Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Door64 Tech Fair

Door64 Tech Fair took place in Austin on 4/30/2009. It was not a job fair -- those are not too common in this economy. Rather than seeking workers, Austin high tech companies "networked" with them, while displaying their wares in the exhibitor hall. In addition there were two presentations: "From Employee to Entrepreneur" by Jonas Lamis and Kevin Koym of Tech Ranch, and Brian Massey's talk on job search.

I know from experience that WiFi usually doesn't work at large events, where everyone is trying to get on the internet at once. So I wasn't surprised that for all practical purposes, WiFi at the Door64 Tech Fair didn't work. A couple of times during the day I ducked out to the Goodwill Computer Store next door, where the signal was reasonably strong. Seeing me crouched on the floor with my laptop, soaking up precious radio waves like a desert traveller gulping down water at a shady well, the store clerks suggested I could plug my laptop into their ethernet cable. W00t! Now that's what I call Good Will!

The Tech Fair resembled a desert in some other ways too. For one thing, out of the bazillion companies displaying there, only two said they were hiring. In a more literal sense, it was too hot, as the A/C in the Goodwill Community Center wasn't working very well. The two presentations were standing room only, and the lack of proper air conditioning made them rather... intimate. Power outlets were also lacking at this place. Yet unexpectedly I found one. As I folded myself under the table in the corner, seeking out the last available square foot of the floor space at the Jonas Lamis and Kevin Koym presentation (yes, it was that crowded!), the deities of the Net guided my eyes towards a lone, well-hidden power outlet.

As one can guess from its title, Lamis and Koym talk "From Employee to Entrepreneur" addressed the ever-so-popular American dream of quitting your job and going into business for yourself. Yet to these two founders of Tech Ranch it has become reality. Some of their advice will appear in my next post.

I noticed there was a glut of companies that made code review, search, testing or verification tools. I talked with at least 5 or 6 of them. Wondered if there is really such a great demand for these kind of tools, even though similar functionalities are part of most IDEs (OK, at least Microsoft Visual Studio). No less than two of them had "Smart" in their name. Here is, for example, an image of a representative of Smart Bear Software talking to a guy at Smartesoft booth. With so many smart products to choose from, the field must be getting uncomfortably crowded...

Pictures from Door64 Tech Fair can be found in my photo gallery.

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