Best CodeCamp Ever!!!
I just returned from the Ft. Lauderdale Code Camp and IMHO it was the best Code Camp that I have had to honor to present at. The term "Best", of course, is such a subjective term so let me explain further. For starters, the location of the event was Devry University, and it lent itself to a really great venue for multiple tracks because it is filled with classrooms setup for doing technical presentations. With over 600 people signed up (not sure of the exact figure that attended, but it was definitely a high majority of that amount) this kind of facility is key. It had a good open area for lunch filled with tables organized to allowed people to connect. I presented quite a few sessions myself, 5 in all, and they all went very well. Many of my sessions spawned some really good conversations from the audience. I got quite a bit of nice feedback from them. Most importantly, thanks to my cat-like reflexes I was able to dodge all of the tomatoes and oranges.
What really made this event the "Best CodeCamp Ever" had nothing to do with the venue, success of the tracks, SWAG or even the technical content of the event. It gained this title by the level of interaction between the attendees. I have never seen anything like it. People really connected in this event and seemed more like a big group of friends meeting up than a bunch of developers attending a techie event. I have long believed that events like these have the opportunity or providing a good networking environment. Why is this important? When you are looking to hire or for help with a project, you usually go to friends or people you know first before hitting the resume pile. When people get a chance to chat and intermingle at events like these, they become closer as a technical community,many friendships are born and people get subconciously put on that "friends list". Not every technical event succeeds at this secondary goal of community building, but this CodeCamp really nailed it!
In the closing ceremony, Joe Healy and Russ Fustino were part of an awards ceremony where they were recognized for their contributions to the development community. As anybody in South Florida knows, one of the reasons that there is such a strong development community in South Florida is due to the support by folks like Russ and Joe who help to make events like these happen. They were the first two inductees in the Community Credit Hall of Fame and presented with an award recognizing their contributions. Kudos to them! Other ardent supporters of our development community that were also recognized at the CodeCamp as well as at the previous .NET Pub Club were Shervin Shakibi, Dave Noderer, Joe Homnick, Maureen Homnick, Alex Funkhouser and Pierre Donyegro. It is really great to be part of such a strong tech community.