DevExpress Newsletter 27: Message from the CTO

05 May 2010

Here’s my message from the 27th DevExpress newsletter.

Normally for a big conference event like Tech·Ed, we, as a company, go hell-for-leather for a big glitzy booth and wow the customers and passers-by with our demos, displays, and product innovation. You just have to look back through our blog posts here for the PDCs and Tech·Eds of the past to see what I mean. Of course, in order to provide this experience, we spend quite a bit of money.

This year, though, we paused with our metaphoric pen on the dotted line. You see, Tech·Ed 2010 is taking place in New Orleans.

I'm sure like me you were horrified at the extreme flooding of New Orleans caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Levees were breached (in 53 separate places), leaving roughly 80% of the city flooded. It was the first time that the Mayor had ever ordered the complete evacuation of the city, but even so over 700 people died as a result of the flooding.

Of course, if the flooding wasn't bad enough, the immediate aftermath was extremely painful. The Army Corps of Engineers had to rebuild or repair the levees, some having failed due to design flaws. Over 200,000 houses were damaged or destroyed and 800,000 people displaced. Even now, getting on for five years later, houses are still being repaired or rebuilt and families are still having to live in temporary accommodation.

We at DevExpress can only wonder at the horrors of losing our homes and belongings due to this awful disaster. We've just never experienced such events. In thinking about it, we came to the realization that we cannot in all conscience spend what we normally do on a booth for three days and just leave. We didn't feel it was right.

So we've decided to rent a small basic 10x10 booth at Tech·Ed and put the rest of the money we'd normally spend towards building a house. We've joined in partnership with Habitat for Humanity to build a new home for a deserving family in New Orleans. It's shocking to realize that the cost of a large booth at an event like Tech·Ed is in fact the price of a new house, but there you go. At least with this Tech·Ed, a family will soon have their new home.

Of course, New Orleans and Louisiana are now facing another disaster, the BP oil leak, so this effort becomes even more apt.

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