Woke up this morning after TriConf, a Tri-Cities local convention on technology, design, and entrepreneurship, feeling blissfully drained. Two nights and one day of meeting new people, learning new things, and sharing my own experience takes a lot, but what's gone is replaced with a renewed sense of wonder and drive.
A big theme of TriConf, articulated succinctly by Nick Napoli, was "finding my people". Most came expecting to learn a few tips to apply in their work; however, the refrain of Cheryl's final keynote last night captured the true aspiration for every TriConfidant's attendance: "Living in the place you belong, with the people you love, doing the work that's yours, on purpose."
Instead of approaching connections like the chore of "networking", we've been successful focusing on passion. In a short amount of time, spoken passion can become shared passion. Amongst the many technical lessons of the last three days, the universal message is realizing that in the life of a creative worker, there is no line between professional and personal, our circle of colleagues is indistinguishable from our circle of friends, and a legacy cannot be left by accident.
The main activity of TriConf is getting volunteers to stand up and share their knowledge. The DocType Society Vimeo channel will soon be filled to the brim with the talks for the whole conference. There is a spontoneity in the barcamp format used by TriConf that forces speakers to rely only on what they bring in the door the first day: their well-honed skills and most honest values.
If you're trying to navigate the Vimeo channel, I recomend: the stellar keynotes from Paul Carlisle, Amanda Divine, Anne, Carl Cadwell, and Keith Nerdin. Cheryl Broetje was revelatory, serendipitously tying together the unversal message of TriConf. Fritzy's futurism talk and Keith's talk on hitchiking & entrpreneurship were downright hilarious. How Can We Make DocType Society Better, a discussion mediated by John Higley, also contains some great wisdom that coalesced a lot of the best observations on the nature of the conference and community.
Thank you Adam Brault for being a mighty MC and starting it all, &yet for solving the logistics of a great event, and thank you everyone who came for continuing the tradition. Thanks Adam Baldwin for wrangling all those gigabytes of video to prove it happened.
Object-Oriented Design Patterns
Thanks to Doug Waltman's resistance to reading the gang of four book on the subject, I had the honor of being one of the first three speakers on Friday night, speaking on the topic of Object-Oriented Design Patterns. If you would like the presentation notes, get them on Prezi. If you missed the talk, please watch it on Vimeo.
The Technology of Culture
Saturday I had two opportunities to share a concept I first encountered in the book Snow Crash, that the social practices of a civilization are themselves a form of technology. This means TriConf is not just about innovation, it is an innovation.
Culture is the operating system of society, software running on the neurological cicruity of people sharing a common bond. Like code, it can be copied at will, improved over time, and must struggle against obselescence. Building a community means forking an open source product and installing it on enough hardware. DocType Society and TriConf are each just singular implementations. The reusable and self-replicating kernel is sharing passion and making connections.
Now to just wait 364 more days until the next innovation.