There’s nothing like a good conference to energize you. I just returned from CodeStock in Knoxville, TN. The theme of the conference was “The Year We Connect”. And that’s exactly what happened. Rachel Appel gave a stunning keynote on Community and as soon as I can find a feed to it I’ll post it. The entire thing got me wondering about Technology and Community. What sorts of communities, outside of my work place, could I become a part of…
I’m a woman and in technology (WIT) and there’s lots of amazing communities out there (systers.org being one of them). One of the things that I believe women can bring to the world, and specifically to the technology world is a sense of community. We are able to bring lots of different pieces together and see how they’ll fit with each other. During the WIT session at CodeStock there were moments when you’d see the light go off for one of the ladies and connections were being made. For example, the young lady who joined us at my workplace a year ago, recently found a great position in Cincinnati, OH. She packed up her stuff, and off she went. I talked to her last week and she mentioned that she was having trouble connecting with people. Who should I meet at CodeStock in the WIT session…the woman who is one of the directors of the Cincinnati .NET Users Group, Jennifer Griffin(http://jengriff.com/). It took me all of about 3 seconds to put it together and decide these two ladies needed to get to know one another. I believe that women are intrinsically wired to make those connections. I’m not saying that men can’t do it, and that all women can. What I am saying is that women, in my opinion, are better able to see those pieces and figure out how to fit them together best.
I connected with many people just sitting down and talking to them. Case in point: I walked up to a group of people Thursday night and just started listening to them, and when I opened my mouth none of them looked at me like I was totally insane. Later that night I started up my Pod Cast program on my phone and started listening to CodeCast (http://www.code-magazine.com/codecast/) and recognized one of the voices. Time slowed as it will do at these moments, and I realized that I had just had a conversation with Gary Short, one of the people who I have been listening to diligently on CodeCast. Cue hyperventilation! Holy !@#$ I just had a conversation with Gary Short, Rachel Appel and heaven only knows who else and you know what, they were great. Everyone was great, nothing happened, no one laughed at me, or looked at me like I was stupid. My questions were welcomed, my thoughts were listened to. I might actually have something worth saying!? As I fell asleep that night(alright so it was 2am in the morning but still) my mind was already buzzing and the conference hadn’t even started yet! So the next time you find yourself in a room of geeks, don’t be shy, jump right in, I promise it will be worth it.
My 16 year old son joined me at CodeStock this year and actually went to sessions with me. The ones he was most interested in were the MindStorm sessions with Nathan Blevins(http://www.nathanblevins.com/). As I was sitting there in the first session of the conference, I felt it. Deep down inside I felt this bubbling excitement. As Phil Winstanley (http://www.pixelprogramming.com/) would say: My soul was lifted. (and thank heavens I went to his sessions because now I can spot Crap code and write decent error logs so that I can actually pursue my sweet spot instead of spending all my time troubleshooting my crap code after work hours)
My sweet spot is: Robots. They have an uncanny ability to bring people together too. Case in point: Here’s a great blog entry about Friday night at CodeStock: http://www.aremaitchconsulting.com/2010/06/. (Roger writes a mean Android app as well). Sunday morning at breakfast my family was at the breakfast table wolfing down oatmeal and coffee while trouble shooting Microsoft Robotics Studio and our NXT Robot. That’s right, the entire family gathered around Legos, programming, and hardware. This was an all out could eat buffet of geeky goodness and it was a Community. The Czymoch family robotics team was born. Pieces came together. My son the lego lover with myself the software developer and my husband the hardware/networking guy all came to one spot and brought our perspectives and it was synchronicity at is best. Too bad the oatmeal got cold.
And that brings me to this: What is this you ask? My blog. A new blog. This blog will follow my journey as I plunge into my new found communities, and follow wherever my passion for Robots takes me.
I can promise that there will be some spectacular crashes (both of the robot and of myself I’m sure) but I can also promise that there will be moments of complete fabulocity (if that isn’t a word, then it should be!) when everything just works and there’s a moment of rightness in the world because all the pieces have come together.
(The above post is the result of what happens when I’m sleep deprived, please be forgiving).