For more than 200 weeks now (there’s an episode a week), Jon Walz and Hal Rottenberg have been bringing us the PowerScripting Podcast. It’s become an almost official “voice” of and for the PowerShell community. In it, the two don’t focus much on technical tips or anything like that. Instead, the highlight is a weekly interview with a mover and shaker in the PowerShell community. For me, they put aÂ face on the community. One week you’re talking to the inventor of PowerShell, the next to a local user group leader who’s helping educate folks in his area, and the next an ISV who’s building PowerShell into their products. It’s Larry King Does PowerShell.
If you’ve listened to the podcast, you know what I’m talking about here. But, if you’veÂ only listened to the podcast, you’re missing half the show. Maybe more. You see, on most Thursday nights at 9:30pm (US Eastern), Hal and Jon record the show live. With webcams. And a chat room.
This is where the podcast goes from being a hobby and into being a truly vital piece of community connective tissue. Pop into the chatroom and regulars, like the Scripting Wife, offer a “hello!” It’s a weekly clubhouse of sorts, where the chatroom conversations parallel the webcast, but also diverge onto tangents. It’s where you can offer up questions for the current speaker. It’s where you play drinking games (anytime Snover says “ecosystem,” drink!). And, when I’m the featured speaker, as I’m privileged to be a couple of times a year, it’s where you egg me on in my rant-of-the-season.
I’m going to share a little secret that most software developers already know:Â Community counts.Â It isn’t just a word, or some marketing slogan. The ability to make connections with people in a similar boat – via Twitter, e-mail, forums, or a podcast recording – is important. For many IT pros, IT per se isn’t our personal passion. It’s a job. And so it’s easy, at the end of the workday, to go home and do ourÂ real passion – be with family, play Xbox, or whatever. So IT pro communities have traditionally never been as robust as developer communities. ButÂ make the effort.Â Community is how you’ll meet the guy (or gal) who has the solution to your next problem, and will share it free for the asking. Community is where your next job will probably come from. Community is, in fact, yourÂ meta-career,Â spanning employers and projects and giving you a foundation to really succeed in this business. The colleagues you meet through community will become, over time, more important to your personal success than your direct coworkers.
In fact, PowerShell.org itself wouldn’t exist without the strong community connections Kirk Munro and I have made over the years.
Giving up an evening with the family to go to a local user group meeting can be tough, if there’s even one in your area. You should do it anyway. But if you can’t, Hal and Jon have created a sort of virtual user group where you can connect withÂ people,Â not just learn about technology. Trust me, the first time someone like Jeffrey Snover recognized me in-person and said “hi,” I got a little thrill – and it was because of opportunities like the PowerScripting Podcast that he got to know me. Much of my success in the IT field has some through community and connectedness, and I heartily recommend it to anyone.
Hope to see you in the chatroom!