Kalamazoo X

Kalamazoo X in a Nutshell

This past weekend I was fortunate enough to attend my 3rd consecutive Kalamazoo X conference.  This event has gotten better every year thanks to the efforts of Mike, Mike, Matt, and Mark.  I’ve written about the conference recently so I won’t go into detail about what Kalamazoo X is.  Instead I’ll let a quote from the home page do the work for me:

The X Conference is the other half of your career; the half that makes you stand out.

Kalamazoo X has a rich history full of great speakers with interesting topics and this year was definitely no exception.  As with years past I took quite a few notes, the highlights of which I’d like to capture here and share for you to ponder.  As you read through them I think you’ll find some of the recurring themes begin to fall out naturally.

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Kalamazoo X Conference 2012

I don’t get to as many conferences as I’d like to during the year.  I have yet to go to Code Mash, I missed out on Code PaLOUsa, and I envy everyone tweeting from VSLive (especially since Aria is a great place), but one conference I always make sure to attend is Kalamazoo X.  I’ve attended this conference for the past two years and didn’t hesitate when I was invited to take advantage of early bird registration for this year’s event.  It’s a four-hour drive from Indianapolis but it’s always well worth the trip.

I’ve mentioned this before but Kalamazoo X isn’t like other developer conferences.  Instead of focusing on the latest frameworks and toys, Kalamazoo X looks at things like communication skills, process improvement, and design.  I generally view it as a personal and career development conference for geeks.

The organizers have traditionally done a great job pulling this event together.  With speakers including Leon Gersing, Jeff Blankenburg, Tim Wingfield, and Joe O’Brien this year should be no exception.

Kalamazoo X is on April 21 from 8:00 AM – 5:30 PM at Kalamazoo Valley Community College (check the conference site for full logistics).  If you’re free that day I highly recommend registering.  It’ll likely cost you less than seeing a movie but the lessons will last for years to come.  You won’t be disappointed.

KalamazooX 2011 Recap

I attended the 2011 Kalamazoo X conference in Kalamazoo, MI on April 30, 2011.  There were no family emergencies this year which was great because this year’s event was even better than last year’s!  I’d like to extend another huge “THANK YOU” to the organizers and speakers for making it happen again.

For those unfamiliar with the Kalamazoo X conference it’s not your typical software development conference.  While most software development conferences focus on technical skills, Kalamazoo X focuses on the often forgotten soft skills.  Also unlike other software development conferences Kalamazoo X only has one track of consisting of highly focused 30 minute sessions.  This format is perfect for my limited attention span.  I feel less tired after this conference than I typically do with others of similar length despite being bombed with a steady flow of information.

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Kalamazoo X Sessions

The organizers of the Kalamazoo X Conference recently posted the session and speaker list.  All of the sessions sound interesting but the ones that have really grabbed my interest are:

I’ve previously attended two of Mike Wood’s presentations (one at Indy Code Camp and an nPlus1 event in Indianapolis) and really get a lot from them.  He has posted a series of articles about being a better developer that I admittedly haven’t read yet but will probably do so before April 10th.

I was also fortunate enough to hear Phil Japikse speak about Behavior Driven Development at the March IndyNDA meeting.  He shared tons of great information about methodologies and tools and I’m really looking forward to hearing more of his thoughts on testing.

I was really excited about this conference based on what I’d heard about last year’s event.  After seeing the session list I’m glad I registered.

Kalamazoo X Conference

This past weekend I learned of the upcoming Kalamazoo X Conference, a one day conference in Kalamazoo, MI.  Instead of focusing on individual technologies or languages this conference places emphasis on “softer” skills such as communication, interface and graphic design, development processes, and architectural concerns.

According to the conference web site the conference will be held on April 10, 2010 but registration is not yet open and the venue hasn’t been announced.

I think it sounds like a great excuse to take Nadia up to visit her grandparents.  Anyone want to meet up?

More Information:

Conference Web Site: http://kalamazoox.org
Twitter: @kalamazoox