In updating my speaker bio, I had to look up my first Azure talk. It was at Pittsburgh Code Camp Spring 2009. I was part of “(The Other) Gang of Four”. Myself, Shaun Eutsey, Matt Stultz and Nathan Duchene gave a talk called “Squawking in the Cloud”, where we built a mostly functional Twitter-like app using Azure, WCF and Silverlight. Azure was in beta at the time, and being on the cutting edge meant we bled a lot. We were literally working right up to the time of the talk (I’ll fix the links to the photos, but here is a recap on my personal blog: http://rjdudley.com/blog/?p=73).
As I looked down the list of speakers, I realized how many of them were unknown to me at the time, but who I now call friends. I knew Dave Hoerster and Eric Kepes from the user group, and Dani Diaz being our Microsoft Evangelist. Since then, I’ve gotten to know John Baird, John McClelland and John Hidey well (there were a lot of Johns there). Jeremy Jarrell and I crossed paths again at the Azure Boot Camp Pittsburgh; his team at Matrix Solutions is doing some really cool stuff. I re-met Dr. Z at the MADCLS last fall, never realizing we shared the speaker lounge at this code camp. Chris Bannon is now a coworker here at ComponentOne. Chris has memories of our team panicking and coding in the lounge as important hotfixes were being released for Azure hours before our session, and I’m going to have to bring this up to my other friends next time I see them.
Looking back, I can’t count the number of times I watched Dani and his cohorts at the Microsoft roadshows and thought “that would be the coolest job ever”. Seeing them is what inspired me to my career here at ComponentOne, speaking at events like this is what helped me actually get this job. To me, this is the real power of the community (or should I that be Community?)—the friends I’ve made and a job I adore. I’m looking forward to more community.