Dinner with Uncle Bob

So as you could see from my post on the power of Twitter, Tuesday night Doron , Roy and I took “Uncle” Bob Martin to dinner. This was Bob’s first visit to Israel, and I hope we made a good impression for him to come back.

This was a fun evening for me. At the end, I said it was like a long lunch break at Typemock. It was a geeky dinner. We’ve talked about things software (which language is the next big thing?) to astronomy (Bob’s a hobbyist astronomer) to gaming (he used to DM, and both Doron and he were crazy about StarCraft). Like I said, a geeky dinner.

One of the things we talked about, which stayed with me after that, was how the Microsoft world is different than the rest (mostly known as the Java world). Are the MS developers spoon-fed by MS, and if so  are they doing so willingly? (the answer is yes, by the way). A Java programmer needs to know a lot about many things just to get things going, while a C# programmer gets everything in one big happy package. Is the second more productive/better than the other? it was an interesting and engaging talk.

Another thing I’ve learned is that while you’re exposed to people through blogs, twitter, and through other relating posts (from other people), keep in mind that you still need to talk to them to really know who they are. We talked about the r


ecent “discussion” he had with Jeremy D Miller over Twitter . Regardless of the topic/language used, from my point of view, it was two experts talking, and Twitter makes it seem like they know each other for years. Apparently not so! (So somehow, an image was created that drove how I understood the conversation. Wow, sounds like, I don’t know, marketing?)

In the end, it was a great evening, and I hope when Bob gets here again, we’ll have another talk about sci-fi and fantasy books. Thanks for a great evening, Bob!

How to surprise a skeptic?

I’m sometimes amazed at how things can go right so quickly. I mean, I’m a skeptic by nature. And as a skeptic, the fact that you can get from point to A to B in a very short way, well, amazes me.

Exhibit A: I wanted to have a dialog with opinion leaders in the community. I email them, asking for help. They answer. 

Exhibit B: I wanted to have a dialog with some community leaders. I turned to my friends in that country, asked for names and for introductions. When introduced, I talk about how I can help them. They are eager to help.

Now before everyone rejoices, it takes work. Not all opinion leaders I turn to, answer. They answering also depends on the language, tone and topic. And for my friends to introduce me, I need great relationship with them.

The good thing about being a skeptic cynical soul – when things don’t go the way you expect.

The Power of Twitter

Monday, 25-Jan-10

8:48am hmemcpy: Is @unclebobmartin coming to Israel?

9:01am gil_zilberfeld: @unclebobmartin may I ask what you're doing during these days in Israel? (maybe we can meet face to face)?

9:04am unclebobmartin : @gil_zilberfeld With a Client. Might have time Tues evening.

Tuesday, 26-Jan-10

8:00pm Pick up unclebobmartin at hotel, on way to Dinner

The One with the T Shirts

This is the “mockery of a presentation” I gave at the Israeli latest .Net user group. Now, apart from the pure genius that the presentation includes, I used a couple of tricks in it.

I wanted to the audience to remember to things. The first one is the number (41%) which appears in slide #16. For those who weren’t there, that’s the number of extra code lines for hand rolled mocks, which I banged on for a couple of minutes – it symbolizes the same amount of time wasted by developers who use hand rolled mocks instead of using a framework.

The other thing I wanted them to remember is ME. I hope I’ve managed that by using humor, and a bunch of T shirts (see presentation again). I have a T shirt appearing in almost every slide, which somehow relate to the slide content. And to be honest, how the T shirt relates to the slide is not important. What is important is that they appear in EVERY slide. People were actually looking forward to the next slide to see “what is he going to show next”? (I was told). And I’m sure I’ll be remembered by some people as the “one with the T shirts”.

For all tech geeks out there: You may argue, that I should want to be remembered for my unit testing expertise. I do as well. But that’s not how people, even tech geeks, remember. What we remember is the difference, the change. Sorry, but that’s how our mind works. And so using “tricks” like these are necessary to leave an impression.

And so, at least for now, I’ll be the T shirt guy.

If they will not give, I’ll take

I had a blast presenting at the Israeli .Net user group Wednesday. It was like coming a full circle- I used to (and still do) come to these talks, and baby, look at me now!

Anyway, this post is about one of things I did to prepare. As an avid listener to Manager Tools, I’ve downloaded the episode talking about how to start off the presentation. In order to focus the audience on you, you have to create a discontinuity – stand still for a couple of seconds, no movement. This discontinuity makes people “interested”.

But not in Israel, apparently. As I was standing still, looking at the audience, people kept talking to each other, were going in. And I had to say out loud “ok, we’re starting” for some attention.

It’s probably working somewhere, in different circumstances. But when you don’t have the attention, you probably need to grab it.

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