I’ve had an idea kicking around in my head for a few months now. Well, really more of a vision than an idea. The vision is of a crisp fall day in St. Louis, my favorite time of the year. The sun is warm but the wind gives a bit of a nip to the air. Leaves have changed colors and started to fall.
The location is the Loop. If you live in St. Louis, then you know the Loop. It’s near Washington University and Wash U has slowly bought a large percentage of the property in the area to use for student housing. The canonical loop denizen is a little funky, with some style and quite often an accompanying dog, skateboard, mohawk, or tattoo. The loop is just a matter of a few blocks on Delmar that Joe Edwards keeps stretching farther east towards the MetroLink stop. It’s the home of the famous Blueberry Hill, where Chuck Berry still plays once a month or so. For me, I grew up going to the loop to see movies at the Tivoli, hearing bands at Blueberry Hill or Cicero’s, or in more recent years The Pageant, and buying CDs at Vintage Vinyl, one of the few remaining independent record stores. In short, it’s a wonderful young place to hang out.
And I envision getting my community together there in this setting, at this time. I’ve grown up and lived in St. Louis most of my life and my roots here are deep. I am also a software developer. I care a lot about the software development community in St. Louis because this is where I live and what I do and I want this to be a great place to be a software developer. So I envision the many many talented developers in St. Louis and the area getting together, in the fall, in the Loop to have a conference.
Thus was born the Strange Loop Conference.
Two weeks ago, I decided to take the plunge and dive into planning a software development conference, which I have named the Strange Loop Conference. The conference will be a one day event, held on a Friday in October (exact date still TBD but likely 10/16 or 10/23). It will be held at the Tivoli in the heart of the loop. The Tivoli is a beautiful old theater – it has one main theater that holds 450 people and two side theaters that hold 150 each, allowing three concurrent tracks.
This blog will be the meta blog of the conference, your peek to the inside of what planning a conference is like (as I figure it out myself). The name of the conference comes from Douglas Hofstadter, author of the book “I Am A Strange Loop” and more famously “Godel, Escher, Bach”. The idea of a strange loop is a shifting between levels of a hierarchy of abstraction in such a way that can give rise to meaning. Hofstadter argues that this concept of a strange loop actually gives rise to consciousness in the human brain. For me, there is an obvious tie-in with the location of the Loop and I want to create something that’s a little strange. I also want the conference to help build a stronger developer community in St. Louis with a sense of identity.
At this point, I don’t yet have a web site to point you towards or even much more hard detail. That’s all on the way in the near future. In the last week I incorporated Strange Loop LLC (thanks to the handy online registration), filed for a federal EIN (also online), and opened a business bank account. Those are all necesary first steps along the way. Locking down the date, location, and a web site are next priorities. Coming soon…