I never got around to posting a 2011 retrospective. 2011 was pretty boring at first: ~2 weeks per month on the road for work, spending a good bit of time working on PLAS. I was on-site during the high tension 11th hour license renewal at the heart of the second largest deal in Vivísimo history. Then 2011 picked up. Pittco had its second largest LAN party ever, Iron Storm XII. Brigette graduated from college in May and I bought an early 2000s Nissan Xterra as a second vehicle, largely for her use (we’ve ended up splitting it 50/50).
Then 2011 got crazy. I bought a house in a suburb of Pittsburgh between the city and nearby Monroeville. It’s a ’50s colonial with two garages — a rarity for my new neighborhood! Brigette and I moved in together and spent most of the rest of the year being frugal when the Xterra’s engine blew a head gasket and had to be replaced. Ouch, my wallet. We’ve since settled in pretty nicely. We’re not really ready yet to show off many pictures of our place, but with each passing month, we’re able to make it look more like a home than a house.
Then came 2012. Why am I doing the first half of 2012 already? It’s just that crazy.
CES this year was great. I met a ton of new folks and connected with some old friends, one of whom may be the last time I see her at CES for a while (she changed jobs shortly after). I really made some solid contacts for Pittco and even talked to a few who’d heard of it outside of my bantering! Sweet! Brand recognition!
Which brings me to Pittco, specifically Iron Storm XIII. IS13 was our largest event ever, as I stated in my STATE OF THE LAN address: 186 people attended! Someone in the media said last year, “LAN parties are dead.” To that, I say, “Well, you mustn’t have been at Iron Storm XIII. I’ve never seen so much life at a LAN party.” Granted, I’m a little biased, but seriously. We’ve grown to the point that we’ve exceeded what our current, longtime venue can hold, so we’re looking for a new place in Pittsburgh to house our event.
I got involved in the planning of the Steel City Ruby Conference, a developer conference aimed at Rubyists. Its target audience is any Rubyist, but primarily Rubyists who’d never attended a Ruby conference. I’m lending my event planning skills (thanks, Pittco! thanks, WPAYL!) while also building expectations as someone who has never attended a Ruby conference but has attended other conferences. Registration went live in early May and we were 50% sold out within a couple of days. The event is in August 2012, so check it out!
The craziest part of this year started April 23 when IBM announced its intentions to acquire Vivísimo. The small startup I joined when there were ~85 people had grown to >120 and “fired its warp drive long enough to be detected“ by a megacorp. Lots of confusion ensued, but ultimately most people were on board. The deal officially closed Thursday, May 24. Terms were not disclosed publicly, so I can’t discuss them here. Sorry!
Thusly, tomorrow, June 1, 2012, is my first day as an IBMer. I never imagined that I’d ever work for such a massive company (#1-2-3 most recognized brand in the world, as we’ve been constantly told) or that I would get into it in this way, via acquisition. I’ll be sticking with it for the foreseeable future, as Vivísimo’s main product, Velocity, a search engine platform, becomes the center of IBM’s push into the Big Data market.