Whew, I think my brain has finally returned from its liquified state after Railsconf. Last year the conference felt like a vacation, since all I did was attend. This year, with all the speaking and booth-manning and meetings, it was pretty grueling.
Despite that, it was still plenty of fun. For example, due to some capacity issues at the convention hall, my talk got moved into the keynote room. So I got to feel like a big shot for an hour up on the big stage with all the banners and lights. :)
Tim Goh posted an excellent blow-by-blow of my talk. Apparently he manually keyed in all the code from my slides during the presentation, which is damn impressive because I was going through them pretty quickly!
We answered about a zillion questions about Heroku at our booth (not to mention just people stopping us in the hallway). This involved lots of waving our arms around and drawing on our plexiglass wipeboard.
Talking to so many people about what we’re doing brought a few things into focus for me. The main one is that not many people really get what we’re doing. Questions I answered over and over: No, we’re not a web-based IDE. No, we’re not a reseller of EC2. No, we’re not a competitor of Engine Yard.
My best answer to the “what is Heroku?” question is as follows: Heroku is a automated deployment platform for Rails. “Automated” means you don’t think about server stuff at all: just load up your code and go. “Deployment platform” means a place to run your app - which could be while you’re developing on it, could be a staging/prototype/demo-for-the-client deployment, or could be a full production deployment.
Going forward, the guys and I are going to be thinking about ways to make our message clearer. I guess that’s one of the challenges of using a blue ocean business strategy: when you’re pioneering a completely new space, explanations are hard.
Thanks to the conference organizers for another great event; to everyone who came to my talk; to everyone who approached us about partnership opportunities; and to all the excellent speakers. And to all the new friends I made, I hope to see you again soon (maybe at Rubyfringe?).