Monday, August 11, 2008

Code Stock 2008 or Open Spaces done right

Code Stock 2008 is in the history books and I think it can claim resounding success for it's inaugural year. A great crew of speakers and over 200 .NET developers converged on Knoxville this Saturday to conduct a day of learning on everything from ASP.NET MVC to the Castle ActiveRecord pattern. I had a great time interacting with the regional .NET crowd and had a couple of very good sessions. Thanks again to everyone that came to my sessions! One thing that Code Stock did exceptionally well- better than any .NET event I've seen to date- was stimulate very large and lively Open Spaces sessions. I've seen Open Spaces attempted at other events, but none managed to generate the level of deep conversation that emerged at Code Stock. The Open Spaces I participated in covered everything from the impact of ORM tools to the challenges of independent consulting to (at one point) the merrits of subscription based music vs. pay as you go (I'm a pay as you go fan). Open Space sessions at Code Strock truly lived-up to their foundation's ideal of stimulating a better exchange of ideas outside of the "formal sessions" than in them. Why were Code Stock's Open Space sessions so good? Two reasons:

  • Alan Stevens. He really drove the energy of getting sessions started and made sure people understood the (anti) rules of the Open Spaces concept.
  • No speakers green room. As a speaker, I won't lie, I enjoy a green room. It's a place to relax and recoup after a session. But it does nothing to enhance the value of the event. Speakers are notoriously absent from an event when they're not speaking, and the green room is usually the cave where you find them. Code Stock proved that if you remove the cave and encourage Open Space conversations, speakers can add a lot more value to an event outside of their scheduled sessions.
I hope more conferences look at the success of Code Stock's Open Spaces and try to adopt the format. The Spaces conversations are some of the best I've had at a .NET event (and I've been to a few) and I give huge props to Alan and Michael for making it work. Finally, as promised, you can find the slides from my sessions below. I'll be making the code available soon, too, but since I used the larger NHibernate demo structure, it'll take a little more time package the code in to a easily distributable archive. Enjoy! Work Smart, Not Hard: Telerik RadControls [Slides] [Code - comming soon] Intro to ASP.NET MVC (Preview 4) [Slides] [Code]