Sunday, January 11, 2009

Codemash 2009 Thoughts

Another Codemash has come and gone, which means there are more than a few recap posts out there, so I'll add mine to the pile.

The biggest take away for me this year was the sheer number of people I got to talk to, shake hands with, and bend an elbow with. In past years, that group has been basically limited to the other Quick folks that were up there or a small circle of people outside of Quick that I knew. This year, though, that number was much larger. I can easily attribute this to two things.

First, I got out and about in the community more in '08 than in past years, including a few speaking gigs around the region. I got to hang out for extended times with new colleagues from Cincy to Grand Rapids and a lot of places in between. That made for a lot of familiar faces while strolling around Kalahari.

Second, and this is probably the larger of the two: Twitter. I started in on Twitter last year after Codemash and before I headed to Mix, and it showed at this year's edition of Codemash. The number of people I could talk with in person because we'd had a few conversations on Twitter made starting those conversations much easier.

For the content itself, I was really impressed with the Pre-Compiler. This was the first year for the extra day, and I wish they'd have spread that material over the whole conference. I found myself wanting to be in three places at once on Wednesday. I ended up with a morning of Ruby with Joe and Jim, and an afternoon of Lean and Kanban with Dave Laribee.

For the full conference, I was all over the place. Some open spaces, some sessions, some hallway conversation, some recovery time that we don't need to discuss here, etc, etc. I took in Venkat's second session (skipped the Scala one), made sure I saw Mary Poppendieck, saw Laribee's DDD talk, and a few others.

Open Spaces I was really looking forward to on the heels of all the news from DevLink and what Alan Stevens did down there. I got to two, one on pair programming and one on branding yourself. I submitted one, but thanks to the snow and the room changing a couple times my turnout was five other people from Quick. We decided we could cover this at another meeting and headed back out into the sessions. So, overall I was a bit let down with the Open Spaces, but I think good content in the sessions combined with good content in the Open Spaces makes for some tough choices. Alan runs a slick Open Space, though. The ceremony is kind of cool. [Insert essence v. ceremony joke here]

My mini-speaking part in the show was when Jon Kruger, Steve Harman, and myself gave some first hand experiences with Kanban in the QSI vendor session. We ended up with a decent turnout and went 10 minutes over our allotted time taking more questions. I thought it turned out really well.

So, another Codemash behind me, and another kick in the butt to start the new year. Top of the list, clean up the blog. In the branding open space I learned that using the default theme from .txt turns people off...thank goodness I use the default blogger theme, instead. I'm going to get Graffiti installed and get a better look for it.

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