When we started MWRC in 2007, we thought Ruby was pretty darn special, and we had two major goals: First, we wanted to help establish and grow the local Ruby community in the Intermountain West. We loved Ruby and wanted more Rubyists. Second, we wanted to create a gathering place for local developers to see Ruby community leaders and share in ideas that could shape their careers and the future of the community.
In 2007, it was quite rare for a local Ruby enthusiast to find a job willing to take a chance on this "toy language". Today, it's the opposite, where Ruby shops are competing for talented local developers. There are now active user groups all across the region, even code schools, training up and enriching the next generation of Rubyists.
When we began, it was still difficult to find high-quality Ruby content, and we wanted to help bring great ideas and thinkers in front of the local community. In our first year, we partnered with a brand-new company called Confreaks to record and release the videos from the conference and post them online. Now, Confreaks has thousands of presentations that people can view anytime, for free, including all past MountainWest talks.
It's hard to see the changes as they happen, but when we look back, everything has changed, and we think it's been for the better.
We are so pleased and humbled to have been able to play even a small part in helping bolster the local Ruby community. Of course we're not done. We love Ruby and our Ruby friends, are pleased to watch the community continue to grow and include new folks. We'd love to help foster the next generation of Ruby community events, so if you have ideas, drop us a line!
The feedback we get most is that MountainWest has a special feeling: small, close-knit, pushing new and sometimes radical ideas. The intention is to leave people with at least one idea that changes how they look at programming from then on (and maybe a few new friends). We hope for this to be our legacy, and that others carry it forward.
MountainWest has always been a community project. It's been by the community as much as for them.
The reason we've been able to do 10 of them, year after year, is the community of volunteers who help, the organizers, the speakers, the sponsors who make it possible, and mostly local Rubyists like you, who give it a reason to exist, who pay hard-earned dollars and take time away from work (and often even family) to participate.
We're incredibly humbled to have participated in a community of such amazing people, and we can't wait to see what you do next.