London’s a great city, and it’s full of great advocates for Ansible. To everyone I met at the meetup earlier this month: thanks for coming. It was a delight to be able to meet all of you.
I wasn’t expecting to speak at this inaugural meetup, but due to a last minute cancellation (Richard, hope the family is doing better) I found myself pressed into service. I’m not really much for presentations anyway, so it was no hardship; Ali Asad Lotia and Mudassar Mian provided the technical firepower, and then when it was my turn to speak, I fell back on my tried and true strategy of asking questions and listening. This was the first opportunity a lot of people in London have had to talk with someone from Ansible in the flesh, and I’ve learned how very important it is just to meet people where they are and share stories with them.
The first thing I generally do when speaking with a roomful of users, whether I’m giving a formal presentation or not, is to survey the room for expertise. I tend to ask the same series of questions: “who has heard of X? who uses X? who uses X extensively?” What impressed me most about the crowd in London was how many of the hands stayed up through all of those questions. These were serious, serious users of Ansible. Granted, it was an Ansible meetup, so I expected more expertise than at a typical generic meetup — but it seemed as though there were hardly any novices at all.
Except for me, of course. 🙂
There were a lot of questions; I think we had more than an hour of Q+A. The audience was engaged, not only with me, but with one another; the crowd frequently came to my aid when I didn’t have an answer, and by the end of the evening, I was pretty much an afterthought as people in the crowd carried on their own conversations.
The evening also confirmed the good sense of our decision to hold our first AnsibleFest outside of North America in London. Stay tuned for details on that front soon.
Thanks again to all who attended. Looking forward to my next pint and curry.