Here Comes CodeStock 2013!

1 Mar

If you were at CodeStock 2012 you know there is a pretty big change for me in 2013.  I’m no longer organizing the event.

In 2012, I stepped down from my self-titled role as Lead Conference Organizer to focus on other several things, but the main reason was to dedicate more time to The Technology Cooperative.  I really believe that getting kids involved with STEM subjects now is critical for this nation and our school system is not filling this need.  You don’t have to hear it from me though, just listen to Will.I.Am.

This was not an easy choice to make.  With help, I built CodeStock from a one day 75 person event to a two day 500 person conference.  I feel I was able to make CodeStock stand out with its own feel and vibe.  I have deep pride in what CodeStock has become to the point where I’ve walked out of an interview when my “project management” experience was dismissed because running CodeStock “wasn’t relevant”.

But the goal has never been “Mike’s” CodeStock.  I’ve said before if I have to step down and that means CodeStock dies, I’ve not really created a community.  That’s why it’s so exciting to watch Andrew May, Nathan Blevins, and Don Den Uyl (and others!) put together CodeStock 2013.  (And I am available to these guys when/if needed at a very reasonable consulting rate).

Keynote Speaker, Julie Lerman

Julie is going to be an excellent Keynote at CodeStock!  I’ve known Julie for years through ASP Insiders, INETA, MVP, and just hanging out with awesome people.  Julie is very active in the community from blogging, speaking, running user groups, books, magazines, videos, and more.  Her presence is like lightning, and her knowledge of the .NET data stack is freighting.   Her style though is soothing, and everyone one there will start grooving.  Yeah, yeah, yeah yeah yeah.

Call For Speakers

This will be the first year I will speak at CodeStock!  Well, I’ve submitted to speak and will need everyone’s votes to be selected (no special treatment!).  I’ve always wanted to speak at CodeStock but running the event leaves no time to give a presentation.  Okay, that’s not 100% true as I have made sure to always be at the CodeStock Annual WIT panel discussion, another of those things I’m really proud of.

The call for Speakers is open to EVERYONE.  That’s worth repeating so I will: The call for speakers is open to EVERYONE.

As a larger developer community we need to move past this notion of who is “qualified” to speak, blog, comment, etc.  You write code?  Then your experience is relevant.  Your thoughts are worth sharing.  I want to hear the things your are passionate about because passion is more import than perfect code.  Code can be learned but passion must be shared!

If you’re thinking of speaking for the first time I know what the fear is – “do I have a topic worth presenting?”  My recommendation is to take one of your code projects and turn it into a “this is the problem I had, and this is how I solved it” talk.  You can be open with audience to suggestions so you need not fear that “person who knows more than me”.  That person is always there; Embrace it, don’t sweat it!

One you have an idea, submit your talk and then find ways to practice.  Give the talk to your coworkers, friends, cat (or dog if you’re that kind of person).  Attend your local Toastmasters club.  Give the talk at your user group or a group nearby.  Set up a webcam and give the talk on G+ (seriously, they need you – all of you).

Getting comfortable with public speaking will come back ten fold for your career.  I’d bet the bulk of IT issues can be attributed to communication problems.  Developers that can present ideas and solutions to other developers and non-developers alike are a scare resource.  Oh, and there might be more money it but we do this because we love it right?  Not that I’m saying turn down the money!

I’m looking  forward to hanging out with everyone at CodeStock 2013!