To the credit of O’Rielly, the conference seemed to include a lot of heavyweights, tons of people who have done great things, but the audience and the speakers alike seemed to me to be a strange mix between the next version of what we’re all building and the last version of whatever it was that survived the bubble’s burst. RSS was the buzzword that just wouldn’t die, despite the age of the technology and its relative lack of interest (which I think officially makes me a curmudgeon). Likewise, DHTML is getting attention I didn’t think would ever be possible a year ago. It was the best conference the year 2000 never had.
I think at first that sounds harsh, but I say it not because I’m trying to diss the con, but because the feeling in the air reminded me of the excitement that permeated Wired or the Industry Standard back in the heyday: interesting people doing some cool things and people willing to make the ride happen for their particular pound of flesh.
Which I guess is what it’s all about. The ride, the game, the biz. Whatever you want to call it, this is a truly crazy place to live when you’re in this business, but there are a ton of people who come here just to get a Good Job (TM) and make money. And then there is “us”. The people that are here to do interesting things because something inside of us compels us to work on problems that catch our eye. To make people’s lives better. To be geeks in the service of the world at large.
Lots of people don’t really get that, and I can’t say that it makes much sense to me either, but I can tell you that I love being a part of it. I feel blessed by all the people I’ve met over the past year, and I get the feeling that I always want to be a part of what is happening here. To be “in the game”, if only because I can’t imagine not being in it.