The world is changing.
When have those words never been true? The only real constant in life is change. How you deal with change is what defines how you will survive – and thrive. Consider the challenges posed by social distancing to any community of technologists. Take the HPE Developer Community, for example. We thrive on connecting with each other, discussing problems, and collaborating to build solutions. As much as we wish we could “get back to normal” and live in a post-COVID world where we can greet each other in the Hack Shack, there are things that will never go back… nor, perhaps, should they.
As I said, how you deal with change defines your future success. By learning to adapt to our current circumstances, we have found ways to reach out to others as never before; more efficiently, economically, and engagingly. By confronting the challenges posed by social distancing head on, the HPE DEV team that leads the Developer Community has come up with some very innovative ways to connect and continue our mission – to Build, Communicate, and Collaborate.
Morphing the Hack Shack
When COVID shut down the first tradeshows, it became obvious that going virtual was the only real option. Digital platforms were quickly made available. These helped companies show what they wanted to present, but from an event attendee’s perspective, they really weren’t all that engaging. Virtual platforms did make events easier to attend, as they could be streamed worldwide throughout the day. And they saved people a lot of money, since many events were free and no one had to travel. But the ability to connect and learn from each other was lacking.
One of the HPE DEV team’s first challenges was to figure out a way to deliver the hands-on learning sessions HPE DEV had become known for through its physical presence in the Hack Shack. The Hack Shack was a friendly place where event attendees could relax, attend hands-on coding sessions, and mingle with like-minded technologists to pick each other’s brain. It was a place where you came to learn.
As developers, designers, and owners of our own HPE DEV Portal, the most obvious answer to making the Hack Shack virtual was to actually create an on-line Hack Shack. Our resident ace designer, Chris Carlozzi, created one of the coolest sites you could imagine. One of the most popular attractions at the Hack Shack was our Hack Shack Attack game, which was already available online, so that was easily integrated. We made stickers available that people could download and offered prizes for high scores in the game.
But what about the coding sessions? These had been tremendously popular during our live events. Didier Lalli, HPE DEV Technology lead, and Frederic Passeron, our resident education evangelist, came up with a way to deliver the workshops in a way where students could interact with the code online through the use of Jupyter Notebooks. This gave birth to a whole set of Workshops-on-Demand. The workshops became so popular that people began asking for them even when there wasn’t an event. Students returned surveys giving the workshops glowing reviews, explaining how happy they were to be able to work with the technologies through such a hands-on approach. Now, the workshops are not only available in the Hack Shack, but you can also find them through the HPE Demo Portal.
Zooming in on Technology Talks
In addition to everything else the pandemic has done, it has certainly made Zoom a household name. And through its use, we’ve been able to find other ways to gather and collaborate. There’s a huge knowledge base in HPE. It’s the job of the HPE DEV team to connect subject matter experts with others in the community who can benefit from that knowledge, and Zoom has helped us to do that.
In the past year, we’ve connected with more and more experts in the fields of data fabric, Kubernetes, containers, and open source technologies. Industry luminaries (e.g. Ted Dunning, Ellen Friedman, and Nigel Poulton), open-source innovators (e.g. Umair Khan, Brad Chamberlain, Kartik Mathur, and Agustin Fayo), and brilliant technologists (i.e. Tom Phelan and Doug Cackett) have helped us inform others in the community about the nuances of these technologies by presenting in our forums and adding to our workshop library.
Our newest offering, the Munch & Learn Technology Talks, are monthly meetups where we invite everyone to gather and hear from these technologists. These are great opportunities for you to come and get your questions answered straight from the experts. And, because we’re a fun sort of group, we also encourage you to bring a munchie/snack, take a picture of it and share it with the group via our Slack channel. You can even share a recipe if you’d like.
Join Us in Moving Forward
One of my favorite Comcast Business commercials extols the virtue of moving forward. It acknowledges how businesses that were previously thriving are now challenged with figuring out how to deal with a disastrous situation. The commercial asks “How do you bounce back? You don’t. You bounce forward.” And, at the end, it points out that we need to do this together. The HPE DEV team is excited by the changes we’ve made as a team and as a community – and how these changes are helping us to move forward. There’s more in store, so make sure you keep a close watch on the HPE DEV Portal.
If you haven’t taken advantage of the HPE Developer Community yet, consider taking a closer look now and in the coming months. There’s a broad set of resources there that you can take advantage of. It costs you nothing to join. You just need to participate, which can be as simple as signing up for our monthly newsletter. Or, post a question on our Slack Channel and find out how quickly you can get an answer. You might want to start a discussion on the HPE Ezmeral Software Forum or simply follow us on Twitter. I think you’ll find a lot of value in connecting and collaborating with us.