Last week I was at the DevDay 2012 conference in Kraków. Not the first conf in my life, but this was different. This one left some disturbing, yet inspiring thoughts in my mind. I suck. I’m a phony. And I need to do something about it. Like right now.

The conference itself had freakin’ awesome speaker lineup. Just look it up yourself. I got excited when I saw Scott Hanselman‘s tweet, saying something like “See you in Poland”. I knew I had to be there, and I would do everything to get there. Then I saw whole agenda, and realized that all speakers are very interesting people. And best of all – it was free. Totaly free, like free beer free. Even better, company which sponsored whole event didn’t want to stick it in your face. Just a little logo here, banner there, some leaflets. Very classy.

Scott’s talk was all about productivity, and how to get what’s important from information flood, we get everyday. Most of what he presented I have read before on his blog, so there was nothing groundbreaking for me. But having this all in one presentation, and seeing Scott live was really great experience.

There were other talks, that were much more technical. Rob Ashton spoke about how JavaScript sucks, and how you can deal with it. He showed some tricks and tools, that make JS development a little bit less painful. Sebastien Lambla gave a talk about HTTP caching. He had very energetic attitude, but I didn’t get much from his presentation. This lacked some visual aids or better examples. There was also talk by Mark Rendle in which he showed some less known coding tricks and techniques that he used in his Simple.Data and Simple.Web frameworks. This one showed, that for complicated tasks, there will always be complicated code. If you don’t see it, it must be somewhere under the hood. I’ll probably never use some of the tricks that Mark showed, but they were fun to watch. On the other hand I didn’t enjoy Antek Piechnik‘s presentations. It was full of slogans, without any specifics, and sounded more like advertising of his company than informative talk. And the end of the day Greg Young talked about how to quickly jump into new project and identify most important problems as a consultant. I don’t remember much of this, because I was really tired at this point. Seven 1-hour talks is a little bit too much, especially if you didn’t sleep much last night.

There was one not-so-technical talk during a day, that I found most awesome and inspiring. It was Martin Mazur‘s “Why you should talk to strangers”. There was technical part, that showed what kind of inspiration we as .net developers can have from other languages. Martin went through interesting concepts from languages like Ruby, Erlang or Haskell, and how they can be applied in C#. In the other part he focused what .net community can gain from looking at other communities. He compared how stiff in so many areas are guys coding in C# and Java compared to Ruby Developers. There is some notion, that our conferences must be dead serious and our frameworks must be named super professional, and there are no good reasons for that. There is nothing wrong in bringing marching band to conference. And “God won’t kill kittens if we name library silly” (that was one of my favorite quotes).

I also had a chance to fly back with Martin on one plane form KRK to WAW, so we could chat a little about agile practices and how to become better developer. I found this part of the conference most inspiring. I realized that I’m only few years younger than Martin, and If I want to grow as a developer, I need to change some things in my life. In couple of years ahead I would like to be more like Martin Mazur, and less like my coworkers who are his age.

Generally, the networking part of the conference was awesome. I met some great people like Michał and Rafał, who organized conference. I had chance to talk to speakers personally, which was great experience. I even had my “13yo-girl-at-Justin-Bieber’s-concert” moment, when Scott signed my t-shirt ;). Talks were good, but you can watch them on the Internet. To engage in interesting discussion with people, you have to be there. And have courage to talk to strangers. That’s why I’m planning to attend more conferences. Actually, while writing this words, I’m waiting for my plane to Malmö, to attend Leatspeak. More to come!

* This blog post is one of the outputs of the DevDay. I hope, this is beginning of my regular blogging. I wanted to do it for a long time, but didn’t know how to start. During conference Scott Hanselman told story that comedian Paul Raiser told in some podcast. Paul met the actor Peter Falk and asked him if there was a secret to writing a movie script. Peter Falk said “get some paper, put it in a typewriter, type FADE IN…and keep typing.”

4 thoughts on “FADE IN *”

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