About 18 months ago, I participated in an event that changed my life, although I didn't quite grasp the significance at the time: I spoke at my first No Fluff, Just Stuff conference in Austin, TX. My publisher, Manning, put me in touch with Jay Zimmerman, and we played phone tag for a few weeks. When I finally talked to him about speaking at that first show, he kept going on and on about "this show is more advanced than other conferences" and "I'm really dedicated to keep the quality sky high". Basically, the stuff I've heard over and over again from other conference organizers. I was no spring chicken at conference speaking. I had already presented more than 100 conference sessions all over the world. So, I thought "Yada, yada, more of the 'we're better than everyone else' blather."
But a funny thing happened in Austin: he was right! Suddenly, my ace game was barely adequate. I distinctly remember telling co-workers when I returned that I felt like a kid eating at the adult's table. Jay had (and has) managed to create an extraordinary gathering in every city he visits. I have perspective on this because I've been to lots of conferences. Maybe it's the weekend seclusion, or the longer than average sessions, or the high level of discourse in the session which spills into the hallways, the meals, and to everyone you meet. It's all those things, with one more keystone ingredient: the speakers. I am honored and humbled to be considered a part of this extraordinary group of individuals: the most brilliant minds in the industry, genuinely personable, gregarious, funny, and centered. Jay has created a work of genius, gathering this group to talk about technology 27 weekends a year.
Until now, unless you were a technology switch hitter, you had to be in the Java (or, increasingly, Ruby) crowd to even know that No Fluff, Just Stuff existed. Now, Jay is expanding this phenomenon to the .NET world. December 2nd begins a new era for .NET developers: you get your very own No Fluff, Just Stuff. Ted Neward is running this show, and it is his considerable burden to re-create the pure magic of No Fluff, Just Stuff in the .NET space. If anyone can pull it off, he can. A new group of speakers, a new set of cities, and a new chance to create a community revolving around the most unlikely of campfires: a computer platform. There are a few of us participating in both worlds (myself, Ted, Glenn Vanderburg, Stuart Halloway, and a few others). It will be our job to set the tone for the new speakers to create the same but different ambiance for a new crowd.
Every so often, an event happens that you simply cannot miss, and, for .NET developers, this is the Beatles in Shea Stadium, Elvis on Ed Sullivan, and Johnny Carson's last Tonight Show. The premiere. One weekend only. Denver, December 2-4, 2005. The first of many, many No Fluff, Just Stuff.NET shows. You have to see it to believe it.