there is always a bigger fish

§ June 26, 2010 14:43 by beefarino |

In my previous post I mentioned I'd post a detailed story related to "Community," and here it is.

About two years ago my good friend and colleague Brady Gaster accompanied me to a meeting of the Enterprise Developer's Guild.  Brian Hitney was presenting on ASP.NET MVC.  This was the first users group I had ever attended.  For realsies.

I'm not a terribly social bird in these situations.  It's not that I'm afraid or antisocial, I just don't really know how to engage someone I don't know anything about.  But Brady seemed to know just about everyone, and everyone seemed to know him.  It was amazing to watch him flow in and out of conversations, as if he were simply the breeze that carried the discussion.  So I took a deep breath and started to look around the room for someone to talk to. 

That's when Brady scolded me: "Don't do that."

"What dude?" I replied.

Brady refit his baseball cap and said, "You're being a dick."

I was dumbfounded.  I remember feeling like I had broken some unwritten code of user group geek etiquette by rubbernecking for a familiar face.  "What did I do?"

Brady: "You're scanning the pond."

Me: *blink*

Brady followed on, "You're looking around the room trying to see if you're a shark or a fish.  That's a dick thing to do.  Don't do that."

I eeked out of Brady that he thought I was visually guesstimating my mental abilities against the others in the room.  This is one of his pet peeves, if you didn't know already.  I don't think that's what I was doing, but that's outside the real issue.  I want to focus on Brady's intent...

Pigeon-holeing an idea or belittling a person is easy.  Unfortunately it says more about you than it does the other person.  If you chose to act this way around your peers, you're a dick.  No one wants to work with you or have you around because you make them feel devalued.

Building someone up or enabling them to succeed is hard.  Fortunately it says as much about you as it does the other person.  People will be comfortable with you, maybe even look forward to your involvement with things.

It's a Community.  We're all fish here, and regardless of the state of your self-esteem, there is always a bigger fish.


Hard Reset of Career and Life

§ May 26, 2010 00:01 by beefarino |

The best way to predict your future is to create it. -Peter Drucker.

So I've been MIA for a while.  At least here.  I thought it would be best to jot down the happenings of the last 5 months, as things have changed dramatically for me in that time.

In March of 2010, I made the decision to become self-employed.  Well, technically speaking I work for the company I own.  I had lots of reasons for doing this, but it basically boiled down to making a living vs. living my life.  The facts: I was not satisfied with my full-time employment situation and wanted a change; I found myself in a very rare and positive position, with enough freelance work to sustain me and my family for a year; I have some personal projects I want to get up and running that require significant personal investment.  This is something I've wanted to attempt for some time, and I simply could not imagine a better opportunity to do so.  My new venture is Code Owls LLC, website forthcoming.  That's my logo there, thanks to  And I'm happy to report that after only two months I'm already having to turn away work.

Last Thursday (May 20, 2010) I presented an hour session to the Charlotte ALT.NET group titled "Distributed Version Control using Mercurial".  Reception was good, despite a botched example and the seemingly endless command-line pounding.  I plan to post a summary of the talk as a blog post soon.

I'm also excited about the upcoming CodeStock community event.  There are so many awesome sessions and panels to attend, choosing a schedule will be very difficult.  I'm also presenting two sessions, one on PowerShell as a tools platform, and another on getting started on the Arduino platform.  A big Thank You to everyone who offered their votes to my sessions - I apparantly earned an "Elder Award" by getting both sessions voted into the top 20!

I've also jumped in to a new local community in here in Charlotte, NC: the Charlotte Arduinophiles.  This is a group of local evil and benevolent masterminds that love to hack using the Arduino hardware platform.  Special thanks to Brady on getting this rolling; we are presently getting organized, and at the moment most of our activity is focused at, where we share our hacks and projects and look for feedback.  Rumblings from the current participants seem to point to organized hack sessions and contests; e.g., maze-solving bot design evenings.  If you are interested in joining us, regardless of your experience, drop me a note.

So there you have it.  Big changes but a much happier me.