No, you didn't stumble on Bill's blog accidentally. Really, I'm going to Redmond!
I’m heading off to Redmond on Sunday. Yes, Redmond. No, I do not typically develop on the Microsoft platform (at least not recently), but that’s the point of this conference. This is a conference targeted at community leaders not currently developing on the Microsoft platform. It’s an honor to be included (which is a response in large part, I’m sure, to the many hours I put in to help organize CodeMash). Only about 50 people have been invited and we will be meeting with the product and research teams. It sounds like we will have an opportunity to provide feedback to those teams as well as be exposed to the latest cool things that Microsoft has available. I’m looking forward to not only learning about the latest in what Microsoft has to offer, but I’m also interested in meeting the other participants and helping to build that community as well.
My involvement with CodeMash and my participation at the various Open Spaces events that Bruce Eckel has been hosting (including Programming the New Web, Web Frameworks Jam, TurboGears Jam, and most recently, the Java Posse Roundup) has given me the opportunity to realize that I really enjoy building community. I have been involved with this in the past (Ann Arbor Computer Society, and the Ann Arbor ITZone). I’m trying to work with the Ann Arbor Java User group, and I’ve been going to Python User Group meetings as well. A large part of being an entrepreneur in software is networking. I really dislike some aspects of that. I dislike going to meetings and shaking hands, and delivering elevator pitches. What I do like is getting to know people at conferences or user group meetings, learning what they do, who they work with, who they interact with in the community and what technologies they use. I LOVE meeting new people and talking geek stuff with them. I don’t like meeting business people and giving spiels. I know that this business requires a bit of both, but I would really rather spend time with the fun, cool, technical people when I can!
About a week before CodeMash, we created a google group for people to communicate with one another prior to the event. In addition to helping plan logistics, like carpooling, room sharing and such, it gave us an opportunity to build some community in advance of the event. Face it — geeks can be shy. If this helps to bring us out of our shells so that the face-to-face meeting is a little easier, then that’s great. It gives us all some context about the rest of the group, so that when we finally do meet, it’s a bit more relaxed (I think, at least).
Anyhow, I offered to create a group for the MTS2007 and the Microsoft staff took me up on the offer. People have been signing up all week and I’m looking forward to meeting all of them in person.
I’ll blog more from the event (Microsoft is OK with us blogging about it).