My first MVP Summit

I really enjoyed my first MVP Summit as a rather freshly minted Microsoft ASP.NET MVP of all of six months. I struggle with writing about that kind of thing, since MVP posts often turn into "I heard some awesome new secrets, can't tell you, giggle giggle, bye!" taunts, but having been to one I don't think that's so much of a problem. I did hear some new things, but the real highlight was the face to face meetings with old and new friends.

Faces, meet names

  • I finally got to meet Barry Dorrans in person. We've been commenting on each other's blogs since 2004, and we've been in closer contact lately due to Barry's involvement in Subtext, CardSpace and SharpSTS. Barry may be the only a person who's both an expert in developer security (an MVP in it, to be precise) and able to blend in with normal humans.
  • Keith Elder is a force to be reckoned with. I believe he's the one who taught me the lesson about leaving my phone unattended, for which I thank him. I guess. Oh, and he's in the Witty posse.
  • Dustin Campbell is in the process of moving from DevExpress to Microsoft. And he's an F# enthusiast. And much bigger than I am. And, if I remember correctly, I've publicly insulted him recently. Agitate and observe.
  • Dave Donaldson (a.k.a. arcware) is trouble. But he should have called himself arcwelder instead of arcware. That'd be cooler.
  • Javier Lozano and I have "met" this past year via Twitter, and it was great to meet him in person. We talked for a while Tuesday night about a variety of things - my experiences working on Video.Show, Javier's very interesting thoughts about the way language impacts our approach to programming languages (including a Spanish-based .NET programming language he wrote called Azul), and on dynamic languages in general.
  • Laurent Bugnion is another person I've corresponded with via Twitter. He's very knowledgeable about WPF and Silverlight, and we talked for a long time at the ASP.NET MVP dinner.
  • I met and talked to a ton of other people, and I'm sure I'm leaving some off the list. Sorry about that. I'm not mentioning most of the folks I've met previously, (Rick Strahl, Joe Brinkman, etc.) because... oh, wait, I just did.

Lunch With LazyCoder

LazyCoder, a.k.a.  Scott Koon, has been running an awesome blog since about nineteen-ought-seven. He's especially skilled with JavaScript frameworks, but in my personal experience he seems to omniscient and Turing complete. I've been following him on Twitter lately, and we've both been contributing to the Witty Twitter client. I was looking forward to an opportunity to meet him to ensure that he wasn't just a SkyNet prototype. So, Steve Harman, Barry Dorrans, and I wandered off from the summit to meet him for beers lunch.

pictured: Jon, Scott "LazyCoder" Koon, Steve Harman

Extreme Geek Dinner at the Haack House

What happens when you get a bunch of terminally nerdy folks in a room together? They all stare at their laptops and ignore each other.


pictured: the HaHa brothers, PhilHa and ScottHa, preparing for their MVC talk the following day.

And when I hit the space bar my robot does this

pictured: Jon, Steve Harman. Steve is dictating spec#, Jon does his best to keep up.

But, occasionally, a conversation breaks out:

Steven looks louche

pictured: Rob Conery, Jon, Steve

And, if you're lucky, pair programming is put to shame with tripartite programming:

Steve Harman, Phil Haack, and Barry Dorrans finding Steve's bug

pictured: Steve Harman tries to implicate Phil Haack  in an Subtext JavaScript impropriety, but Steve can't hide from SVN blame. Barry Dorrans witnesses the whole sordid affair.

ScottGu vs. KITT

Tuesday was great. I'm pretty sure I learned some interesting things about Silverlight, ASP.NET MVC, and .NET 4.0. But of course the highlight was a surprise ride in Scott Guthrie's brand new car! Arcwelder Dave tells it best:

This needs a little setup. At the end of the day Tuesday, Steve Harman, Jon Galloway, and myself were waiting around to go to building 42 with Rob Conery. Jon was on the phone with Rob, who said he was with Scott (Hanselman we assumed) and they'd pick us up. [...] So when Rob and Scott arrive, Rob calls Jon to say they are out front in a silver car. As we walk out we see Rob in a brand new Infiniti (high end model), at which point I'm thinking, "Damn, Hanselman has some balls to get that for his rental car". But who gets out of the driver side to open the trunk for our bags? Scott Guthrie, not Scott Hanselman. Rob sort of left out that little detail. Anyway, we rolled with it and enjoyed seeing ScottGu drop some f-bombs trying to figure out his new navigation system. Classic.

The Telligenti Presence

It sounds like scary Robert Ludlum novel. To tell the truth, and it kind of is mildly frightening. There are a lot of Telligent MVP's, and from the police reports it sounds like they did their best to destroy Seattle.

The ALT.NET Bad Boys

I got to say "hi" to the ALT.NET toughs, many of whom I'd met before at some point. These guys mostly scare me, and it has nothing to do with their programming methodologies. It's just that, when I talk to them, I get the feeling that I'm about to get shanked and tossed in a dumpster. But, I got to meet Ayende (Oren Eini) and Roy Osherove, and they both seemed nice enough.

Ayende and Roy Osherove

What's funny about this picture is that you can't tell that Ayende is twice as tall as Roy. That's not to slight Roy, Ayende was twice as tall as everyone else at the conference. I saw him pick up a city bus with his bare hands, shake it,  put it back down, and walk slowly away muttering about unrolling loops in Boo. Also, Roy does an awesome impression of Ayende. Who knows, he may be doing an awesome impression of me right now.


It was fun hanging out with K. Scott Allen. We worked together on the wildly popular ASP.NET 2.0 Anthology, and while this was the second time I've met him in person (the first being a Silverlight class he was proctoring in January), this time was way cooler. I believe it was Scott - excuse me, K. Scott - who turned me on to PointUI, a free UI program for Windows Mobile which I'm really enjoying.

Building 18 Cribs tour by Adam Kinney

Adam Kinney gave me a tour of the building 18. Lots of places were familiar from Channel 9 and Channel 10 videos. Adam and I have kept in touch since we met at TechEd 2004, and it was nice to hang out in his office and marvel at the cool decorations. A man in a full sized Channel 9 costume came by and gave us ice cream cones. Apparently that kind of thing goes on all the time in Building 18.

Steve Ballmer is Not a Dumb Man

The short video clips and tiny quotes of Steve Ballmer I've seen over the years try paint him as oafish. That is not at all the case. I saw him interviewed at MIX 08 by Guy Kawasaki, and came away very impressed with Steve. The final MVP Summit event was a question and answer session with Steve, and it just drove the point home. Steve Ballmer is a very sharp guy, and an absolute pleasure to listen to. If you haven't watched the video from Steve's MIX 08 interview, please do.

Steve Ballmer at the MVP 2008 Summit

The Taphouse

The last day of the Summit, a bunch of Twitter folks got together at the Taphouse. That was a great way to finish off the trip.


pictured: Lots of geeks, posing for a picture, thinking about Twittering


pictured: Lots of geeks, Twittering

The Flight Home With Woody

Woody Pewitt, the local Microsoft Developer Evangelist, was probably really looking forward to a quiet, relaxing flight home after months on tour with The Code Trip. Alas, it was not to be. I sat next to him for the entire flight home, keeping him awake with conversations about our respective Naval careers, computer pranks, and how we got into computer programming. I didn't know Woody's experience with the programming community went back to Compuserve forums. Respect!


Comments have been disabled for this content.