I really wanted to be a singer and guitarist in my own band, it really was the only thing I cared about deeply when I was young. Turned out I can’t sing and I’m not very good at playing the guitar but I tried really hard for many years.
I started programming when the first home computers became available, the Sinclair ZX-81 and the Commodore 64. I didn’t really get serious about it until I started building and supporting Unix systems while working for Kodak.
For me conferences are all about meeting and networking with developers. It’s common for the product and engineering teams at large companies to build products and features without clearly understanding the needs of developers and attending and presenting at conferences allows me not only show what we’re building and why, but also allows me to gather feedback and to answer questions. As a developer I also get to meet people with similar interests and goals at conferences, I hear about what they are working on and often find myself inspired to do something new.
Voxxed days events are the kind of grass roots events that really excite me, they are made by developers for developers and have strong foundations in the local technical communities. They give local developers access to the kind of content and networking in locations where they are generally harder to find.
Back in the days when I was working at Kodak, we had around 40 customers and just 2 engineers. These customers were spread all around the UK and remote support was vital, particularly as the desktop publishing systems they used were core to the customer’s business. One day a customer some 300 miles away reported that the server had crashed and was reporting disk errors, we then spent the next hour talking someone with no low level computing skills (they created documents with the DTP system) through mapping out bad disk sectors on the Xylogics 260MB hard disk. Amazingly we got it back up and running and there were high fives all round.