An All New Monktoberfest, Putting Society First

Trips to Portland are never complete w/o some Speckled Ax coffee to jumpstart the day & the brainIf you’ve spent any time around me in the fall, you know that my favorite conference, by far, is the annual Monktoberfest. Hosted by Redmonk every year in Portland, Maine (aka Real Portland), Monktoberfest operates at the intersection of technology and social. I like to think of it as taking craft technology, craft beer, and mixing it together to find ways to make the world a better place.

This year Stephen O’Grady took it up a notch. The 12 months since the previous Monktoberfest have been, at best, tumultuous. This is not a phenomenon of any single industry or country. It feels like the coming to head of various forces in society that is making people of all walks of life realize that they have had enough.

Seeing, and feeling, this unfold made Stephen create the most important non-technical, tech conference you need to attend.

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Sacrificing Today for a World Tomorrow

Last week I was at the Monktoberfest event after Cheryl McKinnon, and others, insisted that I HAD to attend. Any conference that focuses on developers, community, craft beer, and social was already appealing. When you factor in the large numbers of recommendations, I had to attend.

Monktoberfest soared above my expectations.

It was really a three events into one, and kudos to RedMonk and Steve O’Grady for putting the event together. It was a place to meet and converse with smart people in and adjacent to the Open Source ecosystem, to try some great new beers, and to hear about how technology can, and should, change the world.

One such talk, given by Alex Payne, brought up an extremely interesting topic that spurred a lot of discussions. [Note: Reconsidering Startups is now available for watching.] He questions the setup of the Silicon Valley “startup” ecosystem and how it seems that it was more of a model of disruption to help capitalists and not the world.

This raised the question, what is our ethical responsibility as “innovators”?

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