Monthly Archives: July 2009

Central Ohio Speaking Tour / CodeStock Wrap-up

07 Jul 2009
by mjeaton, posted in Uncategorized   |  Comments Off

Central Ohio

On June 23, 24 and 25th, I had the opportunity to speak at the Cincinnati, Dayton and Columbus .NET user groups on Software Estimation.  This is a topic that is rarely talked about so I’ve been on a mission to get developers thinking about it.  Over the course of 3 days, 117 people heard me talk about the importance of estimation.  Hopefully those people will start doing what they can to improve their own estimates and get their employers to realize how ineffective our current methods are.  I have a good time giving that talk and it’s one I hope to continue giving at user groups.

I want to thank the user group leaders for having me.  The leaders of these groups are not only people I look up to and admire in the community, but good friends as well.  The members of the groups were all very engaged in the topic and asked a lot of great questions, many of which are being incorporated into the talk.

I really enjoyed the trip because I got to hang out and talk to a lot of friends I don’t get to see very often.  I have to thank Dan Hounshell for opening his house to me a *second* time this month (the first was for the ORM Firestarter on June 13).  Without friends like Dan, trips like this would be a lot tougher to justify due to the cost of hotels for multiple nights. 

On Tuesday, I spoke at the Cincinnati user group.  There were about 40 people in the audience.  I was a bit nervous because I hadn’t given the talk since the Indy Code Camp in May.  After my talk, I demoed Zen for those that were interested (I’ll be writing a post or two about Zen in the coming days).  A bunch of us went out for drinks afterwards.  It really was nice to sit outside, have a drink or two, relax and chat about anything and everything.

During the day on Wednesday, I hung out at a Panera not too far from Wright State University.  I managed to get a little work done on my presentation during the day and before I knew it, it was time to head to the venue.  The Dayton group was a bit smaller with only 17 attendees, but just as engaged.  After the event, Justin Kohnen and I hit up the nearby BW3 and talked about life as an independent consultant until midnight.  Good times. :-)

On Thursday the 25th, Joe invited me to come hang out at the EdgeCase office in Columbus.  While I was a stranger to most, Joe made me feel at home.  I tried to keep out of the way while I was there, but I have to say, I really enjoyed listening to all the collaboration that took place while I was there.  It was an environment I haven’t experienced before and honestly, it made me realize how much I’m missing as an independent consultant.  Joe and I had a great conversation at the end of the day before I headed to the user group meeting.  In fact, I was so engaged in the conversation with Joe that I didn’t leave the EdgeCase office until 5:30 and the user group meeting started at 6!  Once I hit the parking lot they call I71, I called Jeff to tell him I’d probably be late to the user group.  :-)   Thankfully he told me NOT to get off on Polaris Pkwy and instead head to the next exit.  Good call!  I ended up walking through the door just after 6. 

Columbus was by far the largest group I talked to with 60 people in attendance.  As with Cinci and Dayton, the group was very engaged and had a lot of great questions.  After the group, a bunch of us went out for dinner and drinks at Hoggy’s.  We started out on the patio, but we were eventually forced inside due to a storm that rolled through.  It was a great time with lots of jokes made at each other’s expense. ;-)

I stayed Thursday night at Bender’s house bachelor pad. :-)   We talked about music for a bit and finally headed to bed around midnight.


We were up bright and early Friday morning for our 5+ hour drive to Knoxville for CodeStock.  It was great to talk to James completely unfiltered during the drive.  By the time we hit Knoxville, we were laughing our asses off, mostly at the expense of those living south of Cinci. ;-)

My “Developing Solid WPF Applications” was scheduled for 2:20 on Friday, so by the time we arrived at 1pm, I had enough time to say hi to a few people and make sure my demos were working before giving the talk to a FULL room.  By full, I mean I had a few people sitting on the floor in the front of the room. :-)   I’m my biggest critic, so I know that a few things went wrong during the session, but I got some good / positive feedback right after the session ended.  I ended up hanging out for the rest of the day with Alan and a bunch of other speakers (too many to list).

On Saturday, I sat in Leon’s AWESOME Ruby Koans session.  I’ve been making my way through the Koans, so it was great to sit down and show Leon where I was and get some feedback.  After that session, Leon, Tim Wingfield, Dean Weber and I went to lunch and then came back to the end of Mike Wood’s excellent “Be a Better Developer” session.  That was followed by an open space on the same subject.  Good times. :-)   After the closing circle, a bunch of us headed to the Chop House for dinner before heading to the major after-party at Alan’s house.

I can’t express enough how awesome it was to see all my friends again, but after 5 days, it was nice to be home again. :-)

Thanks again to the user group leaders for allowing me to speak to their groups.  Thanks to the speaker selection team for CodeStock for selecting me and finally, thanks for all the attendees who sat through my talks. :-)  

2nd Annual Michigan Give Camp in Ann Arbor – July 17-19, 2009

06 Jul 2009
by mjeaton, posted in Uncategorized   |  Comments Off

In less than 2 weeks, the 2nd Annual Michigan Give Camp in Ann Arbor will be upon us.  It’s hard to believe that almost a year has passed since the first Give Camp in Ann Arbor!  When I talk to people about Give Camp, here is what I normally tell them:

“In the 15 years that I’ve been a software developer, the first Ann Arbor Give Camp was the most physically and emotionally exhausting weekend of my life, but absolutely the most satisfying thing I’ve ever done related to software development.”

If you’re a developer of any level, a designer, DBA or PM and want to help out some great charities, head over to the registration site and sign up.  If you’re involved with a non-profit organization in the state of Michigan and want to send us a proposal, there’s still time to submit.  Check out this post on the Michigan Give Camp website for more information.  You can also follow us on twitter.  If you have any questions at all about participating in the Give Camp (either as a developer or a nonprofit), email  If you’re interested in sponsoring the Michigan Give Camp, contact

If you’re in Ohio, a Give Camp is planned for the same weekend in Columbus.  Head over to their site and sign up.  If you’re interested in sponsoring the Columbus Give Camp, check out their Sponsors page.  If you’re in Knoxville, TN, several developers have already committed to holding a satellite Give Camp.  Contact Nate Blevins if you’re interested.

Microsoft MVP

06 Jul 2009
by mjeaton, posted in Uncategorized   |  3 Comments

On July 1st around 11:30, I received an email with the subject of “Congratulations 2009 Microsoft MVP!”  To say I was stunned would be putting it lightly. :-)   Over the past few days, a number of my friends have announced that they were not being renewed as MVPs, so honestly the closer it got to July 1st, the more I convinced myself that I wouldn’t be one of those receiving the award this quarter. 

For my friends that don’t know about the MVP Program, here’s a snippet from the email I received:

“This award is given to exceptional technical community leaders who actively share their high quality, real world expertise with others.”

As I said, I was pretty shocked when that email arrived in my inbox.  What’s really cool is that around the same time, my friend Nate received the same email. :-)   I was also pleased to find out my friend John Stockton (no, not the basketball player) also received the award.

I gotta thank a few people because as cheesy as it sounds, I couldn’t have done it alone.

The first person I need to thank is Dustin Campbell.  After I complained on a mailing list about how I was too far from user groups to attend / speak, Dustin approached me at Codemash 2008 and said (his exact words), “Dude, don’t be a p****.  Get out there and speak.”  Keep in mind that at the time, Dustin was kind of a big deal around Heartland, so who was I to argue. ;-)   Anyway, Dustin, thanks for motivating me to get off my ass and into the community.

Over the past couple of years, Josh Holmes has gone from being “that guy from Microsoft” to a close friend and mentor.  He has been a guiding force in my development in the community since my first user group talk in Toledo in February 2008.  Josh, thanks for being there.

Jim Holmes and Mike Wood have both been inspirations and without leaders like them in the community, I probably would have stopped being so involved a long time ago.

Nate, James, Jayme, Sean and Dave have helped keep me grounded during my speaking “tours” and making me realize how important it is to “do something”, not just talk.

Thanks to the Microsoft evangelists (Jeff, Jennifer and Brian) in my region for being such great supporters of our dev community.

Big thanks to my family for being so supportive while I traveled all over to attend / speak at some really cool events. :-)

There are so many others, but I know I’ll forget someone, so we’ll leave it at this: thanks everyone. ;-)