I have recently spent a great weekend with the HackFwd crowd at the 3rd build event in Mallorca. This was one of the best technical events I have been to for a very long time – if not the best over all. Compared to all the big conferences – and you know I especially love IBM PULSE – the HackFwd events have a totally different goal and of course a totally different setting. I will not say that this kind of event is better than e.g. PULSE, they are simply not comparable making HackFwd not a movement one of a kind but also making the build event a category of its own.
So what made it so special? Well the setting was special, because it was an actual retreat and everyone attended everything. But that was not it. The special thing about this event was to totally open exchange of concepts and ideas, the openness of everyone to give and receive (even tough) feedback and the “one step ahead” mentality of everyone contributing.
I have never after university encountered such a high level of technical discussion and the amazing fact was that all the techies at the event were not the typical pizza eating cave men, but were very interested in all things business. It is my personal belief that this movement will bring forth some of the most interesting technical ideas, possible the next game changing company and most definitely engineers everybody will want to hire – and cannot hire because they become entrepreneurs.
There is just one thing I saw that I felt a little strange about: Some of the great guys there whom HackFwd names geeks try very hard to be tough businessmen and actually tried to put their great technical abilities in the background. This feeling was summarized in a comment made at one of the feedback talks where a participant said “maybe we are overemphasizing the geek term, maybe we should appear a little more normal?”. No, please No! Could you imagine a violin soloist trying to NOT be a musician and show to the world that he understands the music business better than anyone else? Well if that is the case he will become a music manager, but if he is the best violinist, he will find a partner who will do the management. So my message is: Geeks are cool and we need many many more of them, If you have the ability, the passion and the will to actually deliver rather than just talk about doing great things, you are a geek and that is a great thing! No need to hide. In the US no one would have the idea to hide this kind of ability or play it down by pretending not to belong to the outlier group of geeks, they embrace it. In Europe we are a little shy about it and there is no need to be.
So if you think you are a geek, watch the HackFwd video and if you think you have something to show to the world, maybe you want to get in touch with us. Any which way, if you have the technical ability to think up and create tomorrow’s technical concepts and applications, please don’t try to be something else, be passionate about it and embrace your potential.