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Jeep Wrangler owners wave at each other

Dear Reader,

After 20 years of driving my little Miata, I finally traded it in and bought myself a Jeep Wrangler. (It’s much easier to tote scuba diving gear in a Jeep than in a Miata!)

Driving down A1A in Juno Beach the other day I noticed something. Every time I passed another Jeep Wrangler, the driver smiled and waved. (I passed quite a few, this was no small sampling)  It’s like I am now part of a secret club where no matter what we are doing, we take a moment to smile and wave at each other.  My wife, the lovely and talented Kathy, drives a Mazda 3. We pass those all the time and I’ve never seen any of their drivers smile and wave. Jeep owners however, identify as a group though and have determined that the group is a fun one.

As best I can tell, the rules of the group are, if you pass another Wrangler, you smile and wave. That’s it. I know I’m new to the group, but so far, what I’ve NOT seen is a Wrangler driver pass a Ranger Rover and scowl and flip them the bird. I’ve not seen Wrangler owners try to run a Hummer off the road. I know I’m still new to the group, but so far I’ve not noticed that it’s a rule that if two or more Wrangler owners are together chewing the fat, the rule is that we have to ridicule the car choices of non-wrangler drivers.

The rule seems to be, be nice to other Wrangler drivers, and there’s no need to not be nice to any other drivers.

Maybe in tech, we need to adopt these rules. Maybe we need to get together at conferences, user groups, or just online and talk about how awesome our tech stack is, without feeling it necessary to run down another tech stack. (i’m not just talking about people insulting PHP, I’ve seen plenty of PHP developers run down other tech stacks as well) Maybe, JUST MAYBE, the tech stack we chose works for us and for our problems, but it won’t work for others and solve their problems. Maybe, there’s more to the decision than whether it’s popular on Stack Overflow.

Maybe tech would be an overall better place if we adopted the Wrangler Rule. Be nice and wave at those who use our approved tech stack/framework, but don’t be mean to others that use something else.

Until next time,
I <3 |<

Announcing CoderFaire Atlanta ’13

Dear Reader,

We are taking the CoderFaire show and hitting the road!

This time we are headed to Atlanta, GA. This past week, Jacques, Kathy, and I, along with our friends Kevin Roberts and Chris Spruck announced CoderFaire Atlanta. A two day conference and hack-a-thon, April 20-21, 2013.

Today we are announcing that the Call for Papers is now open. We will accept submissions from now until Midnight EST, March 17th. Thats’ 2 whole weeks to get your ideas together and get them submitted.

CoderFaire Nashville was an awesome time and fanned the tech flame already burning in Nashville. We want to do the same thing in Atlanta, but we need your help. CoderFaire is a hyper-local conference. All the speakers will come for the Atlanta area. All talks will be selected by a group of Atlanta User Group leaders. This is a conference all about showcasing Atlanta’s tech community.

Regardless of your programming language, favorite operating system, or favorite editor, if you are in the Atlanta area, you don’t want to miss that 2 day event. So get involved.

Submit your talks
Register Today

Don’t wait though, get involved today!

Until next time,
I <3 |<

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 |<

Telecommuting’s Time has Come!

Dear Reader,

[DISCLAIMER: I work at one of the greatest companies in the tech industry. They let me telecommute. They get it…most of the time. They rock.]

The Problem

Because I telecommute and of late travel a lot, I don’t often fill up my car with gas. It’s not an exaggeration to say that I fill my little Miata up with gas once a month. SO you can imagine my surprise when I went to the pumps recently and discovered how much gas costs these day! (I know, old news) This got me to thinking. Usually, companies hand out telecommuting privileges to employees as a perk. “You can work from home one day a week.”, crap like that. These days though, with gas prices high, pollution worries (no I’m not a global warming alarmist but I think we should take care of the Earth when we can) and the price that people are beginning to put on their time, I think companies should have to justify to the employee when they want them to work from the office instead of home.

The value of time

1 hour a day spent sitting alone, behind the wheel of a car, even listing to great podcasts, is still 1 hour a day of your life wasted. All because your employer either doesn’t trust you to do your work or can’t figure out how to do his work without you standing next to him. Quality of life is important to me and I’m sure it’s important to a lot of you. I know many people who would rather cut out their commute and spend that time with their family or just sleeping later.

The Solution

The solution I’m proposing should be obvious by now. The technology exists to allow almost all office workers to work remotely. Before they were purchased by Sun, MySQL had 70% of it’s workforce distributed around the world, working at their own locations. Telecommuting is no longer a perk to be negotiated for; it should be common sense. It’s not a right but it is a clue for smart workers looking to switch jobs. Companies that do not immediately tout their telecommute policy are companies mired in the 70’s and 80’s.

I’ve said it before and I know I will say it again, if a manager doesn’t feel that they can get their job done with a distributed team, that is a failing of the manager. If you are in charge of a manager who won’t let employees telecommute because they feel they will lose control, fire the manager, get someone in who can actually do the job.

Conversely, if you have employees that you can’t trust to telecommute, fire them now. If you can’t trust them to work on their own then having them in a cube near you won’t solve the problem.

All of this was sparked because someone I know was pinged today about a job he wanted but had been previously turned down for. Now that he’s telecommuting, he’s really torn because while he still wants the job, he does not want to give up an hour a day of his time just to have it. So I’m calling on all employers. If you manage office bound staff, take some serious time and consider, do you really need your employees in the office each and every day? Can they do their jobs using the technologies available without having to be in the office? Will it improve morale if you offer them a perk that costs you nothing and gives them freedom? Take a step in the right direction, setup a telecommuting plan and let people discover for themselves if they can do the job.

Until next time,