Brian Shaler

Occasionally Interesting

Gravity is for chumps

Archive for June, 2009

Conduit vs Endpoint

I’ve gotten to know a lot of people in the Phoenix technology community by attending, organizing, helping organize, and promoting all kinds of events. I really enjoy meeting new people, but even more so, I enjoy connecting people with others.

In a way, people can be like puzzle pieces to me.

I didn’t set out to have this viewpoint. I made up the puzzle piece part after I started this blog post. When people attend events, they are generally looking for something, whether they know it or not. They might know they are looking for help on a project or a new employee. They may not know that they might otherwise be looking to meet other people in their community with similar interests.

When I meet and get to know people, something happens subconsciously while I listen. I wonder how they fit with the people I already know. You could think of it like a jigsaw puzzle or perhaps even fitting a word onto a Scrabble board.

I don’t consider myself to be a person others need to meet. I don’t do any contract work and as an employee of a company, I don’t hire or contract other people.

I’m not really an endpoint.

However, because of my ability to index the hundreds of people I know and many of their skills and interests, I tend to be a useful as a conduit.

The obvious example is someone looking for help with a software development project, where I can connect them with several options for PHP, Flash, Ruby, Ruby on Rails, .NET, etc. resources and/or developers.

The less obvious example is when I meet a person who is peeking into the tech community for the first time. The second I hear they are interested in design, I can tell them off the top of my head when upcoming design events are, where they can meet people with similar interests. Or connect them directly with people in those circles or organizers of those events.

As this is typically a subconscious thing and I do it so often, I might not even realize I’ve done it. The stories occasionally come back to me, but I bet I’m missing out on some of them. They don’t come full circle, but a certain amount of altruism — possibly affecting someone’s life and expecting absolutely nothing (not even a thank you or recognition) in return.

Tonight, I was at the after party for Ignite Phoenix, and butted in on a conversation between two people I knew and two people I didn’t. During an introduction, I said “I’m Brian,” and was met with, “Wait, this is Brian Shaler? You’re the guy who recommended we work with them!” gesturing to the two guys I knew in the group.

Call me cheesy, but I think there’s something special about being a catalyst for such professional and social relationships.

Ignite Phoenix, Plus More Ignition

Short notice, but the 4th Ignite Phoenix event is Tuesday, June 16th! As of this writing, that’s tomorrow!

Ignite Phoenix
Location: Tempe Center for the Arts
700 W. Rio Salado Parkway
Tempe, AZ 85281
Time: 6:00PM – 9:00PM (If you RSVP’d, get there by 5:30!!)
Cost: Free!

Ignite Phoenix is an awesome and inspiring event where various speakers are given 5 minutes and 20 slides (which automatically progress every 15 seconds) to tell others what they are passionate about. Topics have ranged from my talk one Data Visualization to Dean Heckler’s talk about his experiences designing and manufacturing a desk.

They made 400 tickets available, but sold out within hours of announcing them. However, you can still make it. There will be about 100 walk-in tickets available at a first-come, first-served basis. At 5:45, all reservations will be canceled and all unclaimed tickets will become available to walk-ins. Also, while the presenters will be in the theater, there will be 200 seats available in the Lakeside room, where I think they will be streaming the presentations onto a projector.

More Ignition

I just became aware of a developer-centric spin-off of Ignite Phoenix (which is itself a spin-off of O’Reilly Media’s Ignite). Developer Ignite, sponsored by the Intel Software Network, will be held on July 22nd in Chandler, AZ at Ganplank. The format will be the same, but the content will be all about software development. I will definitely submit a presentation idea, but they will only be selecting 8 presentations. (I didn’t make the cut for Ignite Phoenix, which selected 18 of 73 submissions)

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