Sunday, January 13, 2008

Werewolf is the best conference session

Several months ago Charles asked Is Werewolf Killing the Hackfest. Obie responded, noting that the open communication and friendliness in the community is a good thing. Obie was on the right track, but I don't think he hit it on the head.

It's very easy to forget that People Matter Most. A Hackfest might bring about a JRuby version of Mongrel, but a game of Werewolf with Charles ensures that I will feel comfortable contacting him with JRuby questions in the future. Those relationships are much more likely to ensure that my project succeeds than any framework would.

I love attending conferences, but I usually dislike conference sessions. There's generally 2 kinds of sessions: beginner and very specific. The beginner talks always put me to sleep because they cover what I could read in a blog entry in half the time. Conversely, the specific sessions rarely cover things I care about. It's very rare that I need to include a framework in my application and at the same time I happen to be at a conference where the framework is being shown. The specific sessions are good at showing what's available, but they are too detailed. Most framework sessions are better off as lightning (5 minute) talks.

So why do I love conferences? For the informal conversations that always occur. Happy hour used to be the place that I actually heard what the industry leaders were looking into. Happy hour is good, but industry leaders aren't always approachable. However, Werewolf puts you in a game where you are forced to interact with someone you may otherwise be apprehensive about talking to. Building relationships with industry leaders is the number one reason I attend conferences and Werewolf is the easiest way to expand your network.

While Hackfests are about building software for our community, Werewolf is about building the community itself. Because I believe that people matter most I also believe that Werewolf is actually the best way to spend your conference time.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous4:29 PM

    From what I hear, the werewolf games are fairly limited to who can participate, if only because there's a limit on how many people can play. That limits the participants to people who already are part of the in crowd. Nothing stopping a B game from forming, though.

    If people are hard to approach, it's either because you are shy or they are arrogant (at least on the outside.)


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