so at oscon they are having an oscamp -- basically an event within event. the oscamp is an 'open spaces' event -- where essentially it is an open forum...
a big wall and you basically put your name and topic on the wall. so what better to do for a group of microsofties at an open source conference?
we decided to put our name on the wall (this was about 4:30pm). our goal (honest truth here) was to learn more about the open source community and how microsoft can do better, learn from oss, and be a better oss citizen. can we (my team) immediately impact change? maybe, maybe not -- but having the results of these types of conversation is essentially to determine if we can (and let the people who can influence change know as well). so here goes...
we put our session on the board for thursday at 10:45am. title? 'why we suck: come chat w/microsoft and tell us'
well before i could finish putting the tape up on the board, someone *immediately* saw it and started engaging us in a conversation.
his name was Jair (sorry for any misspelling, i assumed short for jerry, gerald, or something -- he wasn't very forthcoming about his personal details, which was okay). there was something telling about him -- he was wearing a robin hood hat -- for a purpose. at any rate, Jair said there is no way he was going to let us get away with putting a title up like that (which by the way isn't really the attitude of open space events: see rule #1 about 'whoever comes is the right people') and wanted to talk with us immediately about our intentions.
the conversation was long (we left about 6:30pm). i've mentioned this before, but one thing i love about the bigger geek community is the passion we display. at times, our passion pours over into other aspects of our lives. Jair is one of those people. man, he was passionate...i loved it. he has so much energy and it is clear he is passionate about his beliefs...mad props to Jair for that. Jair went on a long conversation with us about his dislike for microsoft (although in reality it wasn't just microsoft, but kinda bigger and more philosophical). i won't go into the details as it would take a while, but i listened. i didn't always understand what he was saying, but listened. i didn't agree with what he was saying on some levels, but i listened. the net-net is that he defined me as an 'unwitting agent' and didn't appreciate that. hmmm...am i an unwitting agent? or am i just as passionite as him?
others gathered and /. heard that 'microsoft guys were here' and entered the room (didn't catch the guys name). google was listening quietly as well (and taking pictures which i'm sure will end up on some blog with some not-so-kind-words). a bigger group gathered and mainly listened to Jair as well...some piped in with some comments.
one comment that i liked from someone who shared some of Jair's views (paraphrasing of course): 'at least you came in here, put something on the board and are talking to us...i don't see mysql or google doing that.' yeah, that's the point. *we* (the team i represent) really do want to understand. do we want to change perception? of course.
well, we'll have to see what happens on thursday morning...stay tuned for the report from the unwitting agents ;-)