As I had mentioned was coming, we had our internal Open Services Developer's Conference here in Dulles, VA, over the last two days. We came together as technologists to discuss and share what has come, what was in the works, and what must be. We also had some third parties attend to pass along their observations and experiences in working with and consuming our services.
I thought it went fairly well, and recieved some positive feedback, but I'm always a little cautious about that - it usually takes a few days, or more, for any negative feedback to reach me. But still, major kudos to the teams involved in organizing the event.
I really stage events like these for 3 related reasons:
(1) To align everyone's thinking - developer's are a headstrong lot; that's part advantage/part challenge - so evangelizing a unified perspective is important
(2) Peer elevation - I think sometimes (*cough* all the time *cough*) the developers who work at AOL can forgot that we are solving some interesting problems with some very smart people - that can happen when your biggest success is an (unfortunately) increasingly irrelevant Dial-up business
(3) Morale - which really follows from (1) and (2); it may be a deep hole, but we've got good climbers, some solid equipment, and aren't starting at the bottom
In particular, I spent a bit of time covering what I consider the important pillars of the opportunity AOL has to alter and infuse the Internet landscape. I realize that (a) those are big words, and (b) those are only words - opportunity follows execution.
Jon Miller, our able CEO, was on hand talking tech standards, which I think surprised (pleasantly) more than a few.
Some posts from other AOL'ers:
http://journals.aol.com/williammorris/WillSpeaking/entries/312 (thoughtful blog from Will Morris of our Mt. View campus)
About the only real disappointment was that one of our keynote speakers, a personal friend (*ahem* former friend), completely flaked out on me at the last minute. You know who you are.