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July 06, 2016

5 (6!) Reasons I’m Excited for the Upcoming dotNetFringe Conference

4 mins read

In a few days, I’ll be lucky enough to attend the dotNetFringe conference in Portland, OR. While there are about a million reasons I’m excited about the conference, I’m going to do my best to keep it to 5 reasons as I explain why.

1. It focuses on open-source, and there has never been a more important time for open-source in the .NET Community.

dotNetFringe is dedicated to projects and concepts that are on the “fringe” of the mainstream .NET ecosystem, and for several reasons a lot of those are open-source efforts. As Microsoft embraces open-source as a whole with projects such as F#, Roslyn, and .NET Core, those fringe projects are moving a lot closer to the center and the pace of our ecosystem is picking up dramatically. Conferences like dotNetFringe are unearthing new possibilities for a large array of developers.

2. The lineup of speakers is incredible.

Smaller conferences don’t always get access to the cream of the crop, but you can tell that dotNetFringe inspires some of the best in the community to attend. The sessions include a “who’s who” list of speakers – big names in the Microsoft, open-source, and training community such as Scott Hanselman, Don Syme, James Newton-King, Julie Lerman, Glenn Block, and Aaron Stannard. Great sessions from all these folks packed into a 3-day conference is a huge draw for me.

3. There’s something for everyone.

Interested in machine learning? We’ve got you covered. Distributed systems? Check. Functional programming, microservices, mobile apps, performance benchmarking…the list goes on and on. I’m excited because it’s impossible to walk away from a conference like this without both broadening and deepening your developer knowledge. dotNetFringe also includes full day workshops on the first day of the conference, so you’re guaranteed a deep dive into an interesting subject with engaging speakers.

4. It’s a community event — and it actually feels like it.

I was fortunate enough to attend dotNetFringe during its inaugural event last year. Several attendees were what I’d refer to as “developer heroes” of mine – folks whose work I’ve continually benefitted from and grown from over the years. I can’t tell you how happy I was to confirm that these people are as excellent in real life as they seem. dotNetFringe is a smaller event, so you have more face to face time with folks — Scott Hanselman’s “Hanselfie” with me last year is one example:

Two men smiling at DotNetFringe

I’ve never felt more welcome at an event, and given the amount of respect I have for the folks in that space, it really reinvigorated me as a member of the community.

But the “dev-famous” people you already know are just one small part – there are tons of new connections to be made as well! I’ve expanded my circles with some great fellow attendees who have a ton to offer in their own right. Finding like-minded developers who care about community and are passionate about giving back to the open-source .NET world is a great feeling.

5. It’s in Portland – have you seen Portland?

Portland, OR is simply stunning – and in my experience, every bit as wonderfully weird as you’ve heard before. Last year the conference kept an open tab at a local coffee roaster, and there are tons of great places to walk. And this is to say nothing of the local events, food, and great views. (and I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention the breweries!). I’m excited for our weird little community to get together in a place that I grow fonder of with every visit.

6. I’m emceeing!

…Okay, I had to go over my 5-reason limit here, because I’m very excited to announce that I’ll be co-emceeing the event! In an attempt to contribute back to dotNetFringe, I offered to help out when I noticed that the website asked for emcee volunteers. The organizers have taken me up on my offer, and so I’m excited to introduce some of the best minds in our community next weekend while I soak in the knowledge and good times. Hopefully you won’t see me on a blooper reel somewhere. 🙂

Be sure to stay tuned – I’ll be sharing a follow-up on some of the great things I’ve learned after the conference!

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