Dumb and dumber

by Joey deVilla on February 13, 2019

Click the comic to see it at full size.

They may be “dumb”, but combined with a diligent programmer, they are powerful.

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Every week, I compile a list of events for developers, technologists, tech entrepreneurs, and nerds in and around the Tampa Bay area. We’ve got a lot of events going on this week, and here they are!

This weekly list is posted as a voluntary service to the Tampa tech community. With the notable exception of Tampa iOS Meetup, which I run, most of this information comes from Meetup.com, EventBrite, and other local event announcement sites. I can’t guarantee the accuracy of the dates and times listed here; if you want to be absolutely sure that the event you’re interested in is actually taking place, please contact the organizers!

Monday, February 11

Tuesday, February 12

Wednesday, February 13

Thursday, February 14

Friday, February 15

Saturday, February 16

Sunday, February 17

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Scenes from last night’s Tampa Bay PHP meetup

by Joey deVilla on February 6, 2019

Click the photo to see it at full size.

Last night saw the very welcome return of the Tampa Bay PHP meetup, the local gathering of PHP programmers and would-be programmers in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, and surrounding areas. It took place in the training room of Sourcetoad’s Tampa office (pictured below), which is also home of Tampa iOS Meetup.

Click the photo to see it at full size.

PHP is Sourcetoad’s preferred server-side programming language. I can’t think of a single current Sourcetoad project with a server application that isn’t written in PHP. As a PHP-powered software company with a long history of promoting and supporting Tampa Bay’s burgeoning tech scene, our natural impulse was to help re-ignite Tampa Bay PHP by promoting it, giving it a venue and providing food and drinks for its attendees.

Click the photo to see it at full size.

The presentation, Laravel for the PHPurist, was given by James LaChance. It was a dress rehearsal; he’ll be giving this talk at the upcoming Sunshine PHP conference. Instead of being an introduction to the Laravel framework, it was more a defense of the framework and the choices and reasoning behind its design, with particular emphasis on the Façade pattern, which it uses in abundance (see here for details on façades in Laravel).

Click the photo to see it at full size.

It was great to see the return of the Tampa Bay PHP meetup. We hope to keep seeing more of them, and we’d love to continue hosting!

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Global Nerdy link backlog (February 5, 2019 edition)

by Joey deVilla on February 5, 2019

Over the past few years, I’ve managed to accumulate a ridiculously large backlog of links that I’d been meaning to blog about here on Global Nerdy. It’s time for me to do some spring cleaning, so from time to time, you’ll see these posts where I unload the links that are still good, both in the sense of still being online and still being valid and useful. Enjoy!

Coming soon: Portable computers! (1994)

  • How I became the most hated person in San Francisco for a day: Before the current tech backlash against Facebook, there was this guy. Long story short: techie creates app to “disrupt” another, less prestigious, worse paying industry and wonders why people are mad at him.
  • Why women leave tech: What the research says. Sue Gardner put together this Google doc a few years back, based on information from more than 200 academic studies, surveys and industry white papers, as well as roughly 25 books and about 100 news stories and analysis and opinion pieces. As we’ve seen from the likes of James Damore and by the necessity of #MeToo, not much has changed.

  • Habit stacking: 17 small productivity habits. These 17 mini-habits all come from S.J. Scott’s book, Habit Stacking: 97 Small Life Changes That Take Five Minutes or Less. Most are common sense, but that’s pretty uncommon.
  • How incredibly lazy people can form productive habits: It’s all about designing for laziness — making situations where it’s easier to do the right thing.
  • Leading a team into the unknown: This HBR article suggests that when you’re leading a team on a project where you’re in unfamiliar territory or with a lot of unknowns, you should:
    • Set a grand challenge rather than dictating a vision
    • Design experiments rather than make decisions.
    • Don’t just ignite ideas, but prepare the organization to accept them.
    • Educate the wider organization.
    • Build expertise.
    • Don’t just give people time, but provide them with the resources to act quickly.
  • The company you work for is not your friend: Yes, there are companies out there that do look out for their people. I work for one (Sourcetoad). But in most cases, while you may find a team or a manager that are your friend, to the company for whom you work, “You are a resource. That means the only one you can trust, really, is you. Here’s how to keep a cool head and stay in control of your career.”

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Every week, I compile a list of events for developers, technologists, tech entrepreneurs, and nerds in and around the Tampa Bay area. We’ve got a lot of events going on this week, and here they are!

It’s a particularly busy week here, as it’s Startup Week Tampa Bay 2019, the fifth annual celebration of the for the Tampa Bay tech and startup scene! Taking place in St. Petersburg on Monday and Tuesday and Tampa for the rest of the week, it’s a series of events and presentations featuring local and global “bright lights” of technology and entrepreneurship sharing their ideas. Check out the schedule, join the fun, and participate in the community!

This weekly list is posted as a voluntary service to the Tampa tech community. With the notable exception of Tampa iOS Meetup, which I run, most of this information comes from Meetup.com, EventBrite, and other local event announcement sites. I can’t guarantee the accuracy of the dates and times listed here; if you want to be absolutely sure that the event you’re interested in is actually taking place, please contact the organizers!

Monday, February 4

Tuesday, February 5

Wednesday, February 6

Thursday, February 7

Friday, February 8

Saturday, February 9

Sunday, February 10

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You want scary? I’ll give you *scary*.

by Joey deVilla on February 1, 2019

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In theory, Startup Week Tampa Bay should amount to nothing.

Let me start with a controversial statement.

In theory, Startup Week Tampa Bay 2019 should amount to nothing.

It’s almost a too-easy argument to make. Tampa Bay’s cities — Tampa, St. Pete, and Clearwater — don’t have the sort of entrepreneurial or tech cachet of Silicon Valley, Austin, and Seattle. It doesn’t even have the rep of “upstarts” such as Raleigh, Denver/Boulder, Toronto, and Montreal.

Tampa, St. Pete, and Clearwater are also overshadowed by other, better-known Floridian cities: Miami and Orlando. Tampa Bay’s geography and horrible traffic fracture the area. Between bridges and drive times that are twice what they should be, locals are reluctant to travel within their own areas, never mind the nearby sister cities.

In theory, Startup Week Tampa Bay is wasted money and effort that could be better spent on a metro area more likely to grow a good tech/startup scene.

I keep emphasizing the “in theory” part of my statements about Startup Week Tampa Bay, and it’s for a reason immortalized in a quote by computer scientist Jan L. A. van de Snepscheut:

If we play our cards right — and by “we”, I mean the organizers and us, the intended audience, Startup Week Tampa Bay’s accomplishments could be bigger than anyone dreamed, and certainly what would be expected in theory.

I say this because we’ve seen this sort of thing before. Of all the examples I could pick, I’m going to take one that’s close to my musician’s heart: a seemingly unremarkable event in a failing city in England that would later be known as “The Gig That Changed the World”.

Manchester, 1976: The Gig That Changed the World

Manchester Lesser Free Trade Hall.

The Free Trade Hall in Manchester, England.

You could draw a number of parallels between Manchester, England and Detroit, Michigan, especially in the 1970s. Both were cities that grew to become industrial powerhouses in the first part of the 20th century. Both saw their fortunes decline drastically and become bleak urban wastelands after World War II. Both would also end up changing the course of music history in unexpected ways.

The Sex Pistols: Glen Matlock, Johnny Rotten, and Steve Jones in 1976.

The Sex Pistols: Glen Matlock, Johnny Rotten, and Steve Jones in 1976.

In June of 1976, a relatively unknown band called the Sex Pistols played a concert at Manchester’s Lesser Free Trade Hall. A mere 42 people attended. That’s respectable for a band that plays at your local bar on a Tuesday night, but it doesn’t seem like the sort of gig that would “change everything”.

What separated this gig from all the other Tuesday night gigs with fewer than 50 people is who were involved and showed up:

The headlining act (the Sex Pistols) and the organizers (who’d go on to form the Buzzcocks) of this poorly attended, seemingly insignificant gig were ˆ influential that they’d end up in Jack Black’s lesson in School of Rock

You can see the Sex Pistols and Buzzcocks listed under “Punk”. Click here to see the full blackboard.

…and the concertgoers from that gig would go on to build the foundations of alternative rock and influence a lot of people who took up the electric guitar, synthesizer, or turntables.

In theory, this concert should’ve amounted to nothing, but in the end it changed everything in the music world.

The Gig That Changed the World brought together people with similar interests who were passionate about what they did. Its attendees saw that popular music was changing, and after being inspired by a group of troublemakers, decided that they could be part of that change. They went on to create music their way, and they made their mark on the world.

Startup Week Tampa Bay 2019: The week that could change the world

The people behind Startup Week Tampa Bay (the 2019 team is pictured above) may not all look punk rock, but they’ve most certainly got its DIY, “we have an idea and we’re going for it” spirit. Like the Pete Shelley and Howard Devoto organizing the Sex Pistols gig, they’re a band of troublemakers putting on an event on a shoestring budget. (Yes, TechStars is very obviously sponsoring, but without them, the budget would likely go from shoestring to none), and at the moment, it isn’t being noticed by most of the world outside “the other bay area”.

Like the music scene in Manchester the mid-late 1970s, the work-life dynamic in Tampa Bay in the mid-late 2010s is undergoing some big changes:

The team at Startup Week Tampa have done their part by organizing their event for the Tampa Bay area, just as Shelley and Devoto did back in 1976 by bringing punk rock to Manchester. How the rest of the story ends is up to us.

I’ll repeat what I said at the start of this article: In theory, Tampa Bay Startup Week should amount to nothing. In practice, and as shown by music history, if we take inspiration from the event, make friends and connections, and take action, it could be that gathering that changed the world.

Worth reading/watching

Tampa Bay’s tech “scenius” depends on us: Scenius is a term that Brian Eno coined to describe the extreme creativity that groups, places, or “scenes” can generate. I recently wrote an article about it here.

For those of you who’d like to know more about The Gig That Changed Everything, here’s the BBC’s special on the event, titled I Swear That I Was There:

This article is the 2019 revision of an article I posted in 2015.

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