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   RE: [xml-dev] Why are XML crowds older?

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Because we aren't afraid to bully our managers?

Possibly because as one person noted, XML is thought to 
be only a syntax, therefore, what would an XML conference 
be about?  The older players in our business realize  
that a lot of contacts are made, hallway business is 
conducted, and one can survey how well some application 
languages are doing or aren't.  

Older or not, this was the only time I've met most of these 
people.  Like my kids:  had I known I would have started 
earlier and had more.  People made a fuss over me.  Edd wrote that I 
looked bemused.  The right word is 'befuddled' and not just a 
little terrified.

It's my turn to comment.  

Some bits are intuition.  I was fortunate to be seated at 
a table next to Norm Walsh and Paul Cotton as they did some 
TAG work over breakfast.  The respect these two have for 
each other is right up front.  It showed in their work 
and their conversation.  Believe it or not, that single 
serendipitous encounter gave me the confidence to say, 
yeah, we can finally let go and push XML to the top of 
the stack.  Markup is just stuff; people of high quality 
make all the difference, particularly when they show such 
respect and take genuine pleasure in each other's company.
keep in mind, these guys work for competing companies. It 
can be fun, it can be respectful, and it can still be 
competitive.  It comes down to individuals.  As Tim Bray 
called it:  the markup tribe.

I sat with Henry Thompson and talked futures. The man has 
an enormous grasp of arts, science, history and philosophy. 
I was pretty awed and he was very patient.

Ed Dumbhill:  solid class.  It is so easy to be distainful, 
and it's a lot of work to pay attention.  Edd is an asset to 
O'Reilly in ways they may or may not know.

Simon St Laurent: will always be a credit to whatever he 
works on.  A good egg.  Funny too and unafraid.  Fearlessness 
is a rare thing.

Eve Maler:  Wow.

Tim Bray and Lauren Wood: the King and Queen.  I am 
deeply in their debt.  They lead with smarts and heart 
and real ethics.  

Michael Sperberg-McQueen:  a bear of a man.  A deeply joyful 
guy who stays on the right side of the argument.

Jelks Cabaniss:  Friendly, caring, loves life.

Priscilla Walmsley:  calm rivers run deep. Smart.  At ease.

Michael Rys:  patient with lesser mortals.  I'm glad 
he and Soumitra Sengupta are on the other end of the 
chain that feeds me technology.

Dan Connoly:  a lover of good musical gear.  This is 
something we have in common.  Serious dude.

Then there are the technical ah ha moments.  It was worth the price 
of admission to watch Steve Pepper build the Topic Map 
example with the Ontopia Omnigator.  After years of 
reading or hearing about topic maps, to watch 
someone sit there and confidently model one from the 
requirements of an attendee in real time, I understood it 
better than all of the previous experiences combined. 

Then there was John Cowan's presentation of RelaxNG.  It 
was the clearest exposition of the advantages of it I've 
been exposed to.  John is incredibly intelligent and one 
heckuva good friend when needed.

There were many more.  As I said in a previous email, 
one cannot help but be impressed by the XML community. 
Some people do business.  Others have subtle understanding. 
The leaders of XML can do magic.  Wow.

And that is what the younger crowd needs to see:  leading 
by example.  It is waaay too easy on the web to become 
bloodless or crusty.  If there is to be a better world, 
they kids have to see how the one they have is being made 
better now.  Employers do themselves a big favor exposing 
their younger employees to the best in the business.


> When marketing and sales people come to XML shows, they often ask why 
> it's an older crowd than what you see at, say, a Java show or a 
> Microsoft show.
> Thinking of the people in the XML community whom I respect most, they 
> seem to be on the older side too.
> Any thoughts on the demographics of XML, and how it differs from the 
> demographics of Java or .NET?
> Jonathan


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