Silicon Prairie Social Re-Cap

The Silicon Prairie Social was puh-ACK-ed…. bursting at the seams packed. Turns out there’s a lot of technology geeks in the west burbs and apparently, we’re a hungry bunch. The food seemed to run out pretty quickly. The bar was a trifle hard to get to due to the crowds, though the beers were being passed around in abundance and I saw a couple people two fisting their Rolling Rocks pretty early in the evening. Overall, there seemed to be a whole lot of networking happening and the place was rife with recruiters, so if you’re shopping for a gig it would be a good idea to catch the next event.

As you entered there was the standard “Hello, my name is…” sticky badge for your name (I had to restrain myself from nicking the cool comfy grip hot pink Sharpie… I’ve never seen one before and I want one now), but then they also had sticky badges that said “I Know…” and “I Need…”. Of course, you had some smartasses walking around with “I Need… a girlfriend” and “I Know… lots of stuff”, and then there were people who felt this was a good place to write a tome about their wealth of experience in what could be considered a -5 pt font. (Little tip from cshel — boil it down to 5 or less words and WRITE BIG — otherwise you get people leaning in *awfully*close and squinting at your chestal region to read your sticker).

Speaking of stickers and chests, my feeble attempt at cleverness for the evening was putting my “I Know… SEO” sticker on my back. The logic there was that if I’m already talking to someone and someone else is walking past, they’re more likely to be able to read something on my back rather than something stuck to the front of my shirt. Also, and this is probably more of a girl issue to consider, there is only so much front-of-shirt real estate available for stickers unless you want to look like you’re trying to make a sticker faux-bikini.

People I saw or met at the event…

  • Jeffrey Mitchell, a recruiter with Harvey Nash in Naperville, and also founder of “Close to the Heart”, a charity “dedicated to bringing together people to achieve meaningful and enduring positive changes throughout the world… based upon the philosophy that anyone can change the world if they only make a decision to do so. The organization sponsors fund raising events and supports fair trade as a force of positive change”. (He’s looking for some pro-bono web help if anyone would like to volunteer some of their talents.)
  • Jason Catena, a Senior Staff Software Engineer Build System Architect (whew! say that ten times fast) at Motorola. IIRC, we talked long enough to exchange cards, but I think the crowd and noise levels at the time were chatting prohibitive.
  • Jeff O’Hara, who claims to “hate SEOs” and works for the Wheaton School System, is also President and Founder of EdModo (website coming soon). Sounds like it’s a social site for grade schoolers and (I’m assuming) their teachers. Jeff was also there with his web designer friend, who’s name escapes me at the moment, and his other friend, who’s name also escapes me but I do remember was wearing an “I Need… a girlfriend” sticker.
  • Antoine, from PunchEngine was a sponsor with the table next to The Krull Group. Since I was standing by Steve’s table for most of the evening, I got nosy and checked out the PunchEngine demo. PunchEngine is sort of like a combination of LinkedIn, MySpace, Facebook and Monster… it’s a lot to explain, so check out their site as it does a good job of explaining the concept.
  • There were a number of other people I saw… Dave Rohrer, an in-house search manager with a car problem; Tom Gibson, Sr. Network Administrator (and SAN-Lord) from Provena Health; blogger David Dalka, whom I know from Search Industry conferences; Chicago technology reporter Ron May of The May Report; Tim Courtney of XNet; and finally, Steve Krull of The Krull Group, who seems to think I’m useless as far as suggesting restaurants (and to that I say, freaking ask me to suggest restaurants in Oak Brook BEFORE 10 at night, hmm?)

So, to wrap it up… I thought it was a great event and I look forward to the next one!