Conferences

Improving Speaker Diversity

Last month at Devoxx I was in a session discussing what we can do to encourage more diversity in our speakers (specifically, although not limited to, increasing the number of women speakers). I’m going to outline the things I remember being discussed, although as usual we did not find the answer to the problem, only identify some issues and explore some options. This is a very chaotic blog post, because if I don’t post it now I’ll never post it, and it’s better if my thoughts are scrawled down and posted than if this all goes to die in my drafts folder.

What do you mean, Backwards Compatibility? (YOW 2013)

YOW recorded me, yet again, talking about the adventure that is the design of the new Java Driver for MongoDB. This is the same talk I gave at GeeCON and DevoxxUK, with some updates based on our Journey So Far. In it, I cover the architecture of the new driver and some of our current thoughts around where we want the API to go.

Upcoming Events 2014

It’s been a while since I updated you on my travel plans, so now I’ve had some more conferences confirmed, I thought I would pass the information on.

QCon London 2014

Wow. My 4th QCon London.  That’s not bad.  And every time, it’s a different experience (if you must, see my blogs for 2013, 2012, and even 2007 (part 1 & part 2 - how cute was I? “agile seems like a jolly good idea; automated testing appears to be important”)). I can’t even tell you what I did on the first day, I was mostly panicking about my presentation - I was inspired after my trip to New York last month to change my talk at the last (responsible?) minute and do a live coding session, something much more technical than my recent talks.  I’ll leave the details for a separate blog post though, when the video comes out.

The Joy of Coding

Dick Wall - The Tao, of the Joy, of Coding I’m on a plane (there’s a surprise) on my way back from The Joy of Coding.  It’s the title that attracted me to this conference, and it was a great little one day event with awesome people like Dan North, Erik Meijer and Dick Wall presenting.  What I liked about the themes is they were broadly technology agnostic, pulling back to a level which made me remember why I’m a developer.

Should you notice I'm a woman? Should I care?

So, following on from my observations of being an outsider at FOSDEM because I’m not an open source developer, I do have another story to tell where my female-ness is actually relevant. I’m going to give specifics, but it’s not to name and shame or anything like that, it’s just that anonymising it will probably erase some of the subtleties.  But I’m not telling this to make anyone feel bad, because this is not an oh-poor-me story, this is just the way it goes sometimes and I want to share what it feels like.

Feel like an outsider?

So, FOSDEM. I've heard great things about this conference, so I was pretty exited to go The Java dev roomNow I know people talk about impostor syndrome whenever they mention the woeful lack of diversity at tech conferences.  Interestingly, I felt like an impostor at FOSDEM - not because I'm a woman (there were quite a few techy women around at FOSDEM, more than I expected) but because I'm not an open source person.

YOW

December disappeared in a rush of vacation and a fleeting tour of Australia.  It’s hard to believe that it’s the eve of Christmas Eve already, it’s almost impossible to feel Christmassy when you’re getting sunburnt on a boat and seeing people in swim-suits wearing santa hats.  A mid-winter festival (complete with trees and fake snow) just feels very odd in summer. I cannot take Christmas seriously in this weatherYOW! is a unique conference, in that it’s the same agenda in three different cities: Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney.

JAX London & MongoDB Tutorial

In previous years, JAX London would have been an easy, local conference to go to. This time it took me most of Sunday to get there, and not because of the Super Storm. Still, that gave me the day to finish off the tutorial I was running there on Monday morning. Not that I would be so unprofessional as to leave preparing things until the last minute, oh no…. But as in previous years, the main benefit of this conference for me was meeting most of the usual suspects from the London Java Community.

JavaOne 2013

So, I thought a few months ago that my blog would become more of a travel blog than a tech blog because of the amount of conferences I was going to.  Turned out that I was so busy writing / updating / practicing talks and workshops and, er, travelling, that I never got around to doing retrospectives on the events I’d been to. So, JavaOne, again, my third year there.  I’ll always have a fondness for it - because of Martin Thompson, it was the first conference I presented at.

Life on both sides of the interview table

InfoQ has posted the video of Dan North and I opining on the subject of hiring.  Most of the talk is spent on how to be a good interviewer, and touches on how to market your company to prospective hires.  We spend less time on how to do well as an interviewee, but in theory if you know what’s going through the interviewer’s mind, you should be in a much better position to take control of the interview and shine.

JavaOne Shanghai

I was expecting this…So, I was in China last week.  It’s not really what I expected, but then my knowledge of China comes almost entirely from visiting various Chinatowns and watching martial arts movies, so I guess I wasn’t all that well prepared for a modern Asian city like Shanghai. …and found this insteadThe city is, in my opinion, clean, modern, and attractive.  I was surprised by American-looking early skyscrapers, and really surprised that the city overall felt more European than American - with Marks & Spencer, Tesco, Carrefour, H & M, Zara, Costa Coffee, as well as the inevitable McDonalds, KFC and Pizza Hut.

Trisha's World Tour 2013

Quick update on my scheduled events this year.  Please feel free to suggest your MUG or JUG or other tech group as somewhere for me to visit on this Grand World Tour if I’m in your city. 17-21st June - In New York - woohoo!  Getting to know Justin Lee, the newest member of the Java team, doing some pair programming (hopefully) and meeting people at the MongoDB Masters’ Summit on Thursday. 24th June - STAC Summit, London - I’m not presenting, but I’ll be there “networking” (a.k.a.

My Summary of GeeCON, Krakow

Last week I was in Krakow, Poland for GeeCON.  Which was excellent!  I find it really interesting that conferences all have their own personalities, that they are not all the same. GeeCON had its own distinct personality.  If you’re a Java/JVM person based in Poland, I would highly recommend it - more than 90% of the attendees were Polish (probably the remainder were largely speakers) so this conference is very much for you.

2013 is looking a lot busier than I planned...

So, despite promising myself that I would only do one event a month for the rest of this year, looks like I’m going to be a bit busier than that. In case you’re wondering what I’m up to (or, even better, hoping to see me talk or meet me), here are my confirmed engagements: 15-17 May - GeeCon, Poland 18-20 June - GOTO Amsterdam - whole day tutorial on the new (unfinished) MongoDB Java driver.

Devoxx UK 2013

Last week was the first Devoxx UK, bringing the brand from Belgium and, more recently, France. And I think it was a HUGE success. Of course, disclaimers first - I was on the programme committee, so I might say that the whole thing was awesome. Although in all honesty, even being slightly involved in the organisation of a conference is a lot of work, and you can’t wait to see the back of it (and I didn’t do half as much as some people).

QCon Day One

I like QCon London, I really do.  Not only is it on home turf, but, as I’ve said before, it doesn’t just focus on technology, or a set of technologies. Full disclosure: I’ve been involved in planning QCon this year.  So this time I know all the thinking, hard work, planning and last-minute changes that go into a conference like this.  And it’s a joy to be able to sit in the audience and see the conference that you’ve helped build.

Devoxx: The Problem with Women - A Technical Approach

As well as talking about, you know, actual work-type-stuff, I was encouraged to give my “Technical Approach to Women” presentation at Devoxx.  This went so well at JavaOne that I thought it would be difficult to top.  Also, I wasn’t convinced it would work at Devoxx, because the theatres are not well suited to audience participation - the seats are warm and comfy, the room is dark, the speaker is on stage in front of a massive screen….

LJC Open Conference 2012

Saturday I had the pleasure of being part of the 5th London Java Community Open Conference.  This is a great event to end the conference season on - it made me feel good about being part of the LJC, and  got me excited about the prospects for 2013. The fantastic thing about an open conference is that a) you don’t have to prepare like mad for it and b) the short sessions and wide variety of subjects mean that you learn stuff you didn’t expect to.

Summary of Devoxx 2012

Devoxx topped off a crazy two months of conferences. I've heard people talk about the conference season in the past, and been slightly (OK, very) jealous of all that jet-setting.  I'll admit, however, to a slight feeling of relief that my focus until Christmas is pretty much going to be coding.  I hope. Neal Ford's When Geek LeaksSo, how was Devoxx?  Well for starters, the calibre of the speakers and talks was excellent.

JAX London 2012

Seemed like a quiet conference this year.  Not really sure why, maybe it was the layout of the massive (and extremely dark) main room; maybe it was the awkward L-shape of the communal space; or maybe this year people were more interested in listening to the (really very good) sessions rather than participating or meeting other people.  Whatever the reason, it felt quiet and almost low-key. Performance seemed pretty high on the agenda, as you’d expect from a London conference, with a number of things on offer: A great keynote from Kirk Pepperdine and Martijn Verburg, covering a massive range of things to care about when thinking about performance on the first nightA high-level talk about Java Performance from yours truly (which I may run again for the LJC if there’s interest, but it’s more likely to be a one-off)A deep dive into writing lock-free coding by Mike BarkerAnd a talk from Kirk exploring your GC logs.

JavaOne: The Summary

So, JavaOne. Taylor Street CafeI'm going to be controversial.  I think this was my favourite conference of this year.  I know that's not trendy, and that Oracle-bashing is still a popular pastime.  And I know I've also made a big deal about how much fun it is to meet people who program in different languages.  But there is something very special about being surrounded by thousands of people from all around the world who use the same technology as you, some facing the same problems, some solving very different issues.

JavaOne: The Problem With Women - A Technical Approach

Yesterday dawned, with a sense of foreboding (actually it dawned with me coughing my lungs out, but we’ve heard enough about the sub-optimal state of my respiratory system this week).   On this day, I was giving the talk I was dreading when I got asked to do it.  It’s the talk I actually put more work into than any of the other sessions I was presenting at this JavaOne.  It was the Women In IT talk.

Tips for Presenters

…or, tips-for-Trisha-because-she-has-the-memory-of-a-goldfish. Do not drink too much coffee beforehand.Do not replace coffee with Diet Coke, it is not better…Do not drink too much coffee and drink diet coke and forget to eat.Check skirt length before prancing around on stage.Check desktop background for public-display-appropriateness.Close down applications that have popup notifications.  Do you really want hundreds of people seeing that tweet…?Plug in your laptop power.  Re-typing your password every time the screen powers down is boring.Remember your Mac-to-VGA dongle thingie.

JavaOne: User Group Sunday

Well this is exciting!  JavaOne 2011 is the first conference I spoke at, so this the first time I’ve covered the same conference two years running.  I think. It’s very nice to be back at JavaOne.  Last year it was my first opportunity to meet so many people - the guys at Oracle who work really hard to make sure Java has its own identity; the JUG Leaders and Duchess folk; the JCP EC committee members; and loads of people who live and work in the area who I wouldn’t normally get a chance to speak to in person.

The Strange Loop

Last week (was it only last week?) I was at Strange Loop, presenting a workshop on the Disruptor. I didn’t really have any expectations from the conference, I’ve never been before and, if I’m honest, hadn’t heard of it before.  So everything was a pleasant surprise. It’s a very geeky conference.  I mean that as a compliment, of course.  Lots of very smart people talking about stuff that’s waaaay more advanced than you frequently get in the conferences employers would be happy to pay for.

Upcoming Events

So yeah… in keeping with this year’s theme of basically only blogging about the exciting conferences I’ve been to, I’m going to blog about the exciting conferences I am attending in the future. I haven’t been great at doing that, the disconnect between the time I submit a presentation and the actual announcement means that I often forget I haven’t told anyone about what I’m up to. Firstly, I’m back in the States this month to present my very first workshop - An Introduction to the Disruptor at Strangeloop.

OSCON Day One

So, my first day at my very first OSCON.  I have to say that when Ben and Martijn told me I had to do OSCON, that it was one of the conferences to go to, I was sceptical - not because I thought it would be rubbish, but because I have enjoyed all the conferences I’ve been to for different reasons. But I’m really impressed so far. The program is packed with great topics and speakers, and so many things I want to see that clash with each other.

The subject of women programmers is boring

I’ve been challenged to do a session at a very large conference around women in programming.  Which leads to two reactions from me 1) wow, what an honour! and 2) sigh. The problem with these sessions is that you’re preaching to the choir.  Those who turn up are a) women or b) men who are sympathetic and supportive to the cause.  People who are actively discriminating against women or, more commonly, those who don’t know their actions are hurting diversity in our industry, are the least likely to receive the message.

QCon London: Disruptor presentation video

The “User’s Guide to the Disruptor” presentation I gave at QCon London is now available on the InfoQ site.  This is the same presentation as the one I gave at Skillsmatter in March, but the questions are different.  Plus since I’m winging it every time, I probably cover slightly different things or explain some stuff better / worse.

GOTO Amsterdam

Three airports and three hotels in a week, and I don’t know whether I’m coming or going.  Add to that a mere four hours sleep last night, and this might resemble the ramblings of a mad woman (more than usual that is). GOTO Amsterdam was a different affair to GOTO Copenhagen, which is not necessarily a bad thing - it’s great that the events have their own personalities and aren’t cookie cutter versions of the same thing.

GOTO Copenhagen

So,  before everything gets pushed out of my head, GOTO Copenhagen. It was my first conference "alone", in that I didn't have friends and colleagues from LMAX or the London Java Community there with me.  And certainly at the start of the conference, I wasn't the only one who was standing around, hoping someone would talk to me (in all honesty some of the photos above are a little unfair - the schedule was a very nice, simple phone app so most people spent a lot of time playing with their phones).

Why Open Source Your Secrets

Here’s a video of my Open Conference session on the business benefits of open sourcing your software.  Given that the conference was at a weekend and had a very intimate feel, I think I was a teeny bit more honest than I usually am.  Enjoy. Why Open Source Your Secrets View more presentations from Trisha Gee.

Update on events

Just a quick note to say I was interviewed for another podcast, again to talk about all-female events.  It’s only a short one and there’s probably not much in there that I haven’t said before, either on here or in person. From the 21st May, I’m at GOTO, both Copenhagen and Amsterdam.  I’ll be talking about code & the Disruptor, thank goodness, and will be trying not to rant about the subject of women in technology.

Featured on a BBC Podcast

This week’s BBC Outriders podcast features yours truly venting about The Subject That Won’t Go Away, Women in Technology.  I was interviewed at Sunday’s Girl Geek conference, and got a chance to voice my opinions once again.  For those who can’t be bothered to listen, they can probably be summarised as: There are genuine problems that face people in our industry, let’s talk about those that you have actually faced, not ones that you imagine exist.In my opinion, now is a great time for women to make a name for themselves - conference organisers are crying out for you to attend and (if you want) speak, and our industry needs talented people of any type and isn’t that fussy about who you are.Please, please can we start talking about the good stuff that we see as women in IT?

In which I defend the Male species at an all Female event

Google Campus is an awesome spaceToday I was at the Girl Geek Meetup conference.  I didn’t advertise it much because I’ve said in the past I don’t really agree with women-only events, and actually I felt quite uncomfortable telling you guys I was going to be there, knowing the majority of my readers weren’t allowed to attend. It’s probably worth explaining why I went, so a) I can give you guys and excuse but b) conference organisers can see what people like me are looking for in a conference.

QCon London 2012

I’m late with my write-up of QCon, and what’s worse, it will be partial - “sadly” I was in Lanzarote on a training week with the running club from the Thursday (8th) so I missed most of it.  A sacrifice I had to make for 7 days in the sunshine…. Firstly, me me meI presented the talk I previewed at Skillsmatter the previous week, something I was calling the User’s Guide to the Disruptor, but actually turned out to be how-can-Trish-fill-95-slides-with-pictures-and-finish-in-under-40-minutes.

Upcoming speaking events

In theory, I am busy writing material for my upcoming speaking events, rather than writing terribly illuminating posts on my blog (see what I did there?).  In actuality I am being lazy and have pretty much taken January off for a recharge. In the spirit of doing something which ticks both the event-speaking and blogging boxes, this is a quick update on the conferences I’m confirmed for so far.  Put the following dates in your diary - these are my first international solo speaking events: 7th March - QCon London - Concurrent Programming Using The Disruptor (sadly I can’t stay for the whole conference as it clashes with the only holiday I had booked for 2012).

Video: Why we shouldn't target women

If you have a Parleys subscription, you can watch the whole “Why we shouldn’t target women” panel from Devoxx 2011 a month or so ago.  Watch me attempt to monopolise the whole panel as if it was my idea or something…

Video of our JAX London session

At JAX London Mike and I presented “Understanding the Disruptor - A Beginner’s Guide to Hardcore Concurrency”. This is the session we initially previewed to the London Java Community a few weeks earlier. The content is the same, but the feel of the presentation was quite different to us - the venue for the LJC event was more intimate, and it was easier to interact with the audience. At JAX, we were up on stage, which was pretty cool actually, but meant that it felt more like a lecture and it was less easy to connect with the audience.

London Java Community Open Conference

Saturday was, hopefully, my last conference of the year.  My lucky readers should start to see some posts which are not simply me gushing about another opportunity to hang out with awesome people and learn about interesting “stuff”. Who wants to propose a session?In many ways the London Java Community Open Conference was my favourite one so far, and not just because it’s near home and I helped to organise it.

Why We Shouldn't Target Women

I’m back from Devoxx, having had lots of food for thought.  In particular, my panel on Why We Shouldn’t Target Women generated a lot of discussion and I’m still trying to process it all. Martijn Verburg; Regina ten Bruggencate; Trisha Gee; Antonio Goncalves; Claude Falguière; Kim Ross The panel went really well, we got decent interaction from the audience, and of course my fellow panel members were awesome.  I managed to restrain myself from using the opportunity as my own personal soap box and allowed other people to speak occasionally.

Devoxx: The story so far

Stephan wearing the Brazilian flag at the opening keynoteEuropean conferences are different (and cool) because you get to hear even more languages spoken than you usually do in London (apparently the most diverse city in the world for spoken languages).  I think the idea of a Paris Devoxx with 75% of the talks in French is brilliant - I’m always banging on about diversity, we shouldn’t expect developers to learn in English only.Really great to meet up with some of the people I met at Java One and am starting to feel more a part of the global community.Seems to me there are slightly more women here than at the other conferences I’ve been to, and not just because Regina and I pulled together four women for a panel on women technologists.

JAX London - I learn stuff and meet people

A couple of weeks ago, I was at JAX London along with a number of the London Java Community regulars (Martijn/Ben/John/Sandro/Simon/Zoe I’m looking at you….) My purpose for attending was largely to present the Hardcore Concurrency for Beginners talk that Mike and I debuted at an LJC event a few weeks back. Almost as important was catching up with the aforementioned LJCers and meeting with as many people as would talk to me.

A NYSE Product Manager and an LMAX Developer walk into a low latency trading seminar...

“What… exactly… were you guys looking to get out of today’s event? Because…” “Because we’re girls?” “Um… yes…” Kim impetuously opts for The Truth: “We’re here to meet men.” Our interrogator looks round dubiously. “No, really, why are you here?” Phew.  My reputation is intact1 Kim eloquently describes what her situation is as Product Manager and the criteria she’s measuring third party products against.  I explain how LMAX aims to be the fastest retail exchange in the world, and therefore low latency is a tiny bit important to us.

More videos from Java One 2011

It must be time for me to move on from talking about Java One, it has dominated my blog of late.  But also I want to talk about JAX London from this week. But before I move on, it’s probably worth rounding off with the last two resources from the conference. 1) Martin Thompson and I are interviewed about the Disruptor winning the Duke Award (we come in halfway through): 2) I’m interviewed by Duchess about life, the universe and everything (well, the London Java Community, the JCP, the LMAX Disruptor and Duke Award, and women programmers).

On The Similarities Between Girls And Aliens

I discovered, through the power of the search words that lead to my blog, that there was an incident at JavaOne that once again opens the can of worms that is Sexism In IT. This Makes Me Sad.  I had a really positive experience at JavaOne.  In fact, I would say it was the one conference I’ve been to in the last 12 months where I felt like my gender wasn’t a problem - I even got away with wearing hotpants (tweed is business-casual, right??) without being mistaken for anything other than a developer.

JavaOne 2011: Roundup

Having been back in London for a few days I’ve had some time to digest the madness that was last week. My lasting impression of JavaOne is almost entirely positive.  Granted, it was my first major conference, so maybe I’m just not jaded yet.  But let me tell you what I loved about it (yes, I did cover some of these in my last post): First and foremost, the people.  I don’t remember meeting a single grumpy person.

JavaOne: Initial Observations

So I’ve been at JavaOne for the better part of three days, it’s time to record some of my observations so far: The wireless access is rubbish.<Gross generalisation> technical people are not natural public speakers.  Makes me feel better about the presentations I’m going to be giving (see A Beginner’s Guide to Hardcore Concurrency).The sessions are less useful than getting out and chatting.  I’ve had a really excellent time, I’ve met: people from other Java User Groups; the Duchess girls; other Duke Award winners; the Azul guys; guys (well, girls) from O’Reilly books; JCP members and many random and awesome people.Everyone thinks that Large is an acceptable default t-shirt size (it’s not).

JavaOne 2011

So, I’m off to JavaOne next week! This is an unexpected and very pleasant surprise.  I’ll be there with Martin (of the Disruptor fame), and Martijn (that’s not going to get confusing at all).  Martin will be talking about the Disruptor on Thursday, and Martijn is busy talking about… everything.  Most importantly for the LJC he’s representing us in our shiny new JCP Executive Committee role. I’m really looking forward to meeting pretty much anyone and everyone who’ll talk to me.

STAC London Summit

On Wednesday I tagged along to the STAC London Summit to provide backup for Mike, who was on the “The Future of Messaging Middleware” panel. The panel consisted of two messaging providers, one hardware (Solace Systems) and one software (29West/Informatica), and two “users”, Citihub and LMAX.    Obviously both providers were arguing that theirs was the best solution. But what I found interesting is that I came away with the impression that everyone was really on the same side - everyone wants to use or to provide the best system, but there are different approaches.

TradeTech 2011 - Not like a developer conference

I attended TradeTech last week, an annual event about Equities and Derivatives trading. I assumed from the title that there would be a reasonable focus on technology, but I found it was more “Trade” and less “Tech”. The fascinating thing to me was how different this is from the sorts of technology conferences I’ve been to. For example, I popped into JAX this week (albeit in the evening for drinks). At technology conferences (<gross-generalisation>) people tend to subscribe to a variety of dress codes and fashion clans, usually from jeans through the range of business casual, including your fair share of goths and alternatives.

FogBugs and Kiln World Tour

Last Thursday I was fortunate enough to get a place on the FogBugz and Kiln World Tour.  I booked it before I moved jobs, and I’ll be honest I had no real interest in the software.  I’ve been reading Joel’s books and blogs since my friend Brent bought me Joel on Software and made me read it (he had the foresight to know I’d want to hang on to his copy if he’d lent it to me!).

Lean Software and Systems Conference 2010 (Bletchley Park)

This is just a summary of the points I took from the Lean conference at Bletchley.  They all need expanding, this is just the stuff that struck me that I want to record. A Kanban Multiverse – Karl Scotland Points from his talk Meaning = visualise; interact; persistKanban provides the translation between communitiesRemove columns from the Kanban board - no more chucking things over the wall to peopleFlip charts for design modelsDots on cards for every day in dev, crosses for every day in testExploration of UI is part of the cardIdeas applicable for my project Add broken acceptance tests to the Kanban Board?Start doing task breakdowns againAdd issues and impediments to Kanban board?Mingle should be updated to reflect the Kanban, at the moment the states are incorrect Converting a Scrum Team to Kanban - Mattias SkarinPoints from his talk Moved from releases per iterations to releases per weekShifted motivation from delivering at end of iteration towards delivering qualityEstablish release cadence and team rhythmRoot cause analysis to find problems and target themRemoved the need for estimatesIdeas applicable for my project Shift to focus on release cadence from iterations?