Saturday, December 06, 2008

Being There

My current employer has invited me to attend a one-day DevCon in Atlanta later this month. I accepted the invitation not because I was all that keen on attending but because I really like these guys and if they want me there I'll go.

As is probably obvious to thoise who know me, I've totally backed off of the conference scene - with the possible exception of the March MVP Summit. I don't respond to Call To Speakers and I don't solicit invitations to speak or attend conferences.


Several reasons.

While I cherish my part in the Fox community I can't see myself speaking to that community anymore because I don't have a good feeling about the viability of being a Fox developer in the future. Yeah, I could stand there and give a rousing presentation on CursorAdaptors or MemberClasses; I mean, I really know that stuff. But it would feel wrong to me; I would feel like the 50's actor standing on stage talking about the motivations of his character in a lesser-known movie from that era.

I am busting butt to ramp up my .Net skills. That's what I now do for a living but it'll take time for me to get to the same level of skill that I have/had in Fox. Therefore, I don't feel comfortable presenting in that area as well.

Finally, as a former member of the Microsoft VS Data team, people may expect me to have knowledge and skills that I don't have since all of my time there was spent on VFP. I don't want to look like a doofus. I'm not ready to live up to the expectations others would have of me because I was at MS during the release of .Net.

It would be easy - very easy I imagine - to parley my past into numerous speaking and writing engagements centered around Fox. But whom would I be serving? If I go out and tell developers that Fox is great, Fox is cool, and look what can be done!, aren't I forestalling them from considering other languages and professional growth?

Maybe I'm being maudlin but I believe I have an obligation to the hundreds of friends and the thousands of people who know me by reputation. That obligation is to not push folks towards technologies that are dying. It's to hold up a lamp in the storm and help point a way through the storm knowing I'm not a navigator.


Ed Leafe said...

My last few speaking engagements at Fox conferences were on Python and Dabo, for exactly the reasons you stated. Fox was a great tool, but its future is severely limited.

Gonzo said...


You're finding a way out that you think can benefit the community and that's admirable. Python and your language Dabo are good skills to talk about.

I have a few side projects I'm working on, for example, converting the look and feel of SCX files to ASP. Not sure I'll ever finish it because of the difference between the two of relative and absolute coordinates. But I'm trying.

As I alluded to in my main post - I still have it in me to be a rockstar in the VFP world. If I wanted to be. But what message does that send? I might as well be speaking about optimal card placement in a JCL run.

I'm doing some good work in .Net and, at some point, I'll have something I can show someone that gives them ideas on a platform that gives them a future.

Until then ... yeah, I was a 5-time VFP MVP, yeah, I was a FoxTeam member for 3 versions, yeah, I was a God at code algorithms in Fox.

All that and a buck might get you a cup of coffee.

Until I can contribute to a future I am remaining low-key. I'm not going to talk about how to polish the brass when the ship is keel down and sinking. Makes no sense to me and seems that I would be encouraging bad career moves.