Monday, June 6, 2011

A Technology Vacation

I spent last weekend at StartupWeekend Boston, and found it fascinating. The basic dynamic is this: guy with an idea shows up and pitches; people form teams around the pitches they like; implementation and business planning; Sunday night the team pitches the idea to VCs and tech-savvy folks.

So if your idea doesn't get picked, or if you don't show up with an idea? What on earth are you doing there?

For me, at least, the answer is that it's refreshing.

I spent the weekend building a Twitter hashtag stock trading game. With a team of six people, we did market research, built the game (I did all the CSS, and IE users, I'm sorry I didn't get time to make it look right in your browser!), created Twitter and Facebook accounts and started promoting it, and put together a pitch.

It was nothing like my day job, and that's refreshing. It was fun, and we worked hard, and now I'm back in the office and I'm energized. I spent the weekend doing CSS, Rails, and using the JQuery UI widgets, and now I'm looking at our Perl test infrastructure and our C-based product with fresh eyes.

There are many articles and books that will tell you about the power of taking a vacation. Take the time to take a technology vacation, too. Put down the technologies you normally use, pick a small project, and use a new technology for a few days. It'll leave you energized and ready to go.

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