Last week, I attended the inaugural meetup of the [Build Guild](http://www.buildguild.org/), a Salem, MA area meetup of web geeks. The meetup was held at the [Salem Beer Works](http://www.beerworks.net/html/locations_salem.html). Here are my reflections on the event in 5×5 format:
Five people I met (for the first time):
* [Jason Hawkins](http://twitter.com/jasonhawkins)
* [Meagan Fisher](http://twitter.com/meaganfisher)
* [Mark Reeves](http://twitter.com/circa1977)
* [Tom Pasquini](http://twitter.com/tsquini)
* [JC Cameron](http://twitter.com/jccameron)
Five good things:
* Location was theoretically convenient; only about a 10 minute drive under ideal conditions. (This time, I spent a few minutes getting lost on the streets of downtown Salem, literally just blocks away from the venue. I don’t drive into Salem often, okay?) Certainly used less gas than it takes to get to Boston or Newburyport.
* Good food at the Beer Works.
* Enjoyed talking to various geeky people about geeky and non-geeky topics.
* Gained insight into the working habits of non-corporate developers.
* Great hosts [Marc](http://twitter.com/marcamos) and [Angelo](http://twitter.com/cssboy) made sure that everyone was welcomed and enjoying themselves.
Five not-as-good things:
* Venue was a bit on the noisy side.
* Sometimes I couldn’t tell who the Build Guild people were, since we had spilled into the general bar area and mixed with the regular restaurant patrons.
* Got crowded at the peak and was hard to move around and interact.
* I got lost on the way there (this is the City of Salem’s fault for poor signage, not the Build Guild’s).
* Low lighting didn’t make for the greatest photographic setting, at least not with my camera (this is the Beer Works’ fault/choice to set the ambience, but I can still complain, can’t I?).
* Salem has a lot to offer young hipsters: coffee shops, bars, restaurants, social opportunities, public transportation, cheap apartments.
* Apparently many (most?) large corporations no longer retain their own development staff. Put another way, most of the people I talked to that evening were freelancers or worked for design or consulting agencies, and who had the same pertinacious objective in mind: how do you make money online? This made me feel a bit out of place, coming from a [company](http://www.christianbook.com/) that has a large, in-house development staff. I’m also speculating that another reason I saw more freelance/agency types is that many corporate-employed developers don’t see the need to go out and meet with developers from other companies. In many ways, I don’t really *need* to attend an event like Build Guild as much as others. At work, we have a large group of developers with diverse talents and interests, and a *lot* of experience, so we are constantly in the process of learning from each other. We also work only for one client, our company, so there is no need to look for gigs or other outside work. And since we rarely hire outside help or outsource any services, there isn’t much point in receiving sales pitches from people with services or software to sell. However, I believe that it’s still good to attend these things because how else can one learn about what else is out there, what ways other people are doing things, what technologies they’re using in their day-to-day work?
* I actually spent less time talking about web development than I thought I would, and more time talking about topics like corporate organization, business process, and random things like photography and videography. Next time I’ll have to see if I can push Perl on anybody. 🙂
* I’ve never thought of myself as a videographer, but after talking to Jason Hawkins for a while, I think I’ve come to realize that I am a dormant videographer. Videography and video editing takes a considerable amount of time, and since that’s something I don’t have right now, it’s simply something I don’t engage in. However, if I do ever get back that kind of time, it’s something I’ll definitely want to look in to.
* Everyone says this, but it’s really surprising and awesome how many quality web design people there are in this area.
Five Photos I Took At Build Guild: