Software Craftsmanship North America Day One Dump


Terry and I rolled into the hotel around three o’clock on Thursday afternoon and checked in. We actually had not ate a thing all day so we had a late lunch in the bar and met up with a couple great guys, Mark Simpson and Brandon (for whom I cant seem to find a twitter profile). We struck up a conversation and discovered we all worked with .NET in some capacity with Mark being the closest to being free of the mothership. After a few drinks, I walked out to the lobby and met Michael Feathers and got him to sign my kindle. I still owe you that beer Mr. Feathers. As I am listening to Mr. Feathers, I realize that Robert Martin is standing less than 3 feet away and I seriously had to crush down the fan boy glee. The opening mixer started around seven and I was able to have some great conversations including meeting John Stoneham whose job requires a double super secret blood oath security clearance.

The Failure of State: Robert Martin

The conf started off with a bang. Uncle Bob, a guy who has been programming longer than I have been alive, gave a very entertaining history of storage media and programming while making the case for all programmers seriously moving into learning a functional language. The basic gist of his argument for me boiled down to memory is cheap, processors are not getting faster. Hardware vendors are adding more cores and we need to change our practices to take advantage of of those cores. Functional programming techniques make that easier, even in non functional languages. Don’t be afraid of functional languages they have been around since the 50s, the reason they were not successful then was the prohibitive cost of memory. That issue is resolved today and we need to take a look at functional programming again.

Lightening Talk: Twilio

In between sessions people were given the opportunity to give lightening talks where they could get up in front of the crowd and show off some thing they were working on. John Britton got up and gave a very impressive demo of the Twilio conference bridge API. Looks like a very cool service and a quick way to connect people via phones.

Made to Make: Doug Bradbury

Doug Bradbury from 8th Light gave a very inspirational talk about his motivations and the driving force behind his drive to create that ranged from a craftsmanship ethic instilled in him by a grandfather to a belief system that propels him to be a better person. There was some twitter uproar, around Doug using the Christian creation story as the central theme of his talk. I was a bit surprised at first, but he really brought it back around to what motivates him and you came away from the talk knowing Doug quite a bit better. Seems like a very intense, intelligent guy driven to make things that help people.

Training Software Professionals: Just what the doc ordered: Michael “Doc” Norton

Doc Norton gave another rousing barn burner call to action. Doc seems concerned about the anti-certification rabble rabble rabble in SC circles. He points out that many people are quick to poke holes and point out problems but not many are discussing solutions to the problems. He strongly advocated that the solution is in the room, we as a community need to communicate with each other to discover that solution.

Apprenticeship Panel

Dave Hoover led a panel discussion with several folks who survived the apprenticeship program at 8th Light and Obtiva. It was very interesting to hear the various backgrounds of the folks accepted into the program and how they felt it went. I was having a serious green with envy moment listening to the discussion. Oh to be 20 again with no responsibilities. What I would do with that opportunity now. Seriously how lucky do you have to be to happen to be Uncle Bob’s neighbor?

Randori with the Stars!

Seriously, do I need to say more? Could this pic be more epic? That is Uncle Bob pair programming with Corey Haines in front of a packed room full of geeks. Seriously, entertaining.


Lean Craftsmanship vs. Corporate Craftsmanship: Ken Auer

I had no idea who Ken Auer was before today. But his presentation hit a lot of buttons for me and rang true. I will definitely be following up and reading some of his writing. His presentation revolved around his changing understanding of the Entrepreneurial mindset as related to building his own house and having to deal with contractors who could not deliver at various levels. Very insightful parallels drawn to developers who allow craftsmanship to get in the way of delivering value to their clients instead of finding new ways to work that allow them to meet their clients needs.

Chicago Dine-Around Tour

Consider this, three buses, a few hundred nerds and three stops at fine dining establishments in the Chicago area. Here is what it looks like.


SCNA After Hours

So half way through this post, I noticed this tweet from Uncle Bob and had to asks myself, “Self what the hell are you doing alone in your room blogging. Go forth and drink with your fellow conf attendees!” So here I sit watching Dave Hoover pound back Scotch and consider climbing the walls and watching Uncle Bob drink pedialite and  drinking to a damn fine first day.

And finally, I got all the folks I wanted to sign the back of my Kindle.


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