When Worlds Collide – Boston Ignite!

I had the opportunity to talk at O'Reilly's Ignite! in Boston last night. This was an informal occasion (with free Beer (great Guinness on draught!)) at which over 250 geeks techies attended and 21 people geeks presented (each with a strict 5 minute time limit).

My pitch was this (and it will be my pitch from now on, which is why I'm blogging about it here):

  • I am not interested in convincing you to use Silverlight
  • I joined Microsoft because I personally believe that Silverlight is the most exciting programming technology since Windows 3.1, but that means I like talking about it, writing about it, coding with it, not selling it.
  • I am very interested in helping you in every way if you decide you want to program in Silverlight
  • My job is to create "How Do I videos", tutorials, white papers, show-case applications, custom controls, blogs, etc.
  • We have lots of resources for you and many of them are centered the Silverlight site

That was really what I was there to say: we have a lot of information for those who want to code in Silverlight; a lot of how-to and a lot of support all in one place, and I'm interested in creating a dialog and a community.

While I spoke, I showed a 5-minute silent screen-capture-movie, which included a glimpse of our most-often mispronounced Showcase application (Tafiti) and folks were openly dumbfounded when I said "Everything you are seeing was built with 1.0" — clearly we have much work to do to get the word out about how much can be built right now.

 The reception was very positive. I learned two things

1. 5 minutes is a very short amount of time to talk about Silverlight
2. 5 minutes is a very long time to stand in front of folks who have just listened to 20 other people pitching 20 other products

 That said, everyone was very kind, and warm, and welcoming, and interest in Silverlight seemed very high.  I think there were (roughly) the following groups of developers in the room (based on my incredibly fast, informal, survey):

  1. It's a Microsoft technology therefore I'm against it, go away
  2. I don't know quite what it is, but want to learn more
  3. Isn't this an alternative to ______ ? (Flash/Flex/Air/Other)  – No? What is it then?
  4. I use ____ and I'm not switching, forget it
  5. I'm eager to learn more, where do I go?
  6. I'm already on board, thanks for telling me where I can get more help
  7. Yup, I'm already there 
My sense was that you could almost draw a "normal bell curve" along these 7 points  
For those of you who are here today as a result of yesterday's talk: welcome and thank you, you were very kind to me. I was probably one of the few speakers from a large company, and frankly, I really have no idea of what I actually said.



About Jesse Liberty

Jesse Liberty has three decades of experience writing and delivering software projects and is the author of 2 dozen books and a couple dozen Pluralsight & LinkedIn Learning courses. He was a Senior Technical Evangelist for Microsoft, a Distinguished Software Engineer for AT&T, a VP for Information Services for Citibank and a Software Architect for PBS. He is a Xamarin Certified Mobile Developer and a Xamarin MVP and a Microsoft MVP.
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