‘Developer Song’ is Everything Wrong With Tech Conferences

2012 was a peak year for tech and software developers. It was a full presidential term beyond the worst economic collapse in recent history, and tech was still surging hard, leaning into mobile.

It was also a time when #brands really didn’t quite get developers, but knew the latter wanted to go to conferences – and wanted to be “entertained.” For most developers, both in 2012 and now, ‘entertainment’ is a lot of good sessions, some decent food, a complimentary drink ticket and the chance to catch up with people you know from Twitter. It’s definitely not what you’re about to see in the video below.

NDC is a conference program for developers, holding conferences all over the World. In 2012, NDC tried just a bit too hard to entertain developers. IT consultant Christian Wattengård was on-hand at one of NDC’s conferences that year (we’re guessing it’s from one of several they hold in Oslo, considering Wattengård is from Norway and the DJ’s accent in the video below; also, there’s evidence ‘NDC’ was formerly known as the ‘Norwegian Developers Conference,’ possibly before it branched out) and had the prescience to record what he saw.

Behold, the developer song:

There’s a lot to unpack, here. Dancers who maybe threw the routine together backstage 30 minutes beforehand, a stage too small for those dancers, and a DJ who hasn’t read the room… these are your driving narratives.

And the lyrics to ‘our’ song are cringe-worthy, made worse by the screen in front of the stage (a TV at eye-level, mind you; I hope nobody in the back of the room was trying to read along). It has it all – a childish Microsoft/penis reference, “coding is our drugs,” and my personal favorite: ‘genious’ flashing across the screen at the 1:12 mark.

We’ve seen some really dumb stuff at tech conferences, but this video may be the cake topper. It’s both an honest look at the worst corners of tech in 2012 (self-aggrandizing, sexist, extravagant without cause, and just plain stupid all at the same time) and an example of how companies and #brands viewed developers and engineers.

And look at the audience! Totally bemused. My guess is they’re wondering if ‘developer song’ is the short presentation they have to sit through before drink tickets are handed out. At least they all had something to talk about.

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