I remember how this came about. Unspace are putting on the FutureRuby conference this July, a follow-up to last summer's excellent RubyFringe conference. A key element of both conferences is that they have avoided having sponsors, which has the downside of making them a bit more expensive than other conferences out there (although considering the US/Canadian exchange rate, as well as all of the great free parties thrown in, it isn't particularly expensive - especially compared to some other upcoming conferences). Some people were complaining on Twitter about not being able to afford tickets to FutureRuby, and Pete replied that there is a lot of demand or Ruby developers these days - and continued with the thought that there's no good reason for decent Ruby developers to be out of work (and to not have enough cash to attend FutureRuby).
This is one of the things I really like about Pete Forde: instead of just complaining and flaming people, he sat down with Unspace uber-planner Meghann Millard and organized a job fair. But this isn't a normal job fair. While most job fairs have job seekers milling around booths set up by employers, this one has the employers milling around booths set up by the job seekers (a perfect illustration of the different supply-demand situation in software). The job seekers aren't allowed to bring computers to the event - instead they have to set up triptych panels like High School Science Fair projects. And oh yeah, it's at the Gladstone Hotel, one of the hippest locations in the city.
Since this is a new event, pointedly different from anything else, there has been some confusion about what to include in your booth. Reg Braithwaite says you should show how what you're doing to address the important problems in your field, which is great, but I think that's a pretty tall order for programmers not at Raganwald's level (which would be most of us!)
I haven't started on my posterboards yet, but I'm currently planning to have:
I actually have plenty of good paying work these days - but as a freelancer it is always good to make connections with potential customers. It will also be a great way to meet other local Ruby developers. It's also likely to be a lot of fun.