March 7, 2010
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I was very fortunate to recently attend the Pablo’s Fiesta Open Spaces conference in Austin, TX. This was my first Open Spaces event and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. It was also great to catch up with some folks in the community that I hadn’t seen in a while. And I enjoyed meeting many folks with whom I had only interacted with via Twitter, email, or blog comments.
I attended many sessions during the conference, and I loved that hopping around from session to session was encouraged to stimulate hallway conversations and keep things interesting. I also found the Pablos Fiesta wiki very useful since I could read any notes on sessions that I missed.
The sheer intelligence of the folks at this conference was mind blowing. I had expected the crowd to be mostly Austinites, but I met some really sharp developers from Kansas, Iowa, and Oklahoma that all really impressed me. I felt inspired by the passion and intelligence exhibited by these developers that are coming out of smaller cities and working in small companies. That passion is something that I feel is lacking in many of the developers I meet in the Dallas-Ft.Worth area. I think the potential is there though, and this conference inspired me to help bring some of that passion to NorthDallas.NET.
One thing that came up in some discussions was the growing gap between Mainstream .NET and ALT.NET. Some folks accepted this gap as inevitable since the .NET developer community is so large and such gaps are inevitable. I disagree with this stance, as I think the gap makes it difficult to find good developers to work with, good environments to work in, and ultimately has turned a few people away from the platform all together.
At my current job, I’m reminded nearly every day of the true cost of that gap and find myself trying to bridge it quite often in order to make progress on our larger engineering initiatives. While it’s certainly easier to take a hard stance and accept this gap, I’ve seen first hand the effect that bridging the gap can have on the right individuals. And how great ideas can spread like wildfire through the organization once they have the right champion.
I want to express my gratitude to the members of the Los Techies blogging community, many of whom clearly worked very hard to make Pablo’s Fiesta possible. I hope that this event will become a regular thing and that I get another chance soon to learn more from this community.