On Saturday Jason and I attended Vermont 3.0. We were interested in seeing what it was all about and see if it’s something we’d exhibit at in the future if we’re looking to hire. We walked the floor and had a chance to to talk with several people we know.
First of all, I think it’s great that there is a concerted effort to promote Vermont as a technology center. However, the name “Vermont 3.0″ is an immediate turn-off to me. It’s an obvious reference to “Web 2.0″ — a loaded term that is often misused. Most so-called “Web 2.0″ practitioners haven’t even gotten Web 1.0 right yet. Sure, we’ve got technology here in Vermont but I’m not sure how anyone could imply that Vermont has somehow moved on from “Web 2.0″ to “Web 3.0″. Or maybe I’m wrong and the name is not a reference to “Web 2.0″ at all.
Speaking of “Web 2.0″ — I didn’t see a folksonomy section on the Vermont 3.0 website. A handful of people used the #vt3 hashtag on Twitter but there were several more people talking about it that simply used “Vermont 3.0” in their tweets. Some guidance from the event organizers on suggested tags would have helped to make this content easier to find and encouraged online conversation amongst participants. The event organizers should have suggested tags to use on Twitter, Flickr, Technorati, and any other social media site that a conversation may occur at. I didn’t have the Eee PC with me so I’m not sure if wireless internet was available. In my opinion, free wireless internet is a prerequisite for a tech conference.
We dropped in on two of the panel discussions. First the “So you wanna build websites?” panel and then the “So you wanna develop software?” panel. The discussions were definitely geared towards people interested in switching careers (or choosing what career to go into). We’ve generally been disappointed about the topics on which schools are focusing. It seems that schools are more interested in teaching what’s “hot” and will boost enrollment numbers rather than teaching a fundamental base that will serve students throughout their careers. I was pleased to hear Mike Battig, a computer science professor at St. Michael’s College, talk about how a good computer science education will teach students things that will be relevant regardless of changing technologies.
In conclusion, I’m not yet sure if we’d exhibit at Vermont 3.0. I think a career fair might be too narrow a focus. I think it would be much more interesting to have Vermont organizations showing how they are using technology to create value in the world. This would give people a chance to gain much more insight into these organizations and the true state of technology in Vermont.