Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Calm Before the Storm: STP-CON, Spring 2013

I arrived at San Diego International airport a little later than I had hoped to. The delays were cascading throughout the day, and each delay caused another to be an issue. As I mentioned in my previous post, the delay caused me to miss the group outing at the Padres game, but that missed opportunity led to another one instead.

Matt Heusser was in the main bar area talking to a number of people that I had not seen before. It turns out that most of these were co-workers of his working with him at his current consulting gig, and so I had a chance to spend a few hours talking about testing and some other random topics (New Orleans, shipping live crayfish, and the things in our lives that brought us to some major decision points) all wile overlooking the San Diego Bay from the corner windows of Island Prime, a rather excellent steak and seafood house. Great food, and great conversation.

As we walked back and the group dispersed, Matt and I saw  Mark Tomlinson, James Pulley and Andy Tinkham siting in the back of the bar area, so we continued the conversation for a couple more hours, talking about the challenges of addressing security and performance, and having confirmed my earlier thoughts that getting someone as a tester well versed in both software security and software performance, along with automation skills, was akin to looking for a purple unicorn. I also had a lot of fun discussing my ideas for my "Let's Stop Faking It" talk that I will hope to present later this year. In addition to helping me clarify some of my ideas, they gave me a number of new areas to consider, including some rather old books that deal with software systems architecture, as well as some hacker journals I would be well advised to research.

That's the great thing about these conferences. Sure, we give a lot of of press to the talks and presentations (I hope so, it's a Lion's Share of why I am here in the first place) but more than the actual talks and presentations, it's what happens outside of the official talks that often make the biggest difference. The conference hasn't even officially started for me, and I've already had the chance to spend six hours with people dealing with big issues, big ideas, and willing to challenge my world view and way of thinking. Not a bad start at all, to say the least. Here's looking forward to what tomorrow and the next few days will bring. As always, I intend to do my best to bring you all the details as they happen, or at least as close to that as possible. Please follow along with me, and let me share what I learn with you.

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