"Don’t Follow the Lemmings"

Chad Fowler

When: November 28th, 2006, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm Where: Atomic Object, 941 Wealthy Street SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506

According to the U.S. government, IT unemployment has doubled since 2000. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that between 2000 and 2004, the number of programmers in the American IT industry dropped by 17%. In just the first three months of 2005, U.S. techology companies cut 60,000 jobs – twice the number cut in the same period of the previous year. U.S. software jobs are being shipped overseas by the truckload.

Why? Because most software developers suck. If a company is going to create a rut and pay humans to fall into it, it makes sense to pay as little as possible.

The average software developer is a lemming, marching with his or her eyes to the ground toward an unknown goal.

The good news is that opportunities abound for those who are willing to stand up and look around. This talk will explore techniques, tips, and lessons learned in building a career that strays as far from the average as possible. We’ll draw from examples both inside and outside of the computer industry: When is Starbucks better than your locally owned favorite? What can we learn from Wal-Mart? Why was Apple stupid enough to get into a commodity market like MP3 players? When are bad musicians better than “good” ones?

Speaker Bio

Chad Fowler has been a software developer and manager for some of the world’s largest corporations. He recently lived and worked in India, setting up and leading an offshore software development center. He is cofounder of Ruby Central, Inc., a non-profit corporation responsible for the annual International Ruby Conference, and is a leading contributor in the Ruby community. Chad is a contributor and editor for numerous books and is author of the recently released, My Job Went to India (and all I got was this lousy book): 52 Ways to Save Your Job and the newly published Rails Recipes.