For programmers in San Francisco, the hottest ticket in town this weekend is to CodeConf. This is the first conference hosted by the folks from GitHub, one of most popular web-based code repositories for the developer community today.
The bad news for programmers who don’t have tickets yet is that CodeConf is sold out. (There’s a waiting list.) The good news, GitHub CEO Chris Wanstrath told me today, is that there are probably many more CodeConfs to come.
“We’ve been talking about having a conference like CodeConf since before we even launched GitHub,” Wanstrath said in an interview today. “We’re trying to bring the Internet community into ‘meatspace.’” In that vein, the company has long hosted biweekly DrinkUp events, an informal, boozy spin on the classic Meetup get-together. CodeConf has been organized to have the same casual vibe.
“For us, it’s more about getting people to meet each other, rather than one person giving a talk to a group about something technical,” he said. “We focus on collaboration, not just code.”
That focus on bringing techies together has been a huge part of GitHub’s success as a company. Since its April 2008 launch, GitHub has attracted a loyal following of users who run the gamut from independent hackers to enterprise software development teams from Fortune 500 firms.
To me, one of the coolest things about GitHub is that all this code and community is hosted by a company that hasn’t taken on a dime of venture capital. According to Wanstrath, GitHub has been banking self-sustaining revenues practically since day one with its payment plans, and it currently has no plans to take on outside cash.
“We’ve taken on zero outside investment, not even from friends and family,” Wanstrath said. “Everyone says you can’t make money in developer tools. But I’ve learned to take everything everyone says with a grain of salt.”