Reflecting on these two conferences, another important observation comes to mind about my fellow attendees: Many of them are active in the open government and open data community. Our community!
- At the opening party for JSConf last Sunday night, I had a conversation with Eamon Leonard, an open data activist from Ireland. He helps lead Open Data Ireland and owns the domain opendata.ie, now being used as a data catalog for Ireland.
- Open Ottawa organizer Edward Ocampo-Gooding was there in Portland bright and early on Monday morning, despite being at TransparencyCamp in DC the day before. Not even I shared his dedication, as I completely skipped TCamp on Sunday.
- Edward’s colleague at Shopify, Jonathan Rudenberg was also at JSConf. He was the People’s Choice winner for last year’s Apps4Ottawa contest for the app “Where is my bus?“.
- Code for America fellow and PDX API creator Max Ogden was hacking up a storm at both conferences.
- At NodeConf, Jim Pick, previously employed by Joyent (the Node.js company), told me about his plans to dedicate half of his working hours to open data in Vancouver, Canada.
- Much of the crew from Development Seed was at NodeConf. Their co-founder, Eric Gundersen, spoke about TileMill at TransparencyCamp five days earlier.
I was also happy to talk open government with those not yet familiar with the movement. I may have convinced a citizen of Yellowknife, Canada (population 19,000) to build a web app for his city’s bus schedule. The city has 4 bus routes. Striking up conversation with other attendees, I was surprised to learn that so many knew about the budget cuts to the Electronic Government Fund, and all who did agreed strongly with Sunlight’s position. All in all, it was a pleasant surprise to see our community so well-represented at JSConf and NodeConf.