When an email came around at work asking if there was anyone interested in the four guaranteed places we were entitled to as a part of sponsoring the latest Geek Cruise, I jumped at the chance expecting to be turned down with the places already taken. To my surprise it wasn't that difficult at all, and I was one of two who represented Bouvet at Geek Cruise. Read on for a summary of my experience.
The website regarding the geek cruise contains the following introduction;
Experts often end up with the responsibility for taking important decisions, but frequently find themselves isolated and without peers to discuss these decisions with. If this applies to you, ...
This pretty much sums up the way I felt about the work I was doing at Opera, and was one of the larger reasons for my decision to leave. Unfortunately being the-(relatively)-new-guy at Bouvet, I'm now at the other end of the food chain with little or no responsibility for making decisions, therefore this weekend trip away sounded like the perfect opportunity to meet experienced people and exercise parts of my brain that haven't been put to full use the last few months.
As the discussions on the first day got under way it quickly became apparent how unaccustomed I am to discussing software architecture on such a high/abstract level. When working at Opera most architectural decisions were made based upon a narrow sighted view of the task at hand rather than thinking of things in terms of a bigger picture so I struggled to provide valuable input to the conversations.
On the plus side of this, for me at least, I spent a lot of time listening and feeding off the experience of some of Norway's more experienced architects. This was hugely inspirational and has given me a new perspective on where I need to improve myself to become a better, well rounded, consultant.
One of the highlights of the trip was the meal that rounded off the day's academic discussions. During dinner the conversation would diversify both into technical topics, and those that have nothing to do with work. It's through these discussions that you get a better understanding of the motivation and character of the other participants of the cruise and were very valuable in evaluating the academic discussions that occurred during the day.
Just a quick note about the venue for the weekend. The event took place aboard the Color Line service between Oslo and Kiel in Germany. The concept of holding an event on a boat means that the participants are stuck there and cannot be tempted away by external events, meaning that everyone there is focused and attentive. The conference facilities on the boat were of a good standard, no problems with the projector, power, internet connection (although it was a little slow, but what do you expect on a boat!) and no disturbing noise.
As already mentioned, attending this Geek Cruise has been an incredible learning experience for me, and I hope to get the opportunity take part in, and contribute more to a future cruise. I will also be following up the work we did on the cruise by helping with the effort to clean up the notes we made on the wiki during the course of the Cruise. If you have an interest in any of the topics of an upcoming cruise I can wholeheartedly recommend that you sign up and take part, you won't regret it.