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What I learned about passion from OSCON

Bigdp
What did I get most out of OSCON? One word: Ruby.

Actually three words: Ruby On Rails.

Rails creator/evangelist David Heinemeier Hansson has the passion, and he's infected everybody. (He won the Best Hacker of '05 Award from O'Reilly and Google).

Don't stop reading if you're not a coder; there's a lesson in passionate users here we can all learn from David and his cohorts at 37 Signals--a group understands both software development (as a process) and user passion. They make (so far) three wonderful products, Basecamp, Backpack, and Ta-da. (They also have a very popular Signals vs. Noise blog.)

And if you're not already using one of their products, you'll probably want to (and it's easy to start with the free Ta-da List).

After all the passion I saw at OSCON around Rails, I looked a little deeper into what the 37 Signals folks are doing, and without interviewing them -- in other words, purely from what's readily available to an outsider with a browser -- I did a little passion analysis. Much of what they're doing could map well to virtually anything. And it all starts with what appears to be a core value:

The User Comes First.

I was so impressed that I decided to launch something new on this blog -- Passion Reviews. Beginning with my next post, which is a review of 37 signals, I'll be doing semi-regular reviews that take one company, service, or product and see how well it meets our passionate users checklist.

Before I finish this, here's one more picture from my OSCON talk, taken (along with the one at the top) by the inspiring Ted Leung (yes, very closely related to the equally inspiring Julie Leung : )

Oscontalk

It makes me laugh (and cringe) to see how I look all serious in this one. Geez. Thanks to everyone who participated in the OSCON passionate users tutorial -- I learned a LOT.

Posted by Kathy on August 9, 2005 | Permalink

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Comments

Hmm, all that Ruby stuff, but you missed why the lucky stiff's "Starry Afternoon" concert/presentation/shadow puppet extravaganza?

http://redhanded.hobix.com/cult/aVideoButLaterMoreWhen.html

(sadly no video of the actual performance up yet, but there is an MP3 and some clips that he showed onstage)

The guy's a BIG part of a passionate Ruby subculture that collects at places like RedHanded.

Posted by: MenTaLguY | Aug 9, 2005 2:34:46 PM

Serious? You look like you're about to fall alseep in the second.

Thanks for making us smart.

tieoht.

Posted by: Shaded | Aug 9, 2005 3:46:30 PM

Oh man, I'm so glad you brought up Why's presentation -- I DID see it. One of the many reasons we love him is that his stuff on teaching Ruby makes what WE do seem really dry and serious.

http://whytheluckystiff.net/

He's way better than we are at taking a technical topic and making it weirdly engaging, and we consider that to be our strength. But he's so got us beat.
And the "Starry Afternoon" was... an experience.

I'm planning to learn Ruby from a combination of Why's stuff and the Pragmatic Bookshelf Ruby book. Thanks for bringing it up, Mental.

Posted by: Kathy Sierra | Aug 9, 2005 5:39:14 PM

He's way better than we are at taking a technical topic and making it weirdly engaging, and we consider that to be our strength. But he's so got us beat.

But you still plan to do a Heads-up Ruby and Heads-up Rails, right?

Posted by: Gary Bloom | Aug 9, 2005 7:09:28 PM

"He's way better than we are at taking a technical topic and making it weirdly engaging, and we consider that to be our strength. But he's so got us beat."

But you still plan to do a Heads-up Ruby and Heads-up Rails, right?

Posted by: Gary Bloom | Aug 9, 2005 7:56:41 PM


Serious? You look like you're about to fall alseep in the second.

That's coz she's standing under the "Zone of Mediocrity"(extreme's like Love and Hate always generate energy)...LOL

Tarry

Posted by: Tarry | Aug 10, 2005 8:41:46 AM

You're hawt!

Posted by: Gavri Fernandez | Aug 10, 2005 12:15:54 PM

And this morning, the lead story on Salon.com is on 37signals. Tipping point, anyone?

Posted by: Gary Bloom | Aug 10, 2005 3:53:37 PM

Comon now...fess up!

Are you and David dating?

Posted by: Paul | Aug 11, 2005 7:37:09 PM

So when will the Head First Ruby book be coming? Sign me up.

Posted by: woolstar | Aug 17, 2005 5:14:41 PM

Would love to see a Passion Review of the OpenSolaris (http://opensolaris.org) project one of these days - perhaps later this autumn, after we've spread the word and given the community time some time to build... Keep up the good work! --ClaireG

Posted by: Claire Giordano | Aug 23, 2005 12:58:52 AM

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