Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Scratch My Back, I'll Scratch Yours - Win Win

Happy Canada Day! What a perfect day to sell you (if you're a developer) on something!

Today marked the "official" launch of the Alt.NET Canada conference - the Canadian developer conference of the year, IMHO. It's a place where 100 software developers with a heart for improving their industry in their local community and a desire for ongoing professional development get together to learn from one another. It's free. It happens over a weekend. It happens in Calgary. It is exclusive (first come, first serve, baby).

I'm not a developer. I'm not even tech-y in any way shape or form (unless you count the ability to cut and paste HTML to change the layout of this blog). So why am I promoting this event?

Three reasons:
1) It's free. Unlike those *other* dev conferences that happen all over N. America, you don't have to pay $3000 plus the cost of flight and hotel just to warm a seat. You get to participate actively in discussions rather than watch some canned presentation at the front of the room (one that you've probably seen before online somewhere), and though you still have to pay for flight and hotel, at least you get in the doors pro bono.

2) It aligns philosophically with my views on teaching and learning. Education should not cost money, and it should be a process that is reciprocal; everyone has something to bring to the proverbial table, and therefore everyone should be given the opportunity to share and learn from those around them. There is no such thing as a "speaker" at Alt.NET, which in many ways reflects the student-directed/centered pedagogy that I am quite fond of.

3) It happens in Calgary. This means that I get to go to Calgary. I have many dear friends who live in Calgary. I would really like to visit them, and perhaps go shopping at a big mall with them. If Alt.NET is a success this year, then it will happen again next year, and the year after that, and the year after that. This will guarantee me a Calgary visit at least once a year for a good few years.

So if you're a developer and you think Alt.NET is for you, go sign up! They have an attendance limitation of 100 people (don't ask me why, I have no idea).


Donald Belcham said...

Hold on here...let's not assume it will be in Calgary every year. I'm still proposing Thunder Bay for the next event.

Greg said...

bah it will be in Vancouver next year :-)

the attendance limitation is 100 (there are 50 more invited people)

The reason for this is it gets to be very difficult to manage an open space (and a venue) for lots more people.

There has been talk about making the next US one bigger as an experiment to try to find the sweet spot.



Justice~! said...

It had *better* be in Vancouver next year!

Mrs. Loquacious said...

I don't know about Thunder Bay, but I am happy to continue to freely endorse Alt.NET so long as it is held in a city where I either have friends or a place to shop! ;)

Greg - thanks for the explanation. Truthfully, I think it is brutal that eager guys get turned away because of number limitations, esp. if some dickwad who doesn't plan to attend just signs himself up "just in case." I hope that a "sweet spot" number can be found to accommodate all interested, sincere parties.

Natalie said...

Happy Canada Day!(a day late)