Saturday started out overcast. It would start raining shortly. On my way back to town, before it really started raining, I ran across a guy totally overplaying the wind in his open umbrella and generally acting the goof. He proceeded to walk with me all the way to the farmer’s market and halfway around capital square, being a little too friendly and a little too touchy all the way. He finally gave up when I turned down an invitation to a nearby bar, which I half suspect was his destination all along.
The farmer’s market is pretty impressive, ringing the entire capital square with a little spillover across the road, usually huddled around major intersections. If you were in the market for produce – cucumbers, beans, tomatoes, cantaloupe, berries, and more – you’d have your pick of at least a dozen vendors. I bought some of the famous squeaky cheese curds (which worked as advertised) and some things for breakfast. The rain was coming down steadily the whole time I was there, with vendors pushing their cloth shelters to dislodge pooled water, and saying how it was sure to blow over in a few minutes.
Madison Ruby started off with a SAAS panel. The discussion basically revolved around business, with the moderator asking no-holds-barred questions (often unanswered). The panel was probably chosen because they were successful — all of them were profitable and in it for the long haul rather than having an exit strategy. They reported good marketing success with twitter, word of mouth, and SEO.
Saturday morning the elevator was out (though I was perfectly happy with the stairs myself). This was an issue because the breakout room was on the 3rd floor, while the main theater was on the lower level. The schedule had an allowance for long conversation breaks between talks, so the organizers asked all the speakers to shorten their talks a bit and perform both on the main stage. I found this somewhat amusing because I’d spent all of Friday in the main room, never seeing the breakout room (except that I was there for RailsBridge Thursday), and had been planning to spend about half of Saturday upstairs. I hear the elevator was fixed after a few hours, but they stuck with the single track format. Consequence is I have twice as much to report on. ;^)
The compressed sessions started off with Steve Klabnik “Software as Composition”. He drew some interesting lines – between the strict science of the computer and the artful human, further divided into self, other, and user. He also broke down forms: source, binary, code/data, and examined the issues of having multiple copies.
Lori Olsen presented “Rockstars and Consultants, Who Needs Them?”. She enumerated the defining traits of both rockstars and consultants, and then proceeded to enumerate the attendant risk that go along with each class. Her alternative is to grow your team – know the people and environment, and keep in mind training versus replacement cost. A particularly cogent point is that valued people stay.
Matt Yoho talked about Rong, a ruby implementation of Pong. Having dabbled in both games and networking before, there wasn’t much about the talk that stuck with me.
Given the tight schedule, Jeff Casimir (If I heard them right) also bought pizza to be brought in. I stayed around to ask him a question, and nearly didn’t get any. I later heard that some people went out to forage at the farmer’s market, though I don’t know if they returned in time.
Also given the tight schedule, I’m deferring the afternoon report until tomorrow.