Helping Developers Bridge the Gap

In yesterday’s post, I talked about finding your niche.  Today, I share more about my niche and my plans to get back into it.

I used to run Silvafug, the Silicon Valley Flex Users Group.  During my tenure, the group accomplished a lot. (Heck even without me, the group is still doing a lot.) However, one goal eluded me, despite having a great need to be attained.  I think it’s time to revisit that goal.  What is it?

Helping Flex developers bridge the gap from beginner-to-mid and/or mid-to-advance level.

It’s an ambitious goal, but hey, why aim small, right?  I sorta started down the path with a “hit” series of mine, “Graduating from Hack to Architected Development” (available on 360|Whisperings and Adobe’s Flex Developer Center)  Adobe said that was one of their most successful pieces at the time, though I’m sure many have surpassed it now.
Continue reading “Helping Developers Bridge the Gap”

Finding Your Niche Via What Makes You Happy

I’m amazed by people who have a singular passion. In addition, I’m in awe with those that have many passions, but the will power to focus on just one to the point of major success.  I fit in neither of those two categories.

My curse is I work hard to be just “good enough” in one passion, then move on to another.  By “good enough”, I mean good enough for me.  I’ll take a rare indulgence here (take a picture, it’ll last longer) and say that my “good enough” is better than some people’s “best”.  I take this odd (for me) stance for a good reason, and it’s not just to stroke my ego.

Mankind has a strange habit of staying with something that is comfortable, regardless of passion or happiness.  I know people (myself included) who stayed at a job because it was easy and comfortable, long after the passion and happiness were gone.  These people are giving their “best” but without passion or happiness.  Therefore, when I enter the same space with passion and happiness, I can attain more in a shorter time merely because the passion will help push me further. Continue reading “Finding Your Niche Via What Makes You Happy”

Leaving the Valley, Geeks and Workday for the Desert, Family and my Startup

Yup, you read that right.  It’s been a wonderful 3+ years in Silicon Valley, but it’s time to head to the desert of Queen Creek, Arizona.  I jump started my career here.  It’s funny to say that because I moved here when I was 30!  But these past 3 years did more for my professional life than my previous 12 years of working in Southern California.

There are two reasons I’m moving.  One is sappy and is detailed on this post over on my spiritual blog.

The other is related to my day-to-day activities.  In these tough economic times, I feel lucky and sad at the same time.  Some out there do not have a job or are stuck in a deadend job.  I, on the other hand, have two great opportunities in my life.

The first is my employer for the past year and a half, Workday.  Many people come to the Valley in search of that great startup to join.  Workday definitely fits the bill.  The people are incredibly talented and the work is some of the most challenging out there.  My team is one of the best I’ve ever worked for.  (If you want to join the Workday UI team, drop me a note and your resume/cv at Continue reading “Leaving the Valley, Geeks and Workday for the Desert, Family and my Startup”

Help me teach you Flex!

John posed a question to me the other day: What’s important to you?  I’ll leave out the obvious answers: wife, two kids, and church.  He was asking more in relation to business and in particular, our business: 360|Conferences.  So I was noodling on an answer for him.

Saturday morning, I finally caught up on a thread on an internal Flex list.  The list was about a fairly common problem we have in the Flex world.  There seems to be a nefarious void that people learning Flex tend to fall into.  One where they’re beyond “This is a file.  This a tag, made up of brackets and text in between them.” and below “I just rewrote the AdvancedDataGrid component to run 50% faster.”  I have feelings in regards to how to help folks cross that void, so I started noodling a response to the thread.

Then it dawned on me, my two noodles were of the same type: helping folks grow and learn. Continue reading “Help me teach you Flex!”

See you at FlexCamp and 360Flex!

Sorry for my long absence, but it’s been a busy past month.

We made the move from San Jose to Walnut Creek. The reason for the move was in an earlier post. I’m an employee at Workday, Inc. It’s a truly great company, doing some amazing stuff. The move and conference have prevented me from going hog wild on the code, but I’m rectifying that now by having some alone time with the code and trying to work on my bugs. If you’re heavy into Flex and want to do some amazing things that will change the ERP space, talk with us.

When and where can you meet us? At Adobe’s Flex Camp tonight. Me and some members of the Dev team will be there. I’ll be the loud laughing Mexican sporting a Workday t-shirt. Stop and say hi to me and the team. We may even demo what we’re working on if you ask nicely. =)

The other thing eating my time like nobody’s business is 360Flex Seattle. It’s going down August 13-15. John and I have been hard at work on this. Having a central hotel and proper conference space is bit more involved than just giving random hotel links and booking an internal corporate meeting space. =) That said though, this one is going to blow away the first 360Flex conference. We’ll have some cool oversized postcards promoting 360Flex to give out at Flex Camp, so look for them! Hint: They’ll be next to the cool green 360Flex t-shirt!

I love meeting and interacting with members of the Flex community, new and old. If you’re a newbie, check out my free trainings at the Silvafug site. Stop and ask me about any roadblocks your facing while starting up. If you’re a guru, stop and chat too. I’m always interested in meeting those folks that are taking Flex to the next level.

See ya soon!

Leaving eBay to start a new Workday

It’s official. My last day as an eBay employee was Friday, June 8th. My first day as a Workday employee is Thursday, June 14th.

This is the first time I switched jobs for a strategic purpose vs. disliking the company. As a whole, the team I worked with at eBay was great. The North Campus where I sat most of my eBay life is beautiful. The work was fun and rewarding, especially during the “crunch” times.

I grew a lot during my tenure at eBay. Silvafug, free Flex training and 360|Flex were all hatched during that time. Heck, eBay even hosted the first 360|Flex conference!

If it was all so great, why leave?

One thing is size. I’ve been in corporate life for quite sometime now. I miss the days of knowing most, if not all, of a company’s employees. Knowing a team of 20 at eBay was nice, but was a drop in the bucket in number of total employees. At Workday, knowing 20 would be roughly 1/5 or 1/6 of the company.

Another thing is the amount of customers I can impact. At eBay, my direct customers were the various internal users of my apps. Indirectly, one could say that all the eBay buyers and sellers were my customers too, but I never felt that vibe. At Workday, I’ll be joining the UI team and will directly serve Workday’s customer base. I can help make the lives of these people more simple, fun and efficient. As the numbers of customers grow at Workday, so will the number of people I help. After serving a few hundred customers directly with 360|Flex, I found that serving large numbers of customers directly is something I enjoy.

I’ll be moving out to Walnut Creek for my new job. It has a slower pace feel to it than San Jose does. It also has a ton of restaurants that I can’t wait to try!

Adios, eBay: It’s been a blast!

Hola, Workday: Let’s make amazing things happen!

Flash Exodus is over.

I just saw a demo of the new Flash CS3 and Flex 2 integration. I was a flash guy, strictly for RIA stuff back in the day. I left the timeline behind though and never looked back when Flex came out. After what I saw today though, I’ll be returning to the promise land. Timelines will once again fill my screen

Flash components are full class citizens in Flex. You just set the registration point to 0,0, i.e. top left corne. You can then add properties and events inside of Flash, do a quick little export ditty, and their available in Flex for you to access and do as you bid. The export process from Flash creates a swc that you add to your project property. Once added, it becomes available to you like any other component. Flash Frame Labels auto equal Flex States. Tweens can then map to transitions. It’s amazing.

I’ll be sure to share the connect recording of this at my next Silvafug meeting on May 10th. Flash/Flex Integration AND Doug McCune yapping about building crazy custom components! You gotta be there! =)

My 360Flex Cairngorm Session – What do you want?

Hi Folks,

I’m doing the Cairngorm Session on Monday and was wondering, what do you all want to hear? I have like a bazillion ways to take the talk. I’ll list a few, then you can choose. By all means however, post your own ideas if you would like.

Here’s my ideas, in random order with commentary :

  1. Straight up – This is Cairngorm
    This talk would cover what cairngorm is. No code other than the framework. I feel that this has been overdone, but I’ll do it y’all want.
  2. Simple App Gone Cairngorm
    It would be nice to see why you need Cairngorm. A lot of people get the idea of frameworks, but would be at a loss to convert their apps. I could take a simple app that has “gone ugly” and make it “frameworky pretty.” I could do a lot of pre/post Cairngorm code comparisons.
  3. Cairngorm @ eBay
    While technically, the talk will be @ eBay. I was thinking more along the lines of Cairngorm in action at eBay. I could show what we’re doing with Cairngorm inside eBay.
  4. eBay Pre/Post Cairngorm
    This would just be a mix of ideas 2 and 3 from above.

Those are the few paths I was thinking of taking. Please, please give me some feedback and let me know what you want. I don’t want the twitter chatter to be, “This dude is boring!”, ” We’ve heard this crap already!” or “This isn’t really very useful.”

Thanks in advance for your assistance.

360Flex – A Brief History

360Flex, our lil Flex conference, is open for registration. It’s hard to believe that less than 2 months ago, the idea for 360Flex wasn’t even there. One day while chatting with John Wilker I said, “You know, we need a Flex conference. MAX is good and all, but we need a conference dedicated just to Flex and nothing else.” John agreed and we decided to have a conference. Now, John will be the first to tell you that I tend to have Pie-in-the-Sky ideas and this sounded right up that alley. He probably thought I might bring it up once or twice afterwards, but it would more likely than not drop to the wayside.

Fast forward a couple weeks and I’m chatting with Ted Patrick. We’re just about to announce the whole Free Flex Training ditty. I tell Ted, “You know, we really need to take this to the next level.” Ted nods. “We need to have a full fledged Flex Conference.” Ted says he was thinking of the same thing. Ted and I are smart guys, relatively speaking. =) We realize that having two competing Flex Conferences would be pointless. Therefore, we decide to combine our efforts. I introduce Ted to John and the committee is born.

None of us had really done a conference before, so we just sort of asked people we know who do conferences for some pointers. I ask Doug and Dave of Mashup Camp fame for some pointers. Fate puts me next to Michael Smith of CFUnited fame at the MAX UGM dinner, so I pester him with some questions. I’m not sure who Ted and John talked to, but from there we had our base from which to jump.

October 17th 2006, we have our inaugural virtual meeting. December 6th 2006, the registration site goes live. March 5th 2007, the conference begins. I don’t know how fast most conferences go, but I think we’ve done pretty good for ourselves.

Luckily, I had Silvafug to bounce ideas off of. If you’re a UGM, don’t overlook the valuable resource that is your group. Throw things at them and see what sticks. They’ll let you know what’s good (free Flex Training, Flex Conferences) and what’s not (matching UG t-shirts to wear at MAX). I still think matching shirts woulda rocked! =)

Notes on Flex Training

For those of you who participated in the training tonight, I’m glad you were there. Now, it’s time for feedback.

There’s two items I must apologize for.

  1. I should have checked to make sure my debugger was working before the training
  2. I should have not ventured into unscheduled territory when my debugger broke.

The debugger caught me completely off guard. I had planned on spending a good amount of time on the debugger. When it didn’t work, I had to improvise. This led to me trying to hardcode data. I have not done that in a few months and it showed. Live and learn. Next time, just end the session early. =)

Other than those two bombs, I think the training went fairly well. I’d like to hear your feedback though. Tell me what I did wrong and what I need to improve. Be brutally honest here folks. I’m a big boy, so I can take it. Plus, there’s no use in me continuing to do this if I do a poor job. Help me improve so you can learn more. It’s in your hands. =)