It’s hard to believe it’s been 8 years since the very first Codemash. I was one of the 220 people that first year. What’s funny to me is that I didn’t know many people that first year, so I stayed in my room and played WoW during the attendee party. In the years since, I’ve come to realize the importance of networking, especially at an event like Codemash.
I’ve been lucky over the past 4 years to have been asked to present my “Going Indie” talk as both 1/2-day and full-day Precompilers. This year, due to the weather, I was asked to do two 1/2 day sessions on Tuesday to help fill in for some speakers dealing with weather-related travel issues. The first session I delivered was “XAML: So easy a web developer can do it”. It’s a fun session to deliver. Even though it was announced at the last minute, I still had a good group of about 30 attendees. When I asked what session they had planned to attend, many said “the MVC session”. I also really enjoyed having Jon Skeet sit in on my session. A couple times I wrote some questionable C# to which he said, “Please don’t do that” He also pointed out a new feature in C# 5.0 that I didn’t know about. Good times.
After 4 hours of XAML, I delivered a 4-hour version of my “Going Indie”. This session is always popular, and I had a great group. The session is always evolving because the longer I’m an indie (13 years and counting), the more I learn. On Wednesday, I delivered the full 8-hour version of the session. Unfortunately, my planned co-presenter, Jeff Strauss, was one of those with travel issues. I was bummed because Jeff, as an attorney, brings a lot to the session. Where I tend to skim legal areas, he’s able to go a lot deeper. While he wasn’t able to make it, my friend and fellow indie, Jim Christoper sat in and helped out. Near the end of the day, Jay Harris also dropped in to help bring yet another perspective to life as an indie / small-business owner. It was also very cool of Eric Lawrence to talk about product development in the last few minutes of the session.
After delivering 16-hours of content over two days, my voice was shot. Thankfully, I had no other talks scheduled, so I was able to enjoy several sessions. Full disclosure: I’ve been on the Codemash speaker selection team for the past 2 years. Whittling the 700+ submissions down to roughly 140 is tough. In my job as the .NET Track Chair, I had to find the best 17 talks out of 140′ish .NET-specific submissions. It sucks having to “reject” so many good talks, but in the end, the 17 I selected were pretty damn solid. If I can give people advice for how to get selected, I’d simply point them to this blog post by Jim Holmes.
Some of the sessions I attended: “C# on a diet with Scriptcs”, “An honest look at independence”, “Lessons from a grizzled speaker” (to which I also contributed at least one tip), “Navigating the open source legal waters” and “Becoming an outlier”.
While I did attend many great sessions, I spent a fair amount of time with friends including the one and only Matt Darby. Monday and Tuesday nights were spent in my room playing some epic games of Cards Against Humanity (The Bigger, Blacker Box). Wednesday, Thursday and Friday were spent talking to good friends with bourbon in hand. I avoided the “big” parties this year. It’s always too loud to actually hold a conversation and honestly, there was no way I was leaving the warm comfort of the main resort to go to the Villas. I also avoided the waterpark.
I’m sad that Jim Holmes and Jason Gilmore are stepping down from Codemash, but I know they’ll both be happier without all the stress that comes with Codemash. I’m also happy for my friend Jason Follas and his new role on the Codemash board.
I went into this years Codemash thinking it might be my last, at least for a while. I’m less convinced now than I was a week ago. I’d love to help out again for the 2015 event. I’d also like to continue delivering my “Going Indie” Precompiler. Hopefully the new board will ask me back.