The sad news began to stream in during yesterday afternoon, that Skillsmatter had gone into administration. I’m sure some of us have been in the same situation and have been in an organisation when this kind of thing has happened, it’s no fun.

What I did witness was the outpouring of thanks and support, this was wonderful to see.

Five years ago I became aware of ClojureX, I refused to talk when it was suggested that I do so, “I’m no good to talk at that!”, was my reply. I’d been coding Clojure for six months at that point and the talk titles I’d seen were on another planet. It wasn’t for another year that I took to the stage.

Jade is born….. by mistake

My name is Jason, everyone calls me Jase (at my request, there’s another Jason Bell, he’s a very good photographer, we know each other, me being Jase makes things easier). By an autocorrect quirk of fate of Chris Howe-Jones turned Jase in to Jade. A meme was born, so everyone in the Clojure community knew me as Jade.

The one thing Jade noticed was that everyone at Skillsmatter were completely kind, caring, professional and always wanting to make sure that you were okay. If you were happy the conference was always better. They made sure everyone was happy, it felt more like family than organisers.

Bring on the Hecklers….

At ClojureX I could let go a little and, being in December, I could get away with some very silly call and response. It became near like pantomime last year with one lady shouting at the top of her voice, “IT’S BEHIND YOU!”, I folded over laughing.

The first row ended up being a gallery of heckling rogues. It was hilarious and I’ve never delivered a plain talk ever since, there has to be some audience participation if they are willing to join in, I know it’s not for everyone but it makes a huge difference.

ClojureX was always close to my heart, along with Strata London. To the point that this year I stopped doing all talks but these two.

So……..

A huge thank you to Wendy, Carla, Sam, Nicole and everyone else that made sure I was happy, fed, watered, looked after, let me nod off from very early morning flights.

To John, Gaibile, Chris, Bruce and the rest of the committee – thanks for the hard work you’ve put in over the years.

Lastly, to those who gave me the grace to stand up, entertain and educate, thank you. The positive feedback meant the world to me.

SkillsMatter, it was an honour. Thank you!

(Everyone will still call me Jade…. I know).