign up for our member newsletter and connect with us on twitter, mastodon and LinkedIn. And don’t hesitate to drop us an old fashioned line: We love hearing from you.

Thanks for re-living the magic with us. We can’t wait to connect with you again in 2024!

The RubyConf 2023 stage. Photo by San Diego Conference Photography.