Visiting the aliens

So you think "The awkwardness of socializing at conferences" is disturbing. It is nothing compared to visiting the aliens!

In January I went to a hi-tech event in Israel. This time about test automation. I wanted to talk to a few people to see if they are using Perl or if they are doing something where Perl could have advantage.

There were speakers. There were exhibitors with their booths and I was neither. I was no-one.

The people at the booth were either decoration or were marketing droids. Neither of those were of interest to me.

The speakers too were mostly the sales type who are explaining the advantages of a technology and then you find out they happen to sell that technology... Nothing like me who tells about the advantages of Perl and then turns out to sell Perl training courses.

I tried to talk to a few people in the audience in quite a random way. I even met a few who were determined to use shell scripts to write test - because their manager decided that - even though at least one of them knew Perl and knew it would be much simpler in Perl.

It was extremely awkward. I had nothing special to say. Though I think next time I can use the recommendation of brian d foy and ask them a related question: "What do you think about the talks?" or "Which talk did you like?" or "What are you expecting from the talks?" when socializing before the talks.

I met someone I knew from earlier and have not met for ages. That was actually very good as we could sit down and catch up a bit what happened since we were stuck in Puerto Rico back in 1995 because of a snow storm... A little friendly island among the aliens.

One of the droids told us about the importance of ROI analysis for CTOs, CIOs and people in the QA or testing department. He certainly had a point in that more and more companies will ask hard questions about the economics of the solution one offers. In a way this will make it more difficult for an open source project without a commercial body behind it to be accepted. Just because more and more technical managers will need white papers and other tools to prove why the solution they picked is economically sound and how it provides a positive and high Return on Investment (ROI).

While I did not like the style of most of the talks I could learn a lot from them. Especially when I compared to the talk given by the woman from IBM. She was explaining how did they changed over their team to Agile-ish development. She talked a bit about the difficulties and about the fact that they have not implemented everything under the Agile buzzword. She did try to show that her way is the best and the only way to do things. As I recall, she even mentioned areas where they failed.

She was authentic. She created trust.

I was ready to buy the product or service she was selling.

...but she was not selling anything...

Anyway. I spent half a day there and got a nice lunch.

Maybe the best thing that came out of that day was that just after I left the conference a client called and as I was near-by I went over to them, earned some money and wrote a "Use case for Strawberry Perl for Windows"