Alexandre Bourget

geek joy

'"Friends with benefits", after the Pylons presentation at MP11'

January 29, 2010 at 03:38 PM

So this is the short story of my presentation at the Montreal Python user groups on january 25th 2010.

I'm preparing to give a talk on "Pylons, web development done right" (or something alike), at the Confoo conference in March. I wanted to test-drive my presentation, so I decided to jump in after seeing a couple of presentation over there - some of which were pretty so-so, thus pushing me to risk myself.

I wanted the presentation to be a performance (since this is my primary training, as a pianist), a lightning bolt filled with impressive demonstrations, speedy typing, cool technologies using a sweet programming language. I wanted to show off Pylons ( and a bunch of WSGI sweetnesses (memento, WPHP, CleverCSS, Beaker, Routes, Mako, SQLAlchemy, SqlSoup, etc.)

So I packed my Karmic system with a Squid3 proxy server, to fake having an Internet connection (while everyone in the room was struggling with the bad/non-existant Wi-Fi connection). I wrote some Python scripts that would do all sorts of background mangling to accelerate the live demos* and organised the presentation in modules, so that I could dynamically add or remove pieces of the demonstration based on interests I sized in the audience.

Finally, the presentation was greatly appreciated if I believe the comments I have received. It was a very good experience for me and I received a gift, which is in fact the subject/object of this post: the book "Friends with benefits".

When I ended the presentation, I was still a bit on a high when Yannick, the lead organiser of Montreal Python handed me the book where everybody could read "Friends with benefits" on the cover. I had no idea this had a double meaning, until my wife told me later in the evening (let it be said, I'm disgusted by the concept). But at that moment, I was happy to receive it, and probably seemed a little too interested in the subject.

Anyway, the book is about Social Media Marketing, and I've been reading it every few minutes I had since then. It gave me a boost to start communicating, on this blog, and elsewhere on the Internet, to start tying those virtual relationships. I guess there's a part of me wanting that my name be known. I also thought it would be great for my company (or should I say, the company I work for), if I started talking about stuff we do around, things I'm enthusiastic about.

It might seem outdated already, but I opened a Google Reader account and started to use more and more those social services, except Facebook which I find is pretty much a waste of time (at least with my friends! :).

The book talks about the shift from traditional medias, press and PR to this new era of social media, conversational dialog between marketers and customers, the role of bloggers in the online community and the influence they have nowadays on people's behavior and decisions. It talks about the importance of having a clean web presence. The part I like the most is the call for truthfulness, transparency, authenticity. It's awesome that this paradigm shift encourages those great social values, more than ruthless marketing and PR.

Now I hope I got the book right: I packed all the keywords I could in this posts' title. Maybe I'll be a little more refined next time.

This book inspired me a lot, and I'm going to do something about it on this blog very soon. Stay tuned.

* These manglings were mostly workarounds for a lacking Internet connection. For those present, there is nothing I did that you could not do (with a little training ?)

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