EclipseWorld has been a great conference to speak at. What has been very cool for me is interacting with developers outside of Silicon Valley. Now don't get me wrong, if you are a developer, especially a web developer, then Silicon Valley is the place you want to be. I would compare it to working on Wall Street if you are in finance, or working in Hollywood if you are in show business. It's not for everybody, but it presents the chance to prove that you've got what it takes, and, if you are lucky, a chance to make a lot of money.
However, in the Valley it is easy to forget that most web development is not about creating The Next Big Thing. In the Valley, @tychay will rip you up for using Rails because it fails at web scale. On the east coast, I have met a lot of developers creating internal web applications, or maybe customer service applications. These are applications that can run just fine a single multi-core box, even with the database running on the same machine. They aren't stressing out over page weight, database partitioning, or terabytes of cache. They are creating sophisticated applications, and always have way more feature requests than they have time.
These are the people who are most empowered by tools, especially Eclipse. They don't have some huge team with specialists for doing the CSS or tuning the database. They do it all themselves, and Eclipse makes that a whole lot easier. I've written a lot about things you can do with Eclipse, but this experience has really put things into better perspective.