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Chris G. Williams Beware: I mix tech and personal interests here.

I've worked with Laurel for a few months on a number of different projects and had the good fortune of finally meeting her face to face (that would be her face on the right, and yours truly on the left) during TechEd Developers 2008. She was gracious enough to indulge me in a few drinks at Howl At The Moon and to answer these NINE Questions, so here we go...


1. Where are you from? 
I grew up in a small town in southern Maine. I now live in Medford, Massachusetts, less than two miles from O'Reilly's East coast office in Cambridge.

2. Well, I guess that spoils the surprise on my second question, but I'll ask it anyway: Who do you work for? Give me the 10 second pitch on them. Why would I want to buy their product?
I am an associate editor at O'Reilly Media, focusing on Microsoft technologies. We publish computer/tech culture books, online content, and magazines, as well as host a whole bunch of great conferences. You've likely seen our iconic animal books, but we also publish the Head First and Missing Manual series, Craft and Make magazines, and throw Maker Faires in the Bay Area and Austin every year.

3. That's pretty cool, so what brought you to O'Reilly?
Luck! I was a copyeditor for three IT analyst/consulting firms in Boston before starting out at O'Reilly as a production editor (copyediting manuscripts and getting the book to the printer). However, I became more interested in the process before the copyediting part (how do you find a good topic and shape a book), which paired well with my outgoing personality, so I was promoted into an editorial role acquiring and developing books. It was a good move, but I'm still learning the space.

4. I've worked with you as an editor, but that's pretty much the only side of you I know. What other areas of technical expertise do you have? 
I'm not much of an expert in anything (yet), but I am a quick study (which is good considering the vast field I cover). I'm into Internet culture and Web 2.0, but mostly I like people and what interests them.

5. You went to TechEd2008 (Developers & IT Pro) this year. Was it your first time, and what did you think? Worth going back again? 
It was my first year at TechEd and although it made for a long couple of weeks, it was worthwhile. I met lots of great people, put names/blogs to faces, and came out with bunches of ideas. I'm psyched TechEd is in LA next year.

6. Lots of folks find equal or greater value in the networking, rather than the sessions. Would you agree? Did you have a favorite session or event?
I agree. However, I thought the Women in Tech luncheon was a great combination of both networking and learning. Having breakout areas where the conversation can continue is pretty important, but it also requires conference hosts/attendees to think differently about the standard heavily-scheduled conference day.

7. I followed a lot of folks on Twitter during TechEd, and it seems like the way to go when out of town. What's your take on Twitter?
I think Twitter is great (I'm @laurelatoreilly). Since MIX08, I've found it to be a fantastic way to keep in touch with lots of people all at once. It's easy to read through hundreds of micro-blog messages to see what's going on in the world and people's lives.

8. Any non-technical hobbies?
I'm a photographer and depending on the season, I'm likely watching the New England Patriots, skiing, gardening, or brewing beer.

9. Well hopefully my readers can overlook that Patriots comment. Last question, and I'll let you get back to work:  Any tattoos?
Nope, but I think about it occasionally.

Posted on Wednesday, July 2, 2008 12:41 AM General Interest , NINE Questions | Back to top

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