Before I start this post, let me fill in some gaps. For a short period of time, I contracted for Xamarin. It was a great experience and given the chance, I'd work for them like a shot again.
I've known the core of the team since the early days of the Mono projected, packaged for Fedora to include the mono bits and pieces, submitted more bug reports than are healthy and have supported them by purchasing the Xamarin mobile products.
I'm not going to stop buying the products as I believe that using .NET for cross platform mobile development is the way forward due to the rapid development cycle and coding style it promotes (why code 3 times in 3 languages for 3 platforms when you can code once in one language for 3 platforms - it's a no brainer)
Last night was the first meeting of the newly founded Xamarin Manchester group. It is a joint effort between McGregor Boyle (a bunch of really great recruiters) and myself with the support of Packt Publishing. I approached Xamarin to get a speaker or some sort of support and was advised to contact the UK team which I did (I know the guys well).
An email or so later and things looked good. Then silence. I'd given the dates and asked for someone to be there. Silence. Email reminder. Silence. It's as if they didn't want to know. Now I understand the constraints Xamarin work under, the number of people on the ground and the financial sides of things and I also know having been on the inside that they really do care about users.
I don't expect any special treatment, but an email from the UK people just to say "hey, we're booked up on that date, can you hold the fort?" would have been nice. Something as simple as that. A note of recognition of the hard work and organisation. But nothing. Not a dicky bird.
Well thanks. If this is the support you offer to a new group at a time where evangelism for an amazing product is low on the ground, then growth of numbers cannot be that important. Those at the meeting last night were not mobile developers, but web devs, desktop devs, scrum masters, architects and recruiters - the people who can influence to use a product or not.
They all enjoyed it but the overriding comment was why was there no-one from Xamarin there for the launch? I could answer everything thrown at me due to product knowledge and comments back indicated many thought I was part of the UK team because of my style, knowledge and fervour I spoke of the product line with. They could not believe I wasn't.
So look Xamarin, I'm going to wrap this up now as I have a deadline to meet and need to crack on coding. The next meeting is in 2 months time with one in September when we're going to try and organise a hackathon to demonstrate how simple it is to write using Xamarin. Show your support with actions. I'm not after t-shirts and mugs and monkeys (though they would be nice as freebees), I'm not after someone coming to the meetings now - you missed the boat with the launch and I'm also registered speaker.
Support us in the September hackathon - chances are we'll need VS licensed copies as most universities I know use VS. This is your big chance to get the noise out to students around Manchester (and possibly the UK if it works out - I'm happy to repeat it at other institutions if we can come to some sort of agreement over my costs).
I'm still hurting from last night, but hey we had fun. Talk to me.