Thursday, May 07, 2009

RubyNation Mini-Interview: Russ Olsen

For my second RubyNation interview, I talked with Russ Olsen (@russolsen), one of the organizers. (I've also interviewed Hal Fulton about this upcoming regional Ruby conference.)

Don't forget RubyNation will be held in Reston, VA on June 11-13, so you don't have to much time left to register.

Russ is an awfully bright guy, and a real contributor to the Ruby community. You might also be interested in reading my earlier Russ Olsen Interview, or my book review of On Ruby: Design Patterns In Ruby.

Why did you decide to put RubyNation together?

Russ I think it was actually Grey Herter's idea originally, but I can remember sitting down with Gray and talking about putting on a little one day, 50 person mini-conference mostly to raise a little bit of money for the Our local Ruby users' group, which at the time was running on a shoestring.

From that initial idea it grew and grew, expanding to more than twice that original size, moving to a real conference center and spreading out to two days.

What makes regional Ruby conferences special?

Russ In general the regional conferences are fun because they all have their own feeling, each one putting a special twist on the what it means to be part of the Ruby community. I also think get a kick out of the fact that this is all coming from the bottom up, driven mostly by people who just want to be involved in the Ruby community.

What makes RubyNation stand out as a regional Ruby conference?

Russ There's really two answers to that question: In a larger sense, RubyNation can build on the thriving Ruby community that has grown up around Washington DC. We have a really diverse bunch of people here doing Ruby here, everything from Web 2.0 start ups to older established companies that are trying to find a better way, to individual, enthusiastic techies.

For me personally, RubyNation is great because I already know a lot of the people, but it's rare to see everyone in the same place at the same time.

What's your favorite memory from last year's RubyNation?

Russ I had just finished helping clean up (trust me, this conference organizing stuff is not all glamor) and happened to find myself walking out with the last two attendees. One of them turned to me and said, "So how long have you guys been doing this?" and I realized that we had pulled it all off with enough professionalism that at least one person thought we had been at it for years. Or he was just being polite. Either way it worked for me.

What are you most looking forward to for this year's RubyNation?

Russ I'm looking forward to hearing Hal Fulton talk about Reia, a new programming language that he has found. Remember, the last language that caught Hal's attention...

[ed. you can learn more about Reia in my interview with Reia developer Tony Arcieri.]

Why should people come to RubyNation?

Russ Come because we have a great line up of speakers. Come because it's not very expensive. Come because the Washington area Ruby community is just bubbling over with enthusiasm. Come because June in Washington is not nearly as bad as August in Washington. Come because you might hear about the next big thing. Come and tell us about your next big thing.

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