Last week from Wednesday 19th till Friday 21st of November, Vilnius the capital city of Lithuania was invaded by no less than 700 geeks who gathered there to attend to Build Stuff, THE software conference which as its name indicates, is all about people who actually build stuff on a daily basis. Not only software, but well crafted, highly efficient and easily maintainable software. Doing so is the most difficult task in our industry.
A great conference
This year was the third installment of the conference which was initiated in 2012 by Greg Young (the man behind CQRS and EvenStore). It is now apparently the largest conference in Eastern Europe. This year, like the previous ones, the topics of the talks were about lots of different subjects, with lots of different technologies and addressing lots of different problem domains, with one common denominator: pragmatism. The good thing about this conference is that there is no bigotry or judgment. Yes there are people advocating for one practice or the other, a given technology or language, but all stay open minded. Whatever works for you, right?
That’s what makes Build Stuff one of the very best conference in Europe. What is so special about it is that not only the speakers are very talented people who have extended knowledge in their field (and I don’t say that because I was speaking there myself this year), but also the attendees are highly skilled people who are passionate about what they do, and could pretty well be speakers themselves for that matter.
This is literally what happened to me. In 2013, I was in Vilnius as an attendee. In 2014, I was there doing a talk. In 2015, who knows…
Here is a short video that Damien, a colleague of mine, was kind enough to take while I was speaking.
and here are the slides
In retrospect, I think the talk went pretty well. The feedback I got from the audience was positive anyway. I was quite surprised to see that so many people actually showed up to listen to me. I know that for my part, I would probably have gone to see Eric Evans who was speaking in the next room at that time, but I kinda *had* to be there 😉
Anyway, it was a great experience for me and I am eager to see if I can reiterate next year. I already have a bunch of subjects. I just need to see if I can make one of them interesting enough to keep such an expecting audience in a room for 55 minutes. But there is time.
What I brought back from Vilnius
Here are a few thoughts that I gathered during these 3 days :
- Agile and Lean is kind of an evidence: no one at Build Stuff seems to doubt that the right way to do things it to work in small increments, to release often and deliver value to your customers on a regular basis. Some do it in different ways, but the ground principles stay the same.
- Open source is better than ever: Not only has Microsoft just announced that the .NET framework is not open source, but most of people you meet at Build Stuff contribute in one way or another to one or more OSS projects. Github king and nobody denies it.
- F# is getting bigger and bigger: According to Greg himself, Build Stuff is currently the largest F# conference in the world. I counted no less than 8 talks related to F# but I might have missed some. Functional programming in a more general sense is in the spotlight and F# is a prime candidate since it is a general purpose programming language that is functional first but is also object oriented and fully compliant with the CLR.
To summarize, I can reasonably say that attending Build Stuff is one of the best thing you can offer to your team members (Agile Partner actually sent 10 people there, including me). The return on time invested is definitely worth it. Add to that that the price for the 3 days conference is more than affordable, that accommodation is quite cheap and that Build Stuff provides a lot of free beer and you get yourself the very best conference in Europe at the moment. At least that’s my opinion.
By the way, did I mention that the super early bird registration for 2015 is already available for this year attendees?