Coffee and Code Today in Calgary and Toronto

This article originally appeared in the Coffee and Code blog.

We’re Not Slackers, We’re Coffee Achievers

In response to John Bristowe’s announcement of the first Calgary Coffee and Code, we got this comment from a reader named Cameron:

How do all of you people have the day off. 9am to 4pm on a weekday? Gen-Y is in full effect.

Gen Y? Technically, we’re Gen Xers, since we were both born between 1960 and  1980. If I’m not mistaken, John is a “Nintendo Wave” Xer, since he was born in the 70s and I’m an “Atari Wave” Xer, having been born in 1967.

In response to Cameron’s comment, I couldn’t resist doctoring a graphic from the website for the animated series Slacker Cats:

Slacker Cats, starring John Bristowe and Joey deVilla

(Come to think of, they sort of look like us. The hair colour’s the same.)

But seriously: John and I (as well as a number of other people in Microsoft Canada’s Developer & Platform Evangelism team) are officially classified by Microsoft as mobile workers. All the computers assigned to us are laptops, our internet and mobile phones are subsidized and our workplaces are wherever we happen to be working at the time: our home offices, Microsoft or on the road. It’s not for everyone, but if you have the discipline to handle the freedom, it can be a pretty nice way to work.

Coffee and Code was created to make us more accessible and give Microsoft a more human “face” by taking advantage of our flexible working arrangements. By working out of places like cafes, we’re making it quite easy for you to find us and join us in a conversation about whatever interests you, whether it’s Microsoft tools and technologies, the state of the industry or any other topic. It also makes for the perfect setting for us to help build local tech communities by gathering developers, IT pros, architects and other techies together. And finally, we’re patronizing “third place” businesses – those essential social places that are neither home nor the office – that are vital to the general community.

If a Coffee and Code attracts a large enough crowd, I find that I don’t get much programming, writing or administrative work done. That’s okay, because I’m getting another kind of work done: talking with local software developers, answering their questions, making note of their needs and suggestions and exchanging ideas. In short, I’m making connections with them, and that’s a major pillar of the Developer Evangelist position. If I’m not doing that, I’m not doing my job.

Where We’ll Be

If you’re in Calgary, you’ll want to head to Kawa Espresso Bar, where John Bristowe will be hosting the event from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.. You’ll find more details about his Coffee and Code event in this entry.

If you’re in Toronto, your Coffee and Code event will be hosted by Yours Truly at the spacious upstairs “Red Velvet Lounge” of the Starbucks at Yonge and Davisville from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.. You’ll find more details about it in this entry.

Since both events overlap perfectly, both locations are wifi equipped and both John and I have laptops with integrated cameras, I’m going to try videoconferencing with him, making this another Coffee and Code first. If you’re in eithe rof our neighbourhoods, please drop by!