Why does Strange Loop exist?
Strange Loop exists for many reasons:
- Building the St. Louis community - I love St. Louis, I love living here, and I want to do my part to build the (already amazing) developer community here.
- Promoting St. Louis itself - because I love St. Louis and I think it's a great place to live, I want to attract great developers and companies so I continue to have great job opportunities in the future. :)
- Content - there are many ways to build a conference and I have a blast putting together the speaker and content mix for Strange Loop (my favorite part). The focus continues to change but @al3x made an off-hand comment "It's like a who's-who of interesting people doing applied compsci." and that comment continues to rattle around in my brain months later as an excellent shorthand guide to what I want.
- People - it's crucial to have a critical mass of smart awesome people in the same room. I'm really excited to see so many great people I know of from other contexts signing up for Strange Loop. Meeting and talking with great people face-to-face is the one aspect of a conf that is impossible to replicate any other way.
- Fun - I want to try new formats and new ways to do a conference. There are a bunch of people pushing the conference boundaries these days and I think it's awesome. The smaller, dev-run conferences are doing crazy awesome things these days. You owe it to yourself to go check out a regional Ruby conf, Code Mash, 1DevDay, jsConf, Erlang Factory, etc. So much creativity out there.
- Money - Strange Loop is a for-profit venture. The conference is intentionally kept to a low cost profile but I'm happy to get a bit of compensation in return. I'm scared to work out the $/hr return though as I suspect it would be depressing. It doesn't matter though - I get so much out of it that I would do it regardless.
Why is it called Strange Loop?
The Strange Loop name comes from three sources. The first is Douglas Hofstadter's book "I Am a Strange Loop", which defines the concept of a "strange loop" as a self-referential hierarchical system and postulates that a strange loop in the brain is the essence of consciousness. The second is the area where the conference took place in 2009 and 2010, known in St. Louis as "the Loop", which was at one time the loop at the end of a streetcar line. And finally, the third ties in with the common programming language concept of a loop.
How many roads must a man walk down?