There’s something about being outdoors in Alaska that inspires poetic thoughts. In my case it’s all bad poetry so I’ll spare you the nausea and just show a photo instead.
This was taken descending from Flattop, a strenuous but easy climb. At the top, we couldn’t see more than ten yards because of the clouds. But as we descended, they suddenly cleared giving us a sliver of a view of the ocean and coastline.
My first experience of Alaska was when my family moved out here from the tropical island of Guam. Yeah, it was a bit of a change. I went to high school there and returned to Anchorage every Christmas and Summer break during college.
When I lived there, I was completely oblivious to the existence of a software community out here. But around four years ago, I brought my family out to visit my parents and on a whim gave a talk to the local .NET user group.
This has become kind of a thing for me to try and find a local user group to speak at when I go on vacation.
This summer, after subjecting my wife to back to back weeks of travel, I decided to give her a long overdue break from family duties and take my kids to Alaska. One benefit of working at a mostly distributed company is I can pretty much work from any location that has good internet.
My parents were game to watch and entertain the kids while I worked from their house. Since I was up there, I also got in touch with folks about giving another talk.
Unfortunately, the .NET user group had disbanded not long after I left. They assured me it wasn’t my fault. It turns out that it is very difficult to get good speakers up there.
This isn’t too surprising. Alaska is pretty out-of-the way for most people. At the same time, it’s an amazing place to visit during the months of June and July. The days are long and sunny. There’s all sorts of outdoor activities to partake in.
So if you’re a decent speaker passionate about technology and happen to find yourself up there for vacation or otherwise, let me know and I can put you in touch with some people who would love to have you give a talk. You can probably even write-off a portion of your vacation if the talk is related to your work (though you should talk to your tax person about that and don’t listen to me).
They put together an ad-hoc event while I was there and we had around twenty-five or so people show up. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s a pretty good number for Anchorage and they really appreciate it. Afterwards, I recommend going out for some Alaskan Amber. It’s quite a good beer! And definitely hike Flattop.