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Quit trying to make the next Silicon Valley

Dear Reader,

I saw another story this morning. This time it was London trying to be the next Silicon Valley. They always have a new variation on the name those, this one was Silicon Roundabout. I know you’ve seen these articles, they explain why [INSERT CITY HERE] is prime to be the next technology hotbed and repeat the success of San Francisco – San Jose.

Stop! We don’t need another Silicon Valley. What we need is something new. If all you can do is mimic what others are doing then are you really adding anything to the world? We don’t need another Silicon Valley, we don’t need another Facebook, what we need is for someone to create something totally new.

Nashville is a focal point for creative people. We have a strong Music and Publishing industry here and each year more and more creative people make Nashville their home. We’ve also got a burgeoning technology startup community. it’s not huge yet but a lot of people in and outside of Nashville see potential. Our goal should not, however, be to create the next Silicon Valley. (Or the next Austin or god forbid, the next Atlanta) We are unique in the world and we need to nurture and grow our special community. Here in Nashville, we combine technology, content and creativity. Let’s find our own identity.

Let’s let other cities try to create the next Nashville!

Until next time,
I <3 |<

Flyte World Dining and Wine

Dear Reader,

I don’t think I have ever done a restaurant review on this blog so this will be a first.

The story so far…

This story started back in early May. Every now and then I like to take the lovely and talented Kathy out to a nice restaurant, most of the time to one a little more expensive than we can afford but hey, she is worth it. In early May, I chose Flyte World Dining and Wine, (@FlyteNashville) knowing her burgeoning love for wine. I made reservations through their online booking service and we went. The food was impeccable, the service outstanding, the only real complaint I had was that they sat the two of us at a table that shared a back bench with two other tables. To each side of us were large parties. The result was that neither Kathy nor myself could hear ourselves think. I asked the seating hostess to move us to a more secluded table as this was a romantic tryst but I was told that all the tables were reserved; even though clearly 1/2 the restaurant was empty.

We finished our meal and even though every other detail was great, the noise level left us unsatisfied and convinced that it just wasn’t out kind of restaurant.


Live from DrupalCamp Nashville

Dear Reader,

image I’m sitting here in a session at DrupalCamp Nashville on the Vandy campus. The day has been great and the Nashville Drupelars should be commended for running such a great camp. From a conference organizer PoV, this camp has run smoothly. The Wi-Fi is rock solid, the sessions start on time and the topics have been interesting.

Bluecoast Burrito catered lunch and it was great. Not only was the food good but there was no waiting on them to replenish the food.

The facility, Owen Graduate School of Management, on the Vanderbilt campus is a great venue for events less than 150. The rooms are nice and there is power at almost every seat.

As with any camp, the speakers are a mixed bag. I have truly enjoyed several of the sessions and learned some interesting new things about Drupal. There have been however, some not so good sessions and at leat one #epochFail. That’s what you get when you go to a camp. I love that aspect, even if it means I sit through a bad session or two.

All in all though, today has been a great day. Thanks Jamie!

Until next time,
I <3 |<

Podcamp Nashville ’10 Review

Dear Reader,

Today was the day! Podcamp Nashville 2010, downtown Nashville at the Cadillac Ranch. As always with the Nashville camps, overall it was great experience. The sessions were quality with speakers like Mitch Canter and Kate Gallagher. It was great to meet some new friends and catch up with some old ones.

Change is in the air…

Dear Reader,

Wow, what a day today was!

I’m going to cover a lot of ground in this post so unless you are friend or family, you may just want to read the next summary and skip the rest.

For those in a hurry

For those who have not heard, yes, I will soon be leaving Zend and moving to Ibuildings. Yes, that means I am also leaving Nashville, TN-US for Utrecht, Netherlands. No, the lovely and talented Kathy will not be going with me immediately but will be joining me after my son graduates high school. Yes we are both very excited about it.


The first question most people ask me is why? I mean a lot of people asked me that. As I’ve said to just about anyone who would listen, I have a great job! Zend is a great company to work for, they provide for their people, and I have absolutely no complaints about my time at Zend. This will come as a surprise to a few Zenders as all they have ever seen me do is complain. I’ve been allowed to create my role at Zend and that is a rare thing at any company.

I was originally hired at Zend to be an editor for DevZone and I was just supposed to write articles and code. (those of you who have seen my spelling and grammar gaffes can stop laughing now) Over the course of 2.5 years, Mark de Visser, with the backing of Andi, Harold and the rest of this awesome company, put up with my antics. They paid me to work with the PHP community. I got to travel to conferences, hang out in IRC, they even let me be the Master of Ceremonies of ZendCon. This truly is a dream job. It is so great that in the 2.5 years, I’ve turned down most offers to interview and the few serious offers that came my way. This was were I felt at home.

So back to the question, why leave a dream job at a great company? The only answer I have is “opportunity“. Most of you have never read my article “Nerd Herding” (and I don’t recommend you bother now) but in it I talk about the fact that for developers, interesting projects are just as important as a good salary. While I still love what I do at Zend, the opportunity offered to me by Ibuildings was just too great to pass up. So that is why, after over a month of thinking about it and discussing it with the lovely and talented Kathy, we decided that this was a chance I couldn’t pass up.

/me <3 PHPC

One of the great things about my job, both at Zend and at Ibuildings is that I get paid to work with the PHP community. I told someone this at ZendCon but it bears repeating here.

PHP is my fifth programming language, that means I’ve been a part of 5 programming communities. None of those communities have come close to being as vibrant, fun and welcoming as the PHP community. PHP developers should not take this community for granted, it is something special.

It is to this awesome group of mixed nuts that we call the PHP community, that I give a big hug and say thank you. Thank you for all the tweets, blog posts, IMs and irc well wishes today. Thank you for your friendship. Thanks you for welcoming me in even when you didn’t have to. You guys and gals are teh awesome and I wish I could call each of you by name and say thank you. (if I tried, we’d be here a while an even then, I know I’d leave someone out so I’m not going to try) It has been a blast working with you while at Zend and I look forward to working with you at Ibuildings!

Looking Forward

I’ve talked a lot about Zend in this post but I can’t close without saying a big hello to my new Ibuildings family. Thank you for welcoming me in such a warm fashion. I’ve never had this much attention paid to me coming to a new company. Honestly, it humbles me to think that I’m moving to a new company and country and yet I already have good friends in both. I am looking forward to working with each of you!

I am positive that Zend will be hiring someone to take over DevZone and my other duties. I know that phpc will embrace them as you did me. (because again, you guys and gals rock!) DevZone has become a regular daily stop of a lot of PHP developers and I am sure it will only get better.

As for me? well, I’m not going anywhere. (figuratively speaking) I’ll still be hanging around on Skype, IRC and IM. If you need to contact me, my contact info is always on my EPK. I encourage you to ping me if I can help you.

It’s been an awesome 2.5 years at Zend and I look forward to a number of awesome years at Ibuildings!

Until next time,