I was told there would be corn. I did not see one ear of corn.

Last week, I made my first visit ever to Iowa. In 3 days, I drove over 500 miles from Chicago to Dubuque to Cedar Falls to Cedar Rapids to Iowa City to Des Moines.  Between 6PM Monday and 8PM Wednesday (just 50 hours), I spoke at 4 user groups ion 4 different cities

This trip came about as my friend Javier and I were chatting online recently about upcoming speaking opportunities. He invited me to speak at his user group in Des Moines and I asked if he could connect me with other groups in Iowa.


I entered Iowa by crossing the Mississippi from Illinois at Dubuque and I was surprised by the landscape. Cliffs rose along the river and and rolling hills marked the landscape for miles on either side. This contradicted my mental image of Iowa as hundreds of miles of flat prairie and farmland.

The Dubuque group was small but engaged. I talked about Cognitive Services, which is an exciting technology and fun to talk about. The only issue I had was the at Microsoft changed the Cognitive Services web site the day before m presentation and I found it difficult to find some of the features I wanted to show off.

Tuesday morning, I drove to Dyersville, IA to see the site where the 1989 film Field of Dreams was filmed. The Lansing family still owns the farm and continues to maintain the iconic baseball field carved out of the corn field by Kevin Costner. They built it; I came.


I continued for a lunchtime presentation on Angular and TypeScript at the Cedar Valley .NET User Group in Cedar Falls. This was another small group, but I enjoyed it - in part because it was held in the back room of a restaurant that served excellent pizza.

Tuesday evening found me in Cedar Rapids for the CRINETA group, where I give another presentation on Cognitive Services. The room was full as the organizers cross-promoted with the local SQL PASS user group.


Wednesday morning, I stopped in Iowa City for lunch near the University of Iowa before heading west toward Des Moines. This was the most stressful part of the trip as I drove through a driving rainstorm surrounded by semi trucks.

But I arrived in Des Moines for the Iowa .NET User Group and spoke to a packed room on Angular and TypeScript.

I delivered the following presentations at the following user groups in the following cities:

Date User Group City
Mon May 8 Dubuque .NET Software Development User Group Dubuque
Tue May 9 (noon) Cedar Valley .NET User Group Cedar Falls
Tue May 9 (evening) CRINETA Cedar Rapids
Wed May 9 Iowa .NET User Group Des Moines

It was a great experience and I enjoyed meeting people and engaging local developer communities and seeing the sites and driving across the prairie.

Now, I have to return when the corn is in season.