On Thursday, I had the unique opportunity to represent Yahoo, along with 3 of my colleagues at the “Developer Bowl” at the SD West 2007 conference in Santa Clara, California. Basically it was a developer trivia game, with 4 companies competing, and it was lots of fun.
I have to admit I was a little worried when the Google team arrived and I saw that it consisted of:
- Guido van Rossum, creator of Python
- Peter Norving, AI guru extraordinaire
- Peter Weinberger, creator of awk and other UNIX tools
- Joshua Bloch, Java rock star (bloch star?)
“If they don’t ask questions about Python, Java, UNIX, AI or Lisp, we should do just fine”, I told myself. I wondered if any of the Google team members would be answers to some of the questions.
We got off to a slow start. Not so much because we didn’t know the answers; more because we weren’t quick enough on the buzzer. Google picked up an early lead. As time went on, we took a few more chances and buzzed in more quickly and made up quite a bit of ground. At some point, we slammed the buzzer so hard that it seemed to be broken. I picked the buzzer up and played it like castanets. Nothing. Eventually it seemed to work again (reboot?) – I verified this by pressing it before host and Dr. Dobb’s Journal Editor-in-Chief Jon Erickson began his next question. People looked over to see why I was hitting the buzzer. “Unit testing”, I explained, which got a few laughs from the TDD-obsessed audience.
In the end, we made up some of the ground that we lost early on, but not quite enough to secure a win. Google got the win with a score of 110 to 90 and we shook hands and sat down to watch IBM face off vs. CodeGear. CodeGear beat IBM in round 2, only to lose 120 to 30 to Google in the third round. Congratulations to the Google team!
And a pic: