Two challenges facing the human race.

I see two challenges facing the human race.

Water shortages

The current potable water crisis in California is a foreshadowing of the unforeseen consequences of climate change and population explosion. Simple conservation will not be enough. Our planet’s natural water cycle is struggling under the burden humans have placed upon it in their unflinching quest for water. We can survive without oil but we cannot survive without water.

Short-Term Thinking

The second is more subtle, but I believe Western society has discarded and forgotten the importance of the softer attributes of what it means to be human. Our quest for progress has pushed aside anything that does not immediately contribute to short term goals and profit. We esteem this pursuit in the media and the “have-nots” are left with two choices. They either resign their drive to succeed and “coast” through the rest of their life, or consciously object and pursue a life at the edge of traditional society through other means.

This is catching up to us as the current trend of press around “Why aren’t millennials <fill in the blank>”. I’m a millennial myself (born in 1982, so at the top end) but see this distinction clearly between my social group.

Society will be forced to repay and repair the rips to our social fabric that have been created. Humans aren’t ready to face this, but I believe I will see the pendulum swing back during my lifetime.

Why does the software community matter?

Since the beginning of appendTo, we’ve constantly said we support the community. I view that supportive posture as one of the keys to the success we’ve seen so far, but we’ve done little to explain why. I was graciously given the opportunity to talk a little bit about this prior to the keynote this week at the devLink Technical Conference and I wanted to re-post the transcript of what I said here on my blog.

This is a subject I am passionate about and see as a key pillar in appendTo fulfilling its purpose as a business.  I’m excited to share more of this perspective publicly.

Are you a fan of supporting community? Why or why not? Let me know in the comments!

Good Morning devLink!

As CEO of appendTo, I have the privilege of attending many different tech conferences all over the world. Last year was my first year at devLink and I was completely blown away. Every conference I went to last year spent a lot of time talking about community, but devLink lived it in a way that has no equal. What I realized is that John and the rest of the devLink team do this because they love this community and want to do what they can to make it better. Believe me. It shows. So, when John asked if appendTo wanted to sponsor devLink this year, we jumped at the chance to lend our support.

I’d like to share two quick things with you this morning as we all gather to kick off devLink this year.

The first point I’d like to share is why the software development community is special and why it is so important.

Economically, software developers are quickly becoming a scarce resource. We constantly hear that good developers are hard to find, but the people that say that obviously don’t know about this conference.

Seriously though, the statistics show that 70,000 software developer jobs each year go unfilled as companies transition to rely more and more on the tools and frameworks we build to make their businesses run. That translates into a great opportunity for every single person in this room but presents challenges for the world around us.

These statistics look grim but represent a fundamental misunderstanding of what software developers are capable of. They think the size of the pie is fixed. They don’t realize the power of Open Source and that sharing knowledge is far better than hiding it. They don’t understand that what we call our Developer community is one of the best organized grass-roots organizations in existence today. We spread an incredible amount of knowledge about our craft faster than any other group of people before us.

This ability to organize, to share and improve our craft is our super power. It is how we will face the challenges of the future and win. It is how we can each do our part to make the world a better place. That’s what our community is and why appendTo and I am honored to be a part of it.

As a member of this community, the second thing I’d like to do is challenge each and every one of you this week. I’d like you to join me and everyone else in this room in making our community a little bit better while you’re here at devLink.

If you’re an attendee, thank the speaker of each presentation you attend for the blood sweat and tears they invested to put their presentation together. A simple thank you can make that Speaker’s day and will help show them that the late nights preparing and practicing their talks was worth it.

Speakers, thank the attendees for coming to your talk to listen. They have a lot of choices this week and saw something special in the work you did to prepare your material.

Finally, thank the conference organizers for all of the work that goes into putting on an event like this. The work involved in putting together an event of this size takes an army of people volunteering their time to invest in each and everyone one of you.

Our community will be as strong as we make it. By attending this event, you are joining with thousands of other software developers across the world in helping to create a better world for us all.

Thank you!