What's the first thing you think of when I say "Bahamas in February"? If you said "code", then you're my target audience for this post.
First, a recap of the BahaNET meeting last Thursday night. We finally hit double-digit attendance for the first time which is very exciting, even if the number includes yours truly. A midway surge of three people added 40% to the numbers to bring us to the coveted "ten people". It was very exciting. Especially considering the topic was version control.
But that's not what I came here to talk about. Something that's been nagging in the back of my head for some time now is the possibility of an event in the Bahamas, hopefully next February or thereabouts. I don't want to call it a code camp just yet because I'm not sure that's what I want to do. A code camp seems local in scope and I'm still trying to figure out if we have the user base to justify it.
Another option is to make it more summit-y. I.e. invite people from around the world for a nice little software development love-in. What can we offer that other conferences don't? Well, nothing from the professional development side of things. But just the same, I think we'd have a decent turn-out for some reason. I've had a *lot* of interest in this option. Not sure how much of that will translate to actual plane tickets being booked but it's encouraging nonetheless.
There is a downside to the latter option that I think is pretty important. We would lose the local focus. I think there is still work to be done within the country before we start inviting software heavyweights down here to talk about functional programming and DDDD.
Which leads me to another option, and I swear I had this in mind before Kaizen came out. Instead of a code camp where there is presentation after presentation, I'd like to hold two days (minimum) of practical workshops. A workshop would be four hours long and ideally, we'd have at least two or three "tracks", with at least one of them geared very much toward beginners. At least on the first morning.
I believe this would offer the best of both worlds. The local development community could benefit from some hands-on training and the global community could pass on their knowledge in between margaritas on the beach.
I do have a medium- to long-term plan for the industry in the Bahamas. Realistically, a full day of 75 minute presentations doesn't fit in with that goal right now. And as much as I would love to invite the world to the Bahamas for Caribbean TechFest so we can debate the pros and cons of IronRuby, that isn't going to help the fledgling software industry in my adopted homeland.
I've been talking with some people rather vaguely about some of this already for some time and I suppose this is simply a way to try to crystallize things in a semi-permanent format. I'd be eternally grateful to anyone who can provide constructive feedback and/or advice on any of this as February is not quite as far away as I would hope.
Kyle the Planned