I've spend yesterday's early evening on presenting about Reactive Extensions (Rx) for professional local .NET enthusiast User Group in Warsaw - WG.NET. To be honest I didn't expect many people to come:
- it's still August & many people are on vacation
- the library (Rx) is not that new & I can't really call it a hyped solution for these days :)
- I don't find myself a renown speaker, audience would fill the room for
- there were no swags / contests / lotteries, just the talk
- we've announce the talk just a week in advance & it was not on a usual day of week (Thursday)
- I didn't do much advertising either, just a tweet or two, a blog post & WG.NET announcement on their board
So, what I expected was like: 10 people spread around the room, 5 of which would like some help with the bitchy Rx case they are trying to deal with ATM.
And surprise, surprise, I didn't count, but from my perspective it looked like there were at least 30 people present, probably even more, but I don't want to exaggerate. It may not be a crowd that could move mountains, but ... I've asked myself a question:
What has made all those people come & spend almost 1.5 hours on listening to the guy they (well, vast majority of them) don't know?
- They didn't come for me, that's for sure.
- They didn't come, because they are local Rx fanclub either.
- They didn't come, because they have no clue what to do on Wednesday evening.
They came for themselves.
Because there was an opportunity to listen about something that appeared useful & they bothered themselves to LEARN & SELF-DEVELOP.
And that makes them that special - noone has left the room during whole talk, they've freely shared their opinions & asked their questions. There was humour & there was content - due to their participation as well. My respect & gratitude for all of them.
And you, let's talk about you
What did you do for your own personal development?
Do you know any local group of interest that gather up the professionals from your industry? Did you participate in any meeting?
What kind of book related to the stuff you do have you recently read? And how recently it was?
What about the professional training? Did you think about some? It may be expensive, but believe me - if you're smart enough, you'll find something useful even in a low-cost (or even free - TED, Coursera, etc.) segment.
Conferences, meet-ups, hackathons or just contributing to some Open Source public initiative - did you try anything? Do you have a pet project you use to develop your skills out of work? Freaking anything?
If you look 6 months back - what's the difference between past-yourself & present-yourself?
- Did you make any progress at all?
- Did your "market value" increase somehow?
- Did you learn anything new, made any interesting professional contacts?
If not, do you realize no-one will give you this time back?