I just got back from FOWA Miami 2009. The event was awesome and I met tons of amazing folks (including the amazing Gary Vaynerchuk). There were plenty of amazing tech revelations at the event, and more talk about business and marketing. The latter was more relevant for me.
While there was definitely a lot of good talks during FOWA, a few really stood out for me: Jason Fried, Joel Spolsky, and Gary Vaynerchuck. Since I was recently laid off, I’ve been looking for some guidance in how I’m going to approach working independently. The take away from those three speakers was: Don’t learn from failure, but success, eliminate distractions when working on code, and ‘Care’.
Jason Fried, founder of 37 signals and one of the creators of Ruby on Rails, spoke without slides to aid him. He spoke about business and startup strategy. One of the more impressive things he said, was that he never failed. He furthered the point stating he’s “tired of people talking about learning from failure”. Another quote: “Does that mean you gotta fail a million times to figure out what works?”.
I’m not going to fail.
Joel Spolsky’s speech could have easily been taken as a pitch to hire new developers. The extent to which his company makes developers feel comfortable, and strides to stay out of their way, is awesome. He talked at length about how developers do the most amazing work when they’re “in the zone”. Interrupting them only serves to keep them out of that zone, and limit the production that can be realized by them.
I’m not going to let stupid shit interrupt me when I’m working.
Gary V’s speech was definitely the most enthralling of the event. That guy is definitely one of the most incredible people I have ever met. His speech was actually pretty short, but he took a lot of Q/A to fill the space. One attendee asked Gary something about marketing strategy. Gary’s response: “You wan’t a frickin marketing strategy? CARE”. He went on to talk about the number of existing marketing strategies that only serve to make a one time purchase / sale, and how damaging that is to a brand.
I will care about what I make and what I do.
So that’s the take away for me. I’m not going to fail or let myself get interrupted, but I’m sure as hell going to care about what I’m doing. I’m incredibly excited about everything that’s possible right now.
It’s probably already been said, but I can’t thank the people at Carsonified enough for putting on this show. I had an awesome time, and I really appreciate the effort it must have taken to pull it off.