Beginning Wednesday, March 27 at 7:30 am IT-oLogy was a buzz with the energy of hundreds to begin the annual open source conference in Columbia, SC. Professionals itching to get a good seat for the first keynote address filled up on coffee and networked until it was time to take a seat.
Below is a guest post from POSSCON attendee and active IT-oLogy Volunteer, Traci Carnes.
I’m a duck. After years of searching for my identity, I am relieved to realize this. I reached this conclusion at the 2013 Palmetto Open Source Conference (POSSCON). In case you aren’t aware of POSSCON or even open source software let me give you quick overview. Open Source champions collaboration and transparency in the creation of IT projects for the use of many and design by and for many more. As one POSSCON speaker explained so eloquently, it’s like sharing cookies and the recipe for making and modifying more cookies. And who doesn’t love cookies?
I have worked in business environments for years. And by business environments I mean the most businessy type of industries such as insurance and corporate finance. I also put in my fair share of time in non-profit and small business development. Yet, no matter what type of conference room I found myself or what type of project needed a solution; I always talked tech. My innate desire to bring digital solutions to enterprise growth always sneaks out.
Yet, I noticed that in tech environments I tend to talk about business application. I talk business at tech meetings and tech at business meetings. So, there is always this moment when I move from one environment to the other that I seem to flounder.
Instead of a fish out of water, I concluded that I feel like a bird in water. I flap around, taking deep gulps of new information, trying to fly, trying to swim, all while getting my feet wet. I felt this moment at POSSCON. There I was wearing my name badge with “Insurance” clearly labeling me, yet reveling in all the tech talk. I felt simultaneously at home and lost. At least in those first few hours. Then something began to happen as it usually does. I began connecting with others.
The whole conference pulsated with an energy of creativity and brilliance. Speakers and attendees overflowed with knowledge. I spent most of the first day meeting new people. Developers, programmers, engineers and project managers from all types of industry spilled over with a passion for IT. We were the embodiment of Information Technology, retrieving, transmitting and storing bits of information between us.
The real magic happened for me on day two when my tongue stuck to the roof of my mouth while meeting Christian Heilmann, Principal Developer Evangelist for Mozilla Firefox. I finally got the meaning of the phrase, “geeking out.” I totally geeked out. Not one to experience being star struck I am still marveling over it. Then to quickly follow that by meeting the Director of New Media Technologies for the White House, Leigh Heyman. Well, let’s just say that I am still tingling with excitement.
Later, during his keynote speech, when Leigh Heyman referenced his time as one of the “black t-shirt crowd” and the contrast to his current suit wearing position, I realized there are many ducks out there. We need these people willing to wade between business and IT to keep all of us afloat.
You only have two options in enterprise development; stagnate or grow. We can equate this to being a bird in water. You only have two choices there; drown or evolve. Without doubt, digital solutions will continue to grow. How we apply those to economic growth will take a lot of people and organizations, like IT-oLogy, promoting this cross-germination between industry and IT. In that moment of seeking solutions when you realize you can’t swim and you can’t fly, let’s paddle.