Tag Archives: Ann Arbor

New Adventures: Managing (my) career …

One of my favorite topics is career management. I like to remind those that I mentor that they need to be in charge of their careers. I’ve said that while your employer may manage your job, the responsibility for making sure that The Next Big Thing is in line with what YOU want to do is solely yours. At my keynote at 1DevDay in 2011, I described how to manage your career path, and gave examples of I have been actively managing mine through speaking, continual learning, and community participation. My book, Atomic Scala, co-authored with Bruce Eckel and recently published, satisfied my technical leanings, and participation in local and national conferences (OSCON, CodeMash, and the Java Posse Roundup) was a further demonstration of my commitment to both learning and to professional networking. Guiding your career along a path consistent with your lifelong goals, particularly as they evolve, is a big responsibility and requires active participation.

No one, at any level, should ignore this responsibility. You owe it to yourself and to your organization. If your current position isn’t working for you, either adapt it to work, or find something that does. In Open Spaces conferences, we call this the Law of Two Feet, and it’s quite liberating to apply this thinking broadly.

SRT Solutions recognizes that employees are most effective when fully engaged. This translates to better software, better communication with customers, and to being a better co-worker. And, to being a better boss. Even business owners are not exempt from needing to follow their passions.

So what’s my passion? I like bringing people together and building great software to match what they need. I’ve had a lot of opportunity to do that in my 13 years at SRT, but I’ve decided that I need a new adventure. I could have stayed at the company that Bill Wagner and I built until retirement, but I decided to use the Law of Two Feet to find my next adventure.

I’m excited to say that I will be joining Netflix in Los Gatos, CA, next week as Director of Engineering for Cloud Tools. I will be working with an amazing team as they build software to support cloud deployment and management, used both internally and often released as open source tools to the broad community. I’ll be working with the other teams to ensure that they know what our team builds, and to help ensure that what we build is useful for them. This is an amazing opportunity for me, but not one that I made lightly. It required not only asking Bill to take on full managerial responsibility for SRT but also moving my family across the country. I remain committed to SRT’s success, and to watching the personal and professional growth of the SRT staff.

My nine year old daughter is wise. She said, “Sometimes change is good”. Indeed, indeed it is.

Ann Arbor Scala Enthusiasts March 20 meeting

The Ann Arbor Scala Enthusiasts are on meetup and that allows me to post a poll regarding what folks would like for the  March 20 meeting. Please vote! If you don’t like any of the topics, please comment here with suggestions.

The Ann Arbor Scala Enthusiasts will meet at 6 pm on March 20, 2013, at SRT Solutions, 206 S. Fifth Ave., Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI 48104. The meeting is free and open to the public. Please join the meetup group and RSVP if you are planning to attend so that we can gauge interest and tailor content.

Scala Enthusiasts survey and February meeting

At the inaugural Ann Arbor Scala Enthusiasts meeting, attendees showed interest in some hands-on hacking. So, for the next meeting, on Wednesday, February 20, that is what we will do! Bring your laptop (or a friend with a laptop) and join in the fun. We’ll make sure everyone gets Scala 2.10 installed and then we can either all work together or break into small groups.

I have also published a survey from the first meeting. Please complete the contact info for the survey if you are interested in attending future events, even if you weren’t able to attend January’s meeting.

See you on Wednesday, February 20 at 6 pm at SRT Solutions, 206 S. Fifth Ave. Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI 48104. We currently don’t have a food sponsor for the meeting, but we can order food delivery from a nearby restaurant if people are interested (or feel free to bring something with you)!

CodeMash last week — functional programming this week

Last week was the 7th annual CodeMash conference. I can’t believe that less than 8 years ago, we started talking about creating this conference … and it’s amazing to see how it’s grown. I was thrilled to present a “precompiler” (tutorial) from our book Atomic Scala with Bruce Eckel at the conference. It was a full-day precompiler and we progressed very slowly through the language, introducing details in small bits that we call “atoms”.

This week, the pace at the first ever Ann Arbor Scala Enthusiasts group will certainly be much faster. Josh Suereth, author of “Scala in Depth” will be presenting”Functional Programming Patterns for the Asynchronous Web.” We’re thrilled that Josh will be traveling from Pennsylvania to Michigan to speak. Kirby Smith, also from Typesafe, will be joining us. Typesafe, as you probably know, is the company that was created by the creators of Scala and Akka, to provide a fully featured, easy to use  package of tools, backed by its commercial support.

Typesafe is also sponsoring the meeting, so please register so that we can make sure that there’s enough food. Tired of regular user group fare? No pizza for you guys! Typesafe will bring sandwiches and salads, which will be a great change after gorging ourselves at CodeMash all week!

See you there … SRT Solutions, 206 S. Fifth Ave., Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI 48104. We’ll start around 6 pm. The meeting is free and open to all!

Meeting Dr. Marina Whitman: what an honor!

I feel very fortunate to live in Ann Arbor and to have amazing friends who included me in lunch today, with Marina Whitman. My business friends will be interested to know that Marina Whitman was the first woman to serve on the President’s Council of Economic Advisers. My geek friends will be thrilled to know that she is the daughter of John von Neumann, the famous mathematician. Dr. Whitman has recently written a memoir, where she talks about building a career of her own in the shadows of her very famous father. I can only imagine how challenging that must have been … but wow did she do it right!

Our lunch was fascinating, an intimate group of several women business owners in Ann Arbor. Dr. Whitman still teaches at the University of Michigan, and I suspect that her class is captivating. She’s brilliant, engaging, and so generous with her time.

I can’t wait to read her book. It’s called The Martian’s Daughter. You can order it now from Amazon, or you can go to her book signing on October 2 in Ann Arbor.

Ann Arbor Scala Enthusiasts: meeting is ON!

Have you wondered what all of the fuss is about with Scala? Or are you already sold and just want to hang out with like-minded folks?

Join us for an organizational meeting for this new user group as well as an open discussion on “Why Scala?”.

The meeting will start at 6 pm on Wednesday, August 15, at SRT Solutions. Everyone is welcome — the meeting is free and open to the public.

We’ll have some ceasar salad and cold sandwiches as well as some cookies. Feel free to bring something else if you like. I’m looking forward to it!

SRT Solutions is located at 206 S. Fifth Avenue, Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI 48104. The closest parking structures are at 4th & Washington or 5th & Liberty. Street parking (metered spots) is free after 6, if you can find a space.

Gauging interest for Ann Arbor Scala Enthusiasts

Scala is a general purpose language on the Java Virtual Machine. Combining functional and object oriented programming, Scala offers powerful expression that allows developers to focus on solving problems with software rather than being distracted by boilerplate code. Particularly with recent announcements that features expected in Java in 2013 are being pushed back, languages such as Scala are attractive alternatives.

I’ve been playing around with Scala for several years, have been deeply involved with the Scala Koans open source project, and am nearing completion on a introductory book on Scala, co-authored with Bruce Eckel. And while I see a lot of enthusiasm for Scala throughout the country, I would love to see more enthusiasm in Michigan and the Midwest.  That’s my motivation for starting the Ann Arbor Scala Enthusiasts group.

I’m thinking about the 3rd Wednesday of each month, starting August 15, at 6 pm. I would hold the meetings in our meeting space, at SRT Solutions, 206 S. Fifth Ave., Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI. That’s at the corner of Fifth and Washington, in downtown Ann Arbor. The closest parking structures are at 4th and Washington, and 5th and Liberty (the new, underground library lot).

I would strive for a mix of local and national speakers on a variety of Scala topics, possibly including the following:

  • Why Scala?
  • Scala for Java Developers
  • Play Web Framework
  • Scala as a First Language
  • Developer Tools for Scala
and I would look to the community for additional suggestions and speakers. If the group is small, we could do some hands-on learning and experimenting with Scala.

So — is there interest? Once I know the answer to that question, I will start dealing with the practical concerns, like funding (starving developers arriving at a meeting just after work is never a pretty sight). If there’s any interest at all, I think that I will schedule the August 15 meeting to continue this discussion and for an open discussion on “Why Scala”.  Summer attendance is typically fairly light, but I would love to get this group kicked off as soon as possible.

Please post comments here!

Functional Programming and Scala Koans: upcoming talks

On Saturday, May 5, 2012, I will be presenting “Functional Programming for the Masses” at the Great Lakes Functional Programming Conference. This one-day event is developer organized and will be held at Washtenaw Community College. You can register at http://glfpc.eventbrite.com/. Tickets have been selling quickly for the event. Here’s an abstract for my talk:

Have you heard about functional programming but aren’t sure what should be your next step toward adoption? Are you looking for ways to introduce functional programming without scaring your coworkers and your boss? How can you convince others than the paradigm shift is worthwhile? That it will provide business value while making the programmers and customers happy?

You will come out of this talk with the techniques to bring functional programming to your organization with minimal stress. Whether you use Java, C#, or are gunning for Scala, this talk is for you. We’ll show examples of how to weave in functional, starting with how to talk about functional and ending with real code examples, showing that functional programming can be … well … functional.

The Scala Koans in Detroit will be rescheduled for a later date, through Detroit Dev Days. On Thursday, May 31, I will be delivering the Scala Koans with Bruce Eckel in Detroit, at the Madison Building. Organized by Detroit Dev Days, this will be the first full day Scala koans event ever. Join us. More information and registration available at eventbrite. Lunch will be provided.

On Monday, July 16, I will again be delivering the Scala Koans with Daniel Hinojosa in Portland, OR, at OSCON. Monday is the Tutorials Day, and requires a separate registration. You can get more information about our session here and register for the conference here. Daniel and I have teamed up several times in the past (both at CodeMash and StrangeLoop) to deliver the koans, and we have given them individually as well. The koans continue to grow, and we think it’s a great way to learn!

CodeRetreat Michigan to be held at SRT Solutions on Saturday

Saturday, December 3, 2011 marks the Global Day of CodeRetreat. CodeRetreats were conceived as a way for programmers to hone their craft, practicing solving a well-known problem in many different ways over and over again.

If you would like to participate and you are in the Ann Arbor area, register and then head over to SRT Solutions at 206 S. Fifth Avenue, Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI. The event will be held from 9 am – 5 pm.


Scala koans in Ann Arbor on October 5 (full day workshop)

SRT Solutions will be presenting the Scala Koans in a full-day workshop on Wednesday, October 5, from 9 am – 4:30 pm. The Scala Koans provide an interactive and fun way to learn the language.

Koans, as referenced in wikipedia, “may consist of a perplexing element or a concise but critical word or phrase (話頭 huàtóu) extracted from the story”. This is the case with the Scala koans as well. Students of the koans use a simple test-driven process to insert missing information from an exercise to make a test pass, before moving onto the next exercise. The cumulative knowledge from working on each koan builds to provide an in-depth understanding of a particular language feature that can later be applied in the context of solving a software problem.

The Scala Koans were conceived at CodeMash 2010 and have been growing ever since. The Scala Koans have previously been presented as half-day workshops at CodeMash, the Java Posse Roundup, and Strange Loop. Koans are available in many other languages, such as Ruby, Javascript, and Clojure.

Cost for the full day Scala Koans workshop is $100 (early bird, until 9/30) or $125 (10/1-10/4). Lunch and snacks will be provided.

The workshop will be held at SPARK Central, 330 E. Liberty, Lower Level, Ann Arbor, MI 48104. For more information or to register, go to http://srtscalakoans.eventbrite.com/. Please call Lisa Zuber at SRT Solutions (734-929-3211) if you have any problems or questions with respect to registration.