Yours Truly before the panel discussion began.
The tech recruiting and placement company Jobspring Partners have been around for a while in several cities in the U.S., but they’re still pretty new in Toronto, having been here for only six months or so. They’ve managed to make their presence felt in that short time, from buying rounds of beer at the monthly Rails Pub Nite gatherings to holding the Toronto chapter of the Tech in Motion meetups. Their most recent Tech in Motion had over a hundred sign-ups, and from the look of it, most of them actually showed up.
My original plan was to simply attend Wednesday’s Tech In Motion, do a little networking, catch up with friends, and watch the panel debate open- vs. closed-source technologies and languages. While cracking open a can of ice-cold Pilsner, Jobspring marketing specialist Rebecca Banks approached me and asked if I would like to stand in one of the panelists who wasn’t able to make it. This is the sort of thing that I was born to do, and from the sound of it, it worked out well:
Kevin Cearns played the role of panel moderator. He’s been in IT for a long time, and currently runs Cand.IO, which provides open source infrastructure and platform services:
My co-panelists were Bitmaker Labs instructor Rob Gilson, who played the role of Ruby/Rails champion:
Representing Team Python was David Wolever, technical cofounder of Akindi and PyCon Canada organizer:
Bruce Johnson, principal consultant at ObjectSharp, and one of my go-to guys when I was at Microsoft, and .NET guy:
My role was to play the bridge, having worked in both the open source world and at Microsoft.
Judging from the Twitter feedback, the audience seemed to like us:
Photo by Remy Samanski. Click to see at full size.
Photo by Nitharsen Karunabalasundram. Click to see at full size.
That last tweet might seem a little cryptic. I told the audience a condensed version of the “Sausage Party” app, a tale that I will eventually tell on this blog. Let’s just say that it’s the only time I’ve ever been frog-marched into a meeting with a greatly displeased Fortune 50 CTO.
The feedback on the Meetup page for the event was also positive. Shalmaa Sultan wrote:
I think it was really a very good debate. It was like a wrap of the past, the current and the future vision of programming languages. It also gave us a little window on how to plan your career for the future.
Darryl Marcelline wrote:
…the format was not only interesting, but effective. They abandoned the boring guru/acolyte format.
It was a rare learning experience in the Toronto tech meetup scene. This was the highlight of a year of speaker-driven meetups for me.
I glad you liked it, Darryl, and I worked at keeping it from getting boring.
Finally, I have to quote Michael Keara:
It was well worth it for me. Great context info for big questions about technology options. I enjoyed all the speakers but I especially enjoyed Joey DeVilla’s one liners such as “Cobol programmers are so old they don’t even buy green bananas.” Priceless!
I have not yet received any angry emails or tweets from COBOL die-hards, but the day is young…
I’d like to thank the folks at Jobspring for holding the event and for taking a leap of faith and putting me on the panel at the last minute, my co-panelists for being their fantastic selves, and the audience for being so attentive and kind. If you ever need me again to do this sort of thing, just let me know!