A note before we begin: I won’t really be reviewing any of the talks here. You can find that information in literally any other blog post (just poke through #monitorama on Twitter).

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Armory…

(sorry, I’m not good with section names)

So something weird happened to me earlier this week. The tweet I made after it happened really summed it up:

I talked to a lot of people today and I didn't hate it. Something must be wrong. Or maybe it's the magic of #monitorama.
— Norm MacLennan (@nromdotcom) May 6, 2014

That was on Monday. Even weirder, it happened again on Tuesday and Wednesday. Heck, even Thursday wasn’t exempt.

More Retrospective Than Monitorama

This is more providing some of my back-story and maybe a bit of perspective to color the later sections. Feel free to skip on down to the next header. Tl;dr: It is great to be surrounded by smart people with whom you share common passions and interests.

Back in the early 2000s, I…wasn’t a stock-option ex-millionaire questioning my life decisions. But I was a kid that was interested in computers.

Specifically, I was heavily-involved in the Spywareinfo anti-malware community back in middle school and early high school. I spent nearly all of my free time in IRC talking to other community members and in the forums helping people out as best I could.

Sure, I had been involved in various video game communities before, but none of those ever had the kind of passionate, intelligent people that I found myself surrounded with at SWI. I have a lot of great memories from those days with people I’ve never met.

Those were good days. Without walking too far down memory lane, suffice it to say I slowly drifted away from the community in late high school. I thought about it occasionally, but I never went back.


And this week, all of those feelings came flooding back.

In the interest of not wasting time reviewing each of the talks, let me just say this: They were all brilliant. There was an excellent variety (dare I say: diversity) of topics and they were each supremely interesting and entertaining in their own ways.

And, with that out of the way, we all know conferences aren’t really about the talks. You can find some of the slide decks posted online already, and the videos will hopefully be up soon (please?).

Basically, I didn’t really need to fly across the country just to learn how to use Grafana.

I did it, perhaps somewhat subconsciously, to immerse myself in a community again.

Recently, perhaps in an attempt to regain that sense of community and share things I’m passionate about with like-minded people, I’ve started this blog and have been known to do a bit of Twittering. But there’s only so much “community” one can experience 140 characters at a time.

On the other hand, you can experience a lot of community when you are surrounded by several hundred super-smart and awesome people with whom you are guaranteed to share at least one interest.

I am very much an introvert. Crowded places really stress me out. But knowing that you’ll have something to talk about with everyone you meet is actually a huge comfort.

And so it was at Monitorama. I mean, “where are you from/where do you work” was still the lead-in small talk question, but it was almost always used to angle toward the “oh yeah? what do you folks use for monitoring out there” meat of the conversation.

Being surrounded by so many friendly, smart, interesting, and just-downright-fun people - speakers, organizers, and attendees alike - was much more invigorating than stressful. I admit, the after parties on Monday and Tuesday were a little too-loud, too-crowded at times, but the great people I met more than made up for any anxiety I may have felt about the situation. Free booze didn’t hurt, either.

Honestly, that was the first time I have enjoyed mass human interaction in…well, in a long. I’m serious. I’m including college parties and family gatherings and stuff in that consideration as well.

Seriously, thanks to all of the speakers, organizers, and each and every one of the attendees (myself included) for making it such a great week. And thanks for reminding me about the importance of community and really just kind of sparking my love for computers anew.

Or maybe it’s just that I had a week off work and a pretty generous expense budget.

P.S. I Love You(, Portland)

I don’t want to take up too many words with this, either, but Portland is an awesome city and everyone should go there. If I were to every move to a city (which seems unlikely), Portland would be a top contender.


Also, I’d like to thank the Oregon Zoo for teaching me all about Monitor Lizards to go along with my knowledge of monitoring tools.

(Photo Credit: Tommy Parnell)