Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Upcoming Keynote: Smithying in the 21st Century

I have two keynotes that I'm giving at various conferences this year. The first out of the gate was On the Lam from the Furniture Police, which I debutted at the Code Freeze conference in Minneapolis -- I'll have more to say about this keynote in a future blog post when it's about to appear again.

Smithying in the 21st Century comes next. I love metaphorical titles, and this one harks back to the changes in the blacksmith profession just after the turn of the century (in this case, the 20th one). If you were a blacksmith 1890, you had a terrific career path. However, once automobiles came along, the profession gradually diminished to a shadow of what it was.

Here's the abstract:

Blacksmiths in 1900 and PowerBuilder developers in 1996 have something in common: they thought their job was safe forever. Yet circumstances proved them wrong. One of the nagging concerns for developers is how do you predict the Next Big Thing, preferably before you find yourself dinosaurized. This keynote discusses why people are bad at predicting the future, and why picking the Next Big Thing is hard. Then, it foolishly does just that: tries to predict the future. I also provide some guidelines on how to polish your crystal ball, giving you tools to help ferret out upcoming trends. Don't get caught by the rising tide of the next major coolness: nothing's sadder than an unemployed farrier watching cars drive by.

I'm debutting some form of this one twice in 1 day! I'll give a short version of this keynote at the International Association of Software Architect's ITArc Atlanta Regional Conference as 1/2 of the opening keynote on Friday morning. Then, I get on a plane and fly to Milwaukee, where I'm scheduled to give the first real version of it as part of No Fluff, Just Stuff Greater Wisconsin Software Symposium. The research has been a blast, and I'm looking forward to putting it in front of people. There should be some interesting surprises lurking...

1 comment:

Dan said...

That's interesting...I first heard a similar comparison a few years back where the conference speaker compared our profession to the railroad industry. We're still pounding those railroad ties by hand in our current state of maturity.