Speaking at my first C# Corner Conference
As I begin writing this, my airplane is heading towards San Francisco from China so I have time to reflect on the four days I spent in India, my first time there. Travel issues aside, this was very rewarding trip to rock (teach) the geeks in India… and I think I did. The best part was making so many new friends and inspiring so many developers. Before I left, I already wanted to come back. I do hope the conference invites me back next year!
First off, I would like to say thanks to Mahesh Chand and his team at C# Corner for inviting me. They put a great conference for the developers in India. To put it in American terms, three days of learning, including face time with experts only cost $77 USD, not an easy thing to do, even in India. But what blew me away is the sense of community they have developed. In America, we have many communities of developers helping each other at events such as Code Camp, SQL Saturday, and User Groups at a local level. What they have done is create a sense of community for the developers in the entire country. This is very impressive and something I have not seen in America. During the conference, I said to others many times that I hope that they can duplicate this in America. It would be nice to be part of that.
The first session I did was a brand new one, asked for by Mahesh titled “Rock Your .NET Core Best Practices”. Since .NET Core has not even been out a year yet, this was a bit tough to come up with. So, I decided to take some of the best practices I talk about it all my .NET Framework sessions and apply them to .NET Core as best I can until it matures more. Even though this was the first time I presented this session, it went over very well.
My second session was "Rock Your Technical Interview". Even though I have done this session for 7 years in America, I was very nervous how what I talk about would apply to Indian developers. So, I stuck to more of the preparation and motivation parts of this talk. Due to all the kind comments, I believe this was a hit too.
My only wish is the conference was longer so I could do even more sessions. But like in America, they had to get back to work on Monday after the conference.
Shock and Awe
For several years now, I have been stepping up the rock and roll theme of my conference sessions by playing guitar, backed by popular rock videos, before the session starts. I even did this in the Ukraine in 2015. After I was asked to speak at this conference, Mahesh sent me an email asking me to play guitar before one of my sessions. First, not one conference has asked me to do this, I always had to ask the conference organizers to allow me. Then he said “I want you to smash the guitar at the end”! Wow, this really took me aback. So, I replied and asked if I could set the guitar on fire like Jimi Hendricks used to, during his concerts. Mahesh said yes… but even I was afraid to do that!
I came up with my song list. First I played to Cheap Trick’s “Hello There”, the song they open every one of their concerts. Then came “Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be” by AC/DC, followed by one of my personal favorites “Sanctuary” by The Cult. The last song I chose was “Rock and Roll All Night” by KISS since at the end Paul Stanley breaks his guitar. I found a recent live video of this song and even practiced the smashing of the guitar (not the smashing itself but the movements) so I could mimic what Paul Stanley does at the end of the song. But unlike KISS, the guitar I had bought for me in India was real and not made to break easily.
Just like when I played guitar before my session at the conference in the Ukraine, I was very nervous about how the developers at this conference would enjoy it especially with the guitar breaking at the end. Let me just tell you, they blew me away with the smiles on their faces, clapping and yelling over and over “dotNetDave! dotNetDave!”. At one point, they were so loud I could not hear the music or my guitar. I had to look at the video screen to see when to change chords, so I am sure I messed up a bit.
Then came time to break the guitar… I held it above my head and then started to hit it on a road case I had positioned at the front of the stage. That case nor the stage was hard enough to break the guitar. So, I jumped from the stage onto the floor and started hitting it as hard as I could for several times until it started to break, then I kept hitting it until it broke into pieces. I then started handing out the bigger pieces to attendees in the front and started throwing the smaller pieces into the audience. This was so exlirating it got my endorphins rushing so much that I do not remember much the last few minutes of my performance.
After my actual session started, it took me a few minutes before I could start speaking properly; I was so out of breath and full of endorphins. It was a truly amazing experience that I will never forget. I thank the conference and mostly the audience for making this so memorable.
What It’s All About
After the three-day conference was over, I received a very interesting tweet that I will share with you. I sent him a text and his reply was…
“It’s our pleasure to have speakers like you, after all, people are not coming to this conference to become an expert in anything. They come for networking, fun, to enjoy and to have memories like your sessions.”
He nailed it on the head! You cannot become an expert going to a conference. It’s a place to be exposed to new technologies and ideas, not to become an ASP.NET Core expert in three to four days. The number two reason to go is to network. For years, I have been telling conference attendees the real learning is in-between sessions, lunch and the after parties. This is where I learn the most and have been doing this ever since I was a beginner.
Unfortunately, I had to travel half way across the world to find a conference and entire country full of developers who do get it. In America, just a handful of speakers and attendees understand the real purpose of a conference. None of the paid conferences in America get it either. Maybe those conference organizers need go to India and attend C# Corner Conference 2018!
Thank You India
During my short stay in India, I came to know and love the people I met, the food, and much more. I could do without the crazy traffic that nothing in America compares to, but that will not keep me away if I am invited back. I have more to stay about my trip but I will save that to other articles on C# Corner and some on my personal blog at davidmccarter.net. See you next time India!