IBM InterConnect dev@: A place to explore, learn, and enjoy
There was never a dull moment at IBM InterConnect this week. With countless sessions to attend and customers to meet with, I had been quite busy myself. But one particular event of interest at the show was the dev@InterConnect area. As a developer, I made sure to visit the labs, and I was not disappointed by what I saw.
The dev@ area was in a way hidden from the rest of InterConnect. One had to travel to the MGM Grand portion of InterConnect, away from the expo hall and breakout session rooms where most attendees could be found. After climbing to the third floor of the building I at once understood what had been meant by the term “Developer Playground” that was one of the descriptions for the dev@ event.
Here was a place to play, learn, and enjoy. Inside the lounge I saw the past, present, and future of video gaming. IBM had set up a few arcade systems, as well as all the current gen consoles from Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo. Perhaps the tech that interested me most in the lounge was the Occulus Rift. I was really surprised to see this upcoming VR headset at InterConnect and it seems that so was everyone else. Throughout the day there was a perpetual queue for those wanting to put on the Rift and experiment with flying a virtual plane while using the VR headset.
Dev@ was also holding Ignite talks during the time I attended. Ignite was simply many back-to-back short presentations covering a single topic. Each presentation was timed to be only 5 minutes long, and the presentation slides would auto-advance every 15 seconds. This put some pressure on the presenters to get their message across clearly, but everyone did a great job at that.
The talks ranged from the inspiring, to the thought-provoking, to amusing (See Stephan’s post which includes the man who ran a Minecraft server on a bank’s system Z mainframe just because he could).
One Ignite talk that I found inspiring was a discussion on why someone might want to be a developer advocate. The thought behind this was that if you love developing, why not talk about your experience and share it with others? Enough developers keep to themselves about the work that they do, but development can be brilliant and talking about the interesting work that you are doing has its benefits.
The speaker pointed out that discussion about your development work aids the Agile process, providing your colleagues with greater understanding about the work you have done on a shared project. Also mentioned was that being vocal about your development efforts and advocating development in a general sense helps you stand out from the crowd in a positive way, and this may help you in future endeavors.
Another Ignite talk by an individual from IBM looked at development from a different, perhaps business perspective. Development can be fun, especially for projects done as a hobby, but startups can sometimes have trouble in determining how best to market the great technology that they have created. Some thoughts to keep in mind for those in such a situation are:
- Who is your product going to be relevant to?
- What market segment should this product exist in?
- How will you get your target market interested in your product?
- Customers want confidence that what they will enjoy what they have bought. You want to leave a positive impression in the long term.
On that topic, the speaker mentioned that IBM is interested in working with startups to help them solve these challenging questions. If that sounds relevant to your situation, it’s worth taking a look at their web page here.
Overall I found dev@ to be a fun way to spend time at InterConnect while not attending expo booths, keynotes or sessions. If you did not yet have a chance to see dev@, it is worth a visit and I would be on the lookout for this at next year’s InterConnect.