Dave Noderer Interview

Feb 4 2011

Dave Noderer of Computer Ways takes time to share his thoughts on community. Dave is a big part of the South Florida .NET Community and he takes time here to say why.

Links referenced in the show:

The music in the show, Have Mercy — Big Walter Horton, was provided by Mevio’s Music Alley.

Transcription

  1. Dave 00:00:24

    Hi, my name’s Dave Noderer. I’m a software developer here in South Florida, out of Deerfield Beach and I’m really interested in community. You know, for years and years, but certainly recently. Over the last 10 years I’ve been the organizer of Florida.NET and we hold usergroup meetings and Code Camps and lots of other events. So I’m always excited to talk about community. And the way I got started in the .NET community was INETA. It’s the International .NET Association. And around about 2000 there was talk of, well it was when .NET was first introduced and it wasn’t even out yet really. And the idea was to start to build a community around it for developers in particular. And so a bunch of people, particularly Bill Evjen and Eric Ewing from Microsoft, and Bill is actually from Reuters and lives in St. Louis, decided to start a initiative that would start to build a community. So I got wind of that and I wanted to get involved so I bugged them and we started Florida.NET in 2001. It was me and Jason Beres, Shervin Shakibi and Stacy Draper and we started having monthly meetings. And then I got involved with INETA and we actually grew from 0 to 768 groups worldwide between 2002 and 2005.

  2. Wow.

  3. And so that was a lot of fun. So I got to, at one time I was in charge of the world. And so I was contacting people in countries I’d never even heard of. So I had to go, always go to a map to see where they were and what they did, you know, for products and things like that. So that was really interesting. And I found some interesting cultural things like the people from India didn’t really want to contact the people from Pakistan even though, from my viewpoint, they were close and they should be communicating/coordinating.

  4. Right. Funny thing about the Internet, right? Geography kind of gets thrown out the window a little bit too.

  5. A little bit, a little bit. So that was pretty exciting and I got to meet a lot of people and we’re still going.

  6. Ryan 00:02:31

    That’s really cool. It’s funny, the Internet, even though as much as it connects people, it oftentimes it can seem like a pretty lonely place, right? Like, once people start becoming either remote workers, virtuals, you know, however you define that role of kind of not working in an office, it seems like this is even more important for people to kind of, how do you meet people and hang out with them.

  7. Dave 00:02:55

    Right. I mean, this was one of the challenges with INETA because Microsoft viewed usergroups has hobbyist organizations, not something a professional developer would ever go to. And so, they were, actually their Developer Evangelists, the people in the field, were prohibited from interacting with usergroups because it was a waste of time because it was just hobbyists. So that’s one thing INETA did is it really got their attention because we built this huge network of groups and hundreds of thousands of developers worldwide and they say, “Oh, maybe this is important.” And so by 2005 and 2006 the Developer Evangelists, it was actually part of their job description. And I don’t know how many people know but Microsoft; at least on the developer and platform division of Microsoft out in the field, they have people called Developer Evangelists. So our developer evangelist is Joe Healy out of Tampa. And he’s done a really great job of keeping the Florida community together. But when we first started INETA he wasn’t really even allowed to talk to us. It was very frustrating. So it’s interesting to see Microsoft’s viewpoint of community change from something that was maybe in forums or online only to, you know, expand to the in-person. And I think that’s kind of what you’re getting at is that the, you know, it’s kind of lonely just being/sitting in a room talking on a forum. And it’s a lot of benefit to get out and actually meet people and interact in person and that’s what usergroups are all about.

  8. Ryan 00:04:25

    It’s interesting to think that the idea of blurring the lines between professionals and enthusiasts is kind of new, right? Because now it just feels like that’s, you know, some of the sharpest people are the ones where, you know, their hobby is their passion is their lifeblood, right?

  9. Right.

  10. And for that to have just been completely just off the radar previously and then there not even be framework to have those kind of communities involved. That’s just…

  11. Right.

  12. …crazy to think of because it’s just a way of life now.

  13. Dave 00:04:57

    And then I think you can see the other progression is, you know, Microsoft’s viewed as a very closed organization to now, really they’re one of the biggest players in open-source. And a lot of their internal projects really are published as open-source. And a lot of times products get started as community-driven open-source things and then get adopted as products or integrated in with the product lines like, you know, jQuery, for example, you know, showed up in the Visual Studio 2010. But that was all javascript community people, totally.

  14. Ryan 00:05:26

    Yeah. And where does that line even stop, right? Like, it doesn’t, once you get into the front-end languages it’s kind of silly for any of that to be siloed because of your back-end language choice.

  15. Dave 00:05:37

    Right. Exactly. So anyway, so I’m all about community. So we started Florida.NET. We started having usergroups here in South Florida. So now we have them in, you know, Deerfield Beach, in Ft. Lauderdale, in Miramar. At one point, we actually started a group in Tampa. Jason, Shervin, and I would do a road trip every month to Tampa: it’s like about a four-hour drive each way. But we’d do a road trip. A bunch of us would go up, found a place to have a meeting, and we’d have a meeting and hang around a little bit and drive back. So we always had a designated driver because on the way back, usually, everybody else was having a cocktail or two. But it was a lot of fun. And then we met Keith Kabza up there and he ended up really taking the group and running with it, so. But I think we did road trips for about a year. We tried to do similar things in Orlando. We helped Joel get started up there a little bit. And so that’s been a lot of fun. So now it’s a nice big network and the great thing now is that whenever anybody around the state has an event everybody else helps out. For example, we’re having our seventh Code Camp coming up on February 12th. And, you know, people from all over the state are coming to speak. It’s really great. It’s all MVPs and I don’t know if people, do you know what an MVP is?

  16. Yeah, but why don’t you go ahead and describe that for everybody listening.

  17. Dave 00:06:58

    Yeah. It’s just basically a Most Valuable Professional from Microsoft. And these are, I guess a couple thousand around the world and they’re usually associated with product groups. But basically, they’re people who are very active in the community. Historically, it was all online answering questions in the forums and things like that and that’s now actually morphed along with this whole transition we were talking about to, you know, people that go out and speak a lot. So, you know, you’ll find a lot of the people speaking at usergroups, you know, may actually be MVPs in their own area. And so all the MVPs around the state basically know each other, at least the developer MVPs, and we go and help out at each other’s events. This Code Camp coming up we have 78 scheduled sessions and 13 tracks. We have 63 speakers. You know, some from around the country, you know, a bunch from around the state, and then the rest of them are all local. And they submitted 110 sessions and I understand actually you’re still going to submit one too. So we’re kind of filled up but what we do is we try to get people in, especially people that don’t speak too much. Historically, Code Camp’s been a place where people can start speaking, you know? They can actually try it out. And we’ve successfully, I think, recruited a lot of new speakers over the years. And once you start speaking, getting out in the community, then you are on a path where you might become an MVP someday.

  18. Ryan 00:08:19

    It’s interesting that it makes that transition to the way that you, you know, get this ranking of, you know, Valuable Player is just by getting out there and being active in the community. I think that’s great. Like, the idea that they have people with roles of Evangelists is one thing but then to really kind of double down on that and then, you know, kind of set up some sort of, like, reward structure for people to just get out there and promote community also. It seems like it’s a lot of, putting a lot of effort into that.

  19. Dave 00:08:48

    Yeah. Hey, you know, most of all this is just all volunteer effort. It’s really all, you know, nobody’s really getting paid. You know, even the MVPs, nobody’s getting paid. We get, like, a free MSDN subscription, which is nice and a few other things but really it’s not like anybody’s getting paid. It’s really, well, people just like to do it, I think, you know? People like to get out, you know. It’s probably self-promotion so you can get out if you have a business or you wrote a book or something like that, you can, you know, get out and promote it. But I think people just enjoy doing it and they like the hanging out with other MVPs. And you don’t have to be an MVP either, that’s the other thing. A lot of people say, “Oh, look at those people. Like, they all know each other,” you know. “I can’t get in there.” Well you can, believe me. You could go to any usergroup leader and volunteer to give a talk and you’re likely to get in to do something and build up your reputation and get more involved with the community. So I really encourage everybody to do that. It’s really not that scary, you know. A lot of times, I could tell, like, if somebody’s talking, they’re really enthusiastic about something and I say, “Well, why don’t you just give a talk?” “Oh really? Really? I never thought about that. Well, now I’m thinking about it.” And then all of a sudden they’re thinking about it and then they could actually come and do something. So that’s pretty exciting to watch too. And a lot of times people just need somebody to say, “Yeah, you can talk. Yeah. Why don’t you talk at the next meeting? You know, get something prepared or we’ll even let you do like a little 15 minute session. You don’t even have to do like a whole two-hour talk. Just do something little.” And you can get started on it too.

  20. Ryan 00:10:20

    Yeah. It seems like a lot of people, they’re more than willing to, you know, kind of lurk in the community, but it almost seems like people are kind of wired to feel as though they need permission to speak at these things or they need some sort of, you know, notoriety. But it’s kind of a funny thing if you look at it the other way where that’s how they get that, I don’t know, “prestige” isn’t the right word but, you know, that kind of, probably, more just about the confidence of feeling like they know what they’re talking about. It actually comes more from just getting out there and talking and, you know?

  21. Dave 00:10:54

    Yeah, it does. And, really, that’s really up to the leaders in the community to encourage people to do that. And I’ve found hundreds and hundreds of times over the years where I’ve just said to somebody, “So, well, why don’t you give a talk?” “Oh, I never thought about that.” Or maybe they did think about it but they didn’t actually think about it seriously. So it’s really pretty easy to do. And almost any usergroup leader can structure, you know, some kind of time for you to get up and say something or do something that would be easy and non-threatening. You know, just say what you want to do. So the other interesting thing that we have in Florida, we actually have, it turns out, one of the strongest developer communities worldwide. Even, you know, California, some of those other places, they look to Florida and they’ve heard about the community in Florida. And I don’t know if you’re aware of that but we have a very strong, especially the Microsoft developers.

  22. Ryan 00:11:47

    Well, I’ve known that the local developers like to think so, but I wasn’t aware that they were actually getting recognized form all over for that. That’s really encouraging.

  23. Dave 00:11:55

    Oh yeah. If you go to any other part of the country, there’s a couple hotbeds, you know, like Dallas has a pretty strong community. There’s a couple of places where there’s very strong communities, but Florida, overall, is perhaps the strongest. It kind of started with INETA because we started, you know, kind of tying together all the cities. But then once Joe Healy got involved, you know, part of his job description was then to help usergroups and developer community. You know, now it’s really tightened and it’s really strong and he really does a lot of work to help keep us all together. And it’s really great and, I don’t know. I just like to be part of that. The other thing we have is Regional Directors, you know. Somebody will say, “Well, I’m a Microsoft Regional Director.” And they’re actually not employees of Microsoft, they’re volunteers like an MVP. There’s much fewer, I think a couple hundred worldwide at most. And, locally, we have Joe Homnick that runs the Gold Coast usergroup as a longtime regional director. And Shervin Shakibi you might know too. He’s also a Regional Director down here in South Florida. And so they are supposed to help foster the community. And so that’s just another term you might hear come up besides MVP: Regional Director.

  24. So one thing I’m curious, there’s no direct gain for you. And you put a whole lot of work into building this community. Why do you think you do that?

  25. I don’t know. My wife asks me that all the time.

  26. I bet.

  27. Dave 00:13:22

    “Why aren’t you out making money?” Like, this actually costs me money, you know? I’m a consultant and I bill by the hour and if I spend an hour volunteering I’m not spending it making money, basically.

  28. Right.

  29. I think, I started my software business 16 years ago. And so, at first, I started going into usergroup meetings and I started getting business. So I, you know, got more involved. So that was kind of the driver in the beginning. But now, it really doesn’t matter anymore. I’ve been around for a long time and I’ve, in some ways, plenty of business. And so I think I just enjoy it. I don’t know why I do it. You know, it’s just a foolish thing in some ways. But I really enjoy it. I like mentoring people. I’m always, you know, looking for, like, the next MVP. Always try to be mentoring an MVP or two and help them along. I like to get people into leadership positions in the community, you know, to get them in charge. Somebody says, “I want to start a usergroup.” I say, “Great. I’ll help,” you know. “How can I help?” You know, I’ve helped start a number of usergroups like that. So I guess that’s what I get out of it. Just, you know, personal satisfaction. But I also have to say I’m involved in other community things too. Here in Deerfield Beach, I’m on the Board of Directors of the Chamber of Commerce, I’m involved with Kiwanis, I’m trying to get a leadership program going here. You know, so I’m involved, in fact, this weekend at the arts festival I’m in charge of the South End beer tent if you want to come up and say hi.

  30. Sounds like fun.

  31. Yeah.

  32. Ryan 00:14:46

    It’s an interesting trend I’ve noticed from talking to people who are active in communities. It seems like the people who have a community that’s more thriving, like, you were just talking about how the different things that you’re associated with are growing, and you ask them why they do it and, yeah, they do tend to just say like what you said, “I don’t know, it just seemed like the thing to do.” Whereas when I talk to other people, like, I’ve gone to different meetups and, you know, maybe they’re, well I’m not going to call anybody out, but they have, like, direct benefits like company goals and metrics that they’re evaluated on whether, you know, with this community. And it seems like, more often than not, those are the ones that are kind of middling, right? They’re not going so big and I think there’s just something, there’s a little bit of magic to it when someone involved in the community is just really just trying to do a good thing because they just feel like it’s the thing to do.

  33. Dave 00:15:37

    Yeah, I think there’s a little bit more passion to it and I think other people see it. You know, if I look at somebody and they, you know, they’re running something and you can tell if it’s purely for profit, kind of, which is fine. We’re not Communists and profit is good and business is great but you have to have a little bit more of a holistic viewpoint of your community, be it, you know, your town or your developer community, or whatever else if you want to help out.

  34. Ryan 00:16:02

    Yeah. I think the thing is just what’s the core thing that drives it. Because I think, ultimately, you lay back mind like water, and, you know, good things do come of it, but if that’s the thing that kind of drives your decision-making, you know, you just kind of, it doesn’t always go exactly according to plan.

  35. Dave 00:16:19

    Right. It’s very organic, you know. And you can’t control it and it’s frustrating sometimes and, you know, working with volunteers is both rewarding and painful sometimes.

  36. Yeah.

You know, it’s not like in a company where, well it’s even true in a company. Like, you can tell people to do things but, you know, unless you’re really convincing them they want to do it or they’re doing it for their own… You know, people will only do things in their own best interests, ultimately. And so you have to keep that in mind and you can’t force people to do things. So you have to be happy with what they do do and how they do it because they should be having fun doing it.

  • Ryan 00:16:59

    You know, but sometimes that actually works to your advantage because, you know, when people are volunteering for something it’s because, man, they just wholeheartedly believe in the cause. You know, like, they just want this event to be the best event that they can do. Whereas, you know, you’re less likely to get somebody who’s, you know, phoning it in for the paycheck because it’s more like the social norms, right? It’s more like they feel like they ought to be doing this instead of just trying to see the minimum that they can get away with to kind of cash in on it.

  • Dave 00:17:25

    And the other thing is you get better ideas. I’m always amazed at the ideas people come up with. And, you know, I think we should do something a certain way and I kind of lay out a path, but I know that somebody’s going to come up with a better idea and that’s great. And so I think you have to be a little bit flexible and listen and make sure that you’re listening and let people, you know, lead in a way that they want to lead. I know, you know, it’s like somebody wants to come and do an event. You know, I can give them all my, you know experience and wisdom I guess in some ways, but ultimately they have to go run it the way they want to run it. And it may succeed, it may fail. But whatever it is, they’re going to introduce some new ideas that I never thought of. So I always enjoy watching that too.

  • Yeah, I bet, I bet. It becomes a little bit more like the ant farm, right?

  • Dave 00:18:17

    Yeah, right. The other thing that’s always kind of baffled all of us is that, you know, we’re all software developers. And maybe it’s just a little bit more like a creative venture in some ways and a little bit more organic, but we’ve always tried to get IT Pro people involved in community. You know, come out for usergroups and events and things like that and, you know, there’s some. There’s a couple groups. There’s a small business server group, you know, that’s been going on for a number of years. There’s, Adnan Cartwright has a little IT Pro group that runs out of the Microsoft office in Ft. Lauderdale. But it seems to be difficult, generally, to get IT Pro people out and into a community situation. I don’t know if you have any experience with that or not.

  • Ryan 00:19:03

    No, but I do have a related kind of thing where I’ve noticed that developers tend to go to more of, you know, like, a meetup kind of thing than even designers, as a rule. And I’ve heard that from different regions too, not like a local thing. It’s something about the way people are wired up and what it is that they’re looking for that just seems different.

  • Dave 00:19:25

    Right. But it seems like there’s so much benefit that even IT Pro people could get from talking to each other a lot more.

  • Yeah.

  • You know, just in the companies I go into I see, you know, people are, you know, they’re kind of sitting in their back office. They don’t know what’s going on. Because I’m involved in all sorts of communities. I see all this stuff going on and they’re just not even aware of it. You know, even just being aware of current products from Microsoft or something or techniques or tools or whatever. Just, they’re kind of missing a lot, I think.

  • Ryan 00:19:57

    I agree. But I guess it’s sort of a “preaching to the choir” thing when we talk about it. And it’s been in something similar that I’ve noticed too. Doing the podcast, the people who are willing to talk to me on this, a recurring theme is how important, you know, developer communities are to them to some capacity. And I’d be wrong to infer from that that most people do find that very important. Because then I go out and I talk to other people and it’s, “No, why would I do that?”

  • Exactly.

  • “I’ve got a job and then I’ve got a family,” which not that there’s anything wrong with that. But they just say, “You know, there’s no room for this idea of, like, kind of fraternizing off the clock with people who do things like that.” And that seems like it’s actually a majority of people. It just isn’t a majority of people that I know.

  • Dave 00:20:48

    Yeah. It is a majority of people. And, you know, if you have a young family, for example, I totally understand. You’re consumed. You have a bunch of little kids running around, you know, that’s where your extra time is. It’s spending with the kids and that’s okay. But there’s everybody else, you know. That section of your life lasts for a certain number of years. But then, you know, people really should get out and get involved. Even if it’s not developer stuff, get involved with community stuff too. You know, there’s all sorts of stuff going on in your community and the more people that are involved the better. To me, I mean, it just makes a better world. So I did want to encourage everybody to sign up for Code Camp. You know, it’s fladotnet.com/codecamp. And I also wanted to mention some other events coming up. There’s Scott Klein who runs the two SQL Server groups here in South Florida, and a couple of other people are organizing a geek golf tournament. They had the first one last year and this next one’s going to be on May 21st. And that’s easy to find, it’s southfloridageekgolf.com. And also, I’ll just point out that we have SQL Saturday that usually happens in July. We had our first SharePoint Saturday in December. So I didn’t actually, I don’t actually organize these. I just help out a little bit. And SharePoint’s another interesting thing. It seems like worldwide there’s a ton of SharePoint and yet there’s not that much SharePoint community down here in South Florida. And we have Chuck Hughes who has been running a SharePoint usergroup for a couple of years but he’s busy too, you know. And it just seems like it hasn’t quite blossomed the way that I would imagine it would if I could believe all the people that are actually using SharePoint. Maybe they’re all IT Pro people. I don’t know. I don’t know if you have any visibility to that in your talks.

  • Ryan 00:22:37

    No. No, I haven’t noticed that. But there are various communities and just sometimes the Venn diagrams happen to not overlap. Like, I know I was talking to a guy, Brian Breslin, he does the Refresh Miami stuff and he has a hand in Refresh Ft. Lauderdale. And, you know, he’s pretty switched on to, you know, like, startups and different Internet companies down here. And he had just said, “You know, I’ve never run into anyone from Citrix. I’ve just never done that.” Like, I’ve never, at all the different events he goes to, you know, not just the ones that he runs, he’s like, “it just, you know, just seemed confusing. Like, there’s got to be tons of people there.” How does it just never that they run into him. And then, so I happen to know a guy that works there and I just, you know, asked him about that. I was like, you know, what is? He’s like, “Ah, well we have groups, we have things that we do.” He’s like, “None of those.” Like, you know, not a lot of local events that they go to but they have different, you know, like regional or whatever. But it’s not that they don’t have some sort of involvement in looking around and meeting people; it’s just sort of they just have a very different approach.

  • Dave 00:23:46

    Right. Well they have been a little bit involved. For a couple of years we had a usergroup meeting at Citrix in Ft. Lauderdale. But it was interesting. There’s, you know, the couple of people that were involved in the usergroup. But even though we were in the same building, very rarely would anybody actually from Citrix come down to the meeting.

  • Oh, okay.

  • And it was kind of strange. And there’s a couple of people that come from Citrix to meetings, for sure. But, yeah, it’s not that much. The other company in the area, Ultimate Software. They’re a sponsor of Code Camp and they always come out and speak at Code Camp and they speak at usergroups too. I don’t see them coming out in big numbers to usergroup meetings but, you know, they are involved with the community. Yeah, and the other thing, like, you mentioned, like, the meetup.com. Everybody else seems to use meetup.com besides Microsoft people. And even some Microsoft related groups. And there’s all sorts of groups. There’s Web groups, you know, jQuery, there’s designer groups. Have you been to any of those: the non-Microsoft technology groups?

  • Ryan 00:24:52

    Yeah. I’ve been to a handful with mixed results. But there’s definitely some great ones out there. I, from time to time, go to one for Android development because I think there’s some great things to be learned from talking to those guys. This guy, Andrej, he’s running that. And I actually have been running one for about, I don’t know, a year and a half or so that’s design-centric. So it’s not tied to any language or framework. Just people trying to figure out how to make better products.

  • And when is that? Where do you hold that or how do you run that?

  • Ryan 00:25:28

    It’s down in Miami. We usually run it about the second Wednesday of every month. And it’s, Design Miami is the name of it. We actually have I’d say roughly half and half split between developers and designers because there’s, you know, designers that want to talk about design and then there’s a lot of developers who know that they need to learn about design.

  • Like me.

  • Yeah. So it’s a great group.

  • I always amaze myself when I can change some CSS and it looks okay.

  • Ryan 00:25:56

    Right. And it, you know it’s not just that. Sometimes it’s just how do you solve a problem. Because I think it’s easy to try to optimize a solution so that it’s easy to develop and then what you have in the end is something that does something that no one wants to use.

  • Right. There’s a whole lot of aspects to that. And what do you, like, you say these meetup things, some are successful some aren’t. Like, what do you view as successful?

  • Ryan 00:26:19

    I would say if people continue to come and tell a friend that it was good. Because I’ve seen a lot of them where the attendance is very transient. Where, you know, it just seems like people kind of taste it once and say, “That’s not really for me.” And I think if you can’t have people coming back on a regular basis, you have a hard time building some sort of culture where people kind of know what to expect. And that’s where I think the really interesting richness starts coming. Because it’s ultimately about fostering some kind of relationship with these people.

  • Dave 00:26:53

    Right. So, to me, it’s not so much about numbers. A lot of people say, “Well, I’m having a meeting but, you know, only fifteen people show up.”

  • Right.

  • Well that’s okay. You know, there’s nothing wrong with that as long as they come and they like it.

  • Right.

  • We had a meeting in Ft Lauderdale for a number of years at Citrix. And then we got booted out of Citrix so we started, I started, like, an online meeting. So I was doing two months of online and then a geek dinner every quarter and that was okay. But, you know, some of the online were okay, but it didn’t really get the same traction. So now a few months ago I started Deerfield Beach Coders Cafe. And so we meet in the back of a Mexican restaurant over here in the Cove. And it’s actually a lot of fun, you know. It’s a lot more intimate. We’ve had 40 or 50 people the last couple of times. Just like a flat-screen TV with the projector. Everyone sitting at tables. We have a sponsor buying appetizers, but a lot of people get dinner and they’ll get drinks. It seems to be a lot more informal and, you know, more fun, really. And that’s, it has to be fun. All this stuff has to be fun. If you don’t have fun doing it, either as a volunteer or as a participant, then you’re not going to go again.

  • Ryan 00:28:02

    Yeah. It’s that kind of weird balance where I think people need to feel like they’re learning something or, I don’t know. Somehow furthering themselves in a business sense. But it also has to be fun and I think if they tend to be too much of either it’s not necessarily something that has legs.

  • Dave 00:28:22

    Right, right. There’s got to be a balance. Because, like, some people come and they, you know, they’re busily taking notes. Other people are just, you know, ordering their next beer, so you never know.

  • Yeah.

  • But yeah. But you’re right. It has to be, it always has to be good content. So I think that’s really one thing you’re saying is that there’s no good content either, you know, from a presenter or from the participants, than people won’t come back.

  • Ryan 00:28:47

    Yeah. That’s the hard part. And that ties back to what we were talking about earlier is that good content can come from anybody though. So it seems like running these events really the hard part is just getting everybody to want to be a little bit more vocal.

  • Dave 00:29:00

    Right. Although I will say that, you know, well-known speakers will draw a bigger crowd. But not that that should stop anybody, but just that’s a fact. Because if we have Joe Healy come down from Tampa, you know, he’s blogging it and publishing it all over the place. And, you know, people just want to come and see the Microsoft person or, you know. And whereas if it’s somebody they don’t know, the turnout might be a little bit less, that’s all.

  • Ryan 00:29:29

    So one thing that I’ve noticed, it seemed all of the events that you’ve mentioned so far have been specifically targeting Microsoft developers. Do you do events that are more kind of platform-agnostic?

  • Dave 00:29:42

    Well, the one thing that we started a few years ago was the ArcSIG: the Architecture Special Interests Group. We actually meet in the Microsoft office. And the idea was really to not be a developer usergroup, to be more architect focused and not necessarily Microsoft particularly. You know, because a lot of these problems have, you know, be it a people problem or, you know, organizational problems, or, you know, technical, you know, design and structure problems. They’re really not technology-specific exactly. And we’ve had some success with that. We’ve also recently, we’ve taken that group and we’ve started the Southeast Florida chapter of the International Software Architects Association. So now we’re having an ArcSIG meeting one month and then having a ISAA meeting the alternate month. So Rainer Habermann is the president of that. So we encourage everybody to join ISAA. And ISAA’s, there’s goal is really education in many ways. They took over this architect certification from Microsoft and they’re a worldwide organization. And I think it’s still developing, but there’s been this talk of if more, you know, making software development eventually, you know, more something like the AMA: like the medical association where, you know, there’s some body that certifies people in some way. And we’re still, it’s still an immature industry, you know, because everybody writes software different ways and things, you know, nobody knows why things fail and don’t fail sometimes. But that’s the general direction. Other people have talked about software guilds. You know, it’s really an artesian kind of thing. Like, you should have an apprenticeship and, you know, journeymen and things like that. So that’s another model that not necessarily ISAA, but I think this whole idea of taking the software profession and making it more professional. You know, how do we get there? So a lot of this is coming out of community, you know? Discussing it and trying to, you know, come up with ideas of how we can push it along.

  • Ryan 00:31:49

    That’s interesting. I like the idea of it’s, well, not that I’m necessarily for or against it, I like to think about that. Like, the idea of professionalism and where it is and how do you foster it.

  • Right.

  • Like, the idea of having, like, a code of ethics and what that does to people, like, just the way that they think about their selves or their field.

  • Right, right. So how you get there is an open and wide debate, for sure.

  • Right.

  • Dave 00:32:14

    Like, this whole ISAA, like, eventually you get to a Master Architect where it’s really very subjective. You go before a panel and you have oral exams and things. And, you know, to some people that’s bad because it should be, you know, not a subjective thing just an objective thing where, you know, it’s like multiple choice tests. And other people say, “Well, you know, you can’t judge somebody’s, you know, design capabilities or their judgment or their experience by, you know, a multiple choice test.”

  • Ryan 00:32:42

    Right. Because standardized testing just tends to fail in pretty much every way that it’s applied, right? It doesn’t mean that it isn’t towards a goal that is worth shooting for, it just seems like the approach has always been wrong.

  • Dave 00:32:54

    Right. So that’s why, you know, we need some clever people to do a lot more thinking about that and figure out, you know, what the future’s going to be. I’ll let you know if I figure it out.

  • All right. Please do. It’s a good puzzle to kind of brew on though.

  • Dave 00:33:08

    It is. And I think the more people that are thinking along those lines or thinking about it and thinking about ways to do that and there’s probably all sorts of levels and ways of doing it, but, you know, I think, you know, the more brainpower we get applied to it the faster it’ll come along.

  • Ryan 00:33:24

    Cool. Well that sounds like a nice note to wrap up on. I just want to point out to everybody again to, if they’re in South Florida check out this Code Camp. We’ll have links in the show notes. That way they can see how a real pro runs an event, right?

  • Yeah, right. Yeah. A real pro volunteer, right?

  • Dave, thanks a lot for your time. I appreciate it. It’s been a lot of fun.

  • Thanks a lot, Ry. Talk to you later.