On November 12th, the Auckland (New Zealand) Web Meetup hosted a few talks focusing on several of the application platforms available on Yahoo!, starting from a product level and driving into more technical depth in the later talk.
First up on the ballot was Grant Harvison from Frog Prints who talked to us about how he started his company and everything he went through to make it successful. I enjoyed hearing this talk because Grant went into detail about the need to localize your products. Taking a cookie cutter example from another entirely different market and trying to force it into a new mold just doesn't work.
Grant spoke on how to live to your means during a recession and how to properly invest back into your business. He ended off his talk by discussing the work his company did to build their company presence on Open Mail, targeting an entirely new demographic and audience. I learned something very important here as well: the use of lolcats throughout your presentation helps to hammer the point home. The picture of a cat trying to solve a Rubik's Cube was just pure win.
A big thanks for all of the pizza that Pizza Hut provided - having food definitely keeps people from leaving - plus locking the doors from the outside but they wouldn't let us do that this time ;). Yahoo!7 sponsored the beer, and nothing works better at a conference than pizza and beer.
I was next up on the list, and gave a technical presentation on the Yahoo! Application Platform and a brief overview of Open Mail (presentation attached below). The audience asked questions about the platforms and the security measures behind them. I was very impressed by the audience mix (much in the same way I was by the ConvergeSC audience in Columbia, SC) -- they were a mix of talented people ranging from product folks to managers and engineers. As I migrate out of Silicon Valley I notice that engineering groups from wide-ranging backgrounds seem to congregate together, which allows everyone to learn all about topics that they would normally never get involved in. I believe that skill sets outside of your comfort zone makes you a much better engineer, product manager, or business owner.
All in all, coming out to New Zealand to speak was a wonderful experience. Experiencing different developer communities and what their main interests are reminded me that international products need a local view to be relevant for every audience.