Bruce Eckel is no longer a fan of “eyes forward” talks, where you sit and listen to someone give a talk. He points out that we can do that on the web. When we get together at a conference, we should do the things that we can’t do when we’re separate. That’s why Bruce is a fan of open spaces discussions.
He makes a very good point, and I know that I’ve gained a lot through hallway talk at every conference I’ve been to.
He went on to talk about the Burning Man festival and all of the compressed creativity of the event. He talked about how he built his shade structure and the things he learned by doing that. The only way that he could learn what he needed to know was through experimentation.
Bruce brought up DeMarco and Lister (Peopleware, Waltzing with Bears) and how “project estimation is a dynamic statistical process”. I saw Tim Lister speak at GLSEC, and I really agree with the principals here. Thinking in terms of probabilities will help you be more accurate in estimation.
Dynamic languages let you experiment and fail faster. Bruce talks about how good designers rapidly throw out ideas that clearly won’t fit the constraints.
This talk was wide ranging, non-technical and yet engaging. Bruce has a good storyteller style. The overall theme of failing quickly and being open to changing things to really meet the requirements came through quite clearly. Bruce is worth seeing, if you have a chance.