Chad Fowler is talking right now. I think he works on giving keynotes that leave you scratching your head a bit. His keynote at the Mountain West Ruby conference had mixed reviews. We left wondering what his intent was, but we weren’t sure if it was just our perception. Last night we had a chance to meet up with some of the people who were at the conference. They commented that they had a similar “huh?” moments during Fowler’s keynote. One of the guys brought his chief Java architect hoping to persuade him over to Ruby. After the talk the architects comments were, “so Ruby is slow, we shouldn’t deploy on it, and you should be moving on to Haskell or Erlang anyway.” I think that several people, especially the guys new to Ruby, got the impression that they were newbs polluting the Ruby world. These were the assembly programmers who weren’t smart enough to jump sooner. How dare they stay in .Net, Php, or Java for so long. These guys of course are the same one who didn’t spend their nights hacking and so missed out and according to Fowler should be looking for jobs at fast food restaurants or the like. This was a Ruby keynote? One guy in the group has watched the keynote a number of times. His take away was different. His understanding after watching it over and over was that programmers need to keep sharp and stay on top of things. That is a lesson all programmers should learn on day one of their entry into the programming world.
I don’t know if people read the keynote wrong. I doubt Fowler would deliberately discourage anyone from entering the Ruby world. However, it does show that you have to be careful how you present your message. That is my biggest retrospective take away.
Right now Chad is asking for donations for worthwhile organizations at http://pragmaticstudio.com/donate/ to prove that we aren’t a “bunch of arrogant shitheads.” I guess I didn’t have the impression that Rails programmers were a bunch of arrogant jerks. This feels a lot more like a straw man argument setup to persuade us to donate money. Donating money is not a bad thing, but I don’t really love Fowler’s methods of persuasion and I disagree that we are perceived as a bunch of arrogant Asses. In fact I would argue that for the most part, outside of the Rails community, the bleeding edge world and the Web 2.0 craze, Rails and its members aren’t perceived in any light. Java and .Net programmers happily go on their way doing what they are doing without giving much notice to this community at all.
Maybe I am just reading him wrong again.