When I told people I was going to drive to Paris (350KM, a 3 hour drive, traffic jams not included) to have a discussion with a few persons I know from the internet, most of my friends were questioning my sanity.
They know that I am not really following the path most people follow in life and career, but apparently to a lot of people really considered this to be one of my more exotic quircks, hence this blog post explaining my ideas.
Cost & Time
Why do you want to go this far to have a chat of a few hours with some people you have never seen before to talk about your work, and all in your free time. Have you considered the cost of doing this? Could you not find a better way to spend your money and time (on your startups for example) ?
- Time: +/- 8 hours of driving; we probably talked about 4 to 6 hours..., and I had to spend the night in Paris - basically a 24h time-frame
- Cost: 120€ for the hotel room, and add about the same amount for expenses/gas/"payage" etc
- Unknowns: true: I had never seen them before in real life (even though I did read a lot of their articles and tweets, so I did have a general idea who to expect).
Hmmz, that seems like a lot, or not?
In my area of expertise; the people who are doing things similar to me are not exactly low-hanging fruit. I would estimate the amount of people in Belgium who are indulged with CQRS to be somewhere around 10 to 20 (I have met only a few of them, so this is really just a guesstimate). Next to this, there is also a lean startup scene in Belgium, which I consider to be a lot larger (my guesstimate would be one to a several hundred for this). However: I only know a single person who is involved in both of them at the same time (in Belgium, that is): Michael Devenijn with his startup Autralis.
We once had a night out with some of the people interested in CQRS in Ghent (to eat some spare ribs at the Amadeus - for those of you who know Ghent), and in my experience the amount of learning when you put together a group of genuinely interested people together is overwhelming. I came back A LOT wiser from that experience!
When I heard Rinat was coming to Paris/France (a person both active in CQRS and lean startup: Lokad) and doing a CQRS beers once again - we missed the previous attempt of meeting up-, I decided to go for it. I have read a lot of articles and tweets from Rinat that somehow gave me the impression that we would have similar ideas about software architecture, lean startups, and some opinions on life in general.
Next to this I also knew Jeremy was coming over (if you have booked a hotel in France, there is a big chance your payment went through his software), which motivated me even more, because he published a really nice SimpleCQRS implementation in F#.
Next tot his I am always eager to meeting new people and extending my horizon; that is about it.
Due to not being able to leave home on time, I knew I was about to get stuck in traffic, because I would arrive around 4PM in Paris (which is one of the worst hours as far as I know). I was correct; this is what it looked like:
Nevertheless, I managed to arrive just on time at Rinat's work so we could take the subway to "Chez Justine", the pub where #CQRSBeersParis is usually held.
During the dinner, we got to talk about a lot of things - usually software related -, and I met some some really interesting people. Unfortunately I first had to checkin to the hotel, and once again I managed to get lost, even though the hotel and the pub were only about 170 meters apart. By the time I got back (checked in, refreshed myself a bit, answered some emails and got lost), only Rinat and Jermey were there... So we had a hamburger while we watched Jermey implementing Simple.Testing in F# in a few lines of code...
At around midnight, we decided to call it a day, and said goodbye. Rinat proposed me to have a coffee in the morning, because my car was near his work anyway, I did not know yet what I would feel like in the morning so I told him I would text him the next day.
The Day after
While it was a good hotel, the area was a bit noisy, so I woke up around 7.15AM. As this was to soon to leave - I would be stuck in rush hour -, I decided to text Rinat and ask him if he was still up for a coffee, and he was.
After checking out and finding my way through the subway, we finally met up again close to his work and went for a coffee.
This was - on my part - a really interesting talk we had; not only about development or startups, but also more about life in general. While we do have lots of different opinions, we seemed to agree on lots of others. We started talking about life/work/opportunities/changes etc, and I was glad to meet somebody who somewhat shares that opinion. After about an hour or 2 we called it a day, Rinat went back to work and I went back to traffic - fortunately without the traffic jams this time -.
While this might sound like an over-the-top idea to do, it was actually a really interesting trip for me. Once again, it has shown me that knowledge can be leveraged by sharing it. I also met quite some interesting people, and we also had some non-CQRS related talks as well, where we had the same opinion. It is always great to find out you have similar peers.
Was it worth it? To me it was; thank you all for the great experience, and who knows, maybe I will see you around later...