Utah Job Market, Collaboration, Product Life Cycles, and More (Oh my!)
I had a great time at the Phil Windley’s CTO breakfast this morning. (I’ve actually been anxious to go for months, but just haven’t gotten around to it until today.) It was fun to mingle, see old acquaintances, talk about current tech issues, etc. It was pretty informal, like sitting at a table with a few of friends, except the table is really big and there are a lot of friends. Everyone just chimes in about whatever they want to talk about, and Phil just facilitates. I imagine he’s a really good teacher.
There were lots of good discussions. I particularly liked hearing employers’ perspectives on hiring in the local job market. Basically, now is it a great time to be working tech in Utah. There are tons of openings to fill, and not near enough qualified people to fill them.
I also enjoyed a discussion on why Google Docs and Spreadsheets haven’t really taken off, despite being functional, relatively feature rich, and easy to setup and share. When it comes to collaboration, Google Docs really does make sense on so many levels that much of the group concluded that reluctance must stem from security and privacy issues. I think there might be some of that, but that doesn’t stop most of us from using Google for search, personal email, site analytics, and everything else. I’m personally starting to slow down on some of these Google-usage fronts, supposing that there really could be issues someday if Google were to become less benevolent; but I think for most non-nerdy people it’s a mute point, at least until they’re aware –which most people aren’t.
My analysis: I think online doc sharing just hasn’t reached a critical mass yet. It’s too new, and too early in the product life cycle, especially when other (albeit clumsy) solutions are already in place. I had the hardest time getting my classmates to use a wiki for collaborative writing, and that was only a year ago. I’m sure that some of them will use them in the workplace or on social networks now that they’ve tried it out, but it was a hard transition. A true WYSIWYG editor would have helped to level the learning curve a little, but long years of editing and forwarding email attachments have proven hard to shake, despite being a clearly inferior way to collaborate. But wiki, Google docs, and other newish collaboration software will be huge in no time. Just give the early adopters (geeks and nerds) some time to do their thing.
I also had a chance to plug the Utah Open Source Conference. I think there were a few people interested, but I also think people will want to see more concrete progress in Utah Open Source Conferences before there will be real widespread buy in. All in due time…
Anyway, CTO breakfasts are fun. I plan on coming a lot more often, and I hope you will too. :)