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InfoQ Homepage Articles Key Takeaway Points and Lessons Learned from QCon San Francisco 2016

Key Takeaway Points and Lessons Learned from QCon San Francisco 2016

Early in November around 1,500 attendees descended on the Hyatt Regency in San Francisco for the tenth annual QCon in the city and the biggest QCon we’ve held in the US.

QCon SF attendees - software engineers, architects, and project managers from a wide range of industries including some prominent Bay-area companies - attended 92 technical sessions across 6 concurrent tracks, 32 in-depth workshops, facilitated open spaces and, as at all English language QCons, had near instant access to all filmed presentations from the event on InfoQ.

The first day saw a keynote from Amber Case, Fellow at Harvard University’s Berkman Klein Center and writer of "An Illustrated Dictionary of Cyborg Anthropology", talking about "The History and Future of Wearable Computing and Virtual Experience." Michael Lopp, VP of Engineering @Slack, opened day 2 and Neha Narkhede, Co-Creator Apache Kafka and Co-founder and CTO at Confluent, gave a talk called "ETL Is Dead, Long-live Streams" on day 3.

Some members of InfoQ's team of practioner-editors were present and wrote a number of posts about the event. But for this article we've summarized the key takeaways and highlights as blogged and tweeted by attendees. Over the course of the next 5 months, InfoQ will be publishing most of the conference sessions online.


ETL Is Dead; Long-live Streams

by Neha Narkhede

Twitter feedback on this keynote included:

@shanehastie: #qconsf @nehanarkhede changes: single server databases being replaced by distributed, different types of data, need for live data

@shanehastie: #qconsf @nehanarkhede moving towards a clean architecture using streams

@shanehastie: #qconsf @nehanarkhede The hard trade offs of data transformation choices

@charleshumble: ETL and EAI - either scalable or real-time but not both. @nehanarkhede #qconsf

@shanehastie: #qconsf @nehanarkhede New needs for ETL: high volume & high diversity data, real time

@shanehastie: #qconsf @nehanarkhede data architecture needs to be forward compatible- the ability to add more applications that process differently

@philip_pfo: Event-centric thinking is a fundamental shift in how modern data archs should be designed. (@nehanarkhede #QconSF)

@shanehastie: #qconsf @nehanarkhede What forward compatibility really means

@shanehastie: #qconsf @nehanarkhede What a modern streaming data integration solution needs

The History and Future of Wearable Computing and Virtual Experience

by Amber Case

Shane Hastie attended this keynote:

Amber Case … spoke about the history and current state of virtual reality interfaces, the challenges faced by augmented reality and how these can be overcome as people become more comfortable with the advances in technology. 

She started her talk examining the current state of Virtual Reality (VR) technology and lamented the fact that almost every demonstration of VR has people ride a virtual roller-coaster - an experience almost guaranteed to make the wearer feel ill.  She then showed examples of various VR applications including giant hamster balls, which are also very likely to make the operator feel ill.

She gave some very specific advice for VR developers on how to overcome many of the issues inherent in the current implementation:

  • Allow limited movement
  • Restrict to a small space
  • Add "teleportation" for rapidly changing the environment…

She then discussed the challenges of Augmented Reality (AR) and why Google Glass was not the resounding success the originators thought it would be.  Specific challenges that need to be overcome before Augmented Reality can become a successful technology include:

  • Bandwidth - AR needs a constant, high-bandwidth connection
  • Image recognition - this is currently not great in real-time
  • Objects and programming interfaces - these are being built and will come from the VR implementations

A very important consideration for AR adoption is the need for technology to be respectful of social norms.  To be successful, an innovation needs to build on products which are already socially acceptable - if the jump is too far the innovation will probably be rejected in the marketplace….

She urged the audience to treat VR as a playground and use it to grow and learn.

Twitter feedback on this keynote included:

@freire_da_silva: the present of #VR is job simulation. you can train to be a gas station clerk safe from your living room. #QconSF

@charleshumble: Love Steve Mann’s concept of Diminished reality; filter out stuff you don’t want to see eg replace a billboard ad with your msgs. #QconSF

@shanehastie: #QconSF @caseorganic Technology should be respectful of social norms.

@shanehastie: #QconSF @caseorganic to be successful an innovation needs to build on previous socially acceptable products

@charleshumble: To get started try the SteamVR Unity Toolkit - VRTK - @caseorganic #QconSF

@shanehastie: #QconSF @caseorganic think of your VR environment as a playground and grow with it

The Second Act

by Michael Lopp

Shane Hastie attended this keynote:

Michael Lopp … explored what cultural changes are necessary when growing an organization from building one product to building a business that builds products.

He started by stating that the soft skills are by far the hardest aspects of software engineering - it's about getting people to collaborate effectively together to achieve great things.  

He described how organization culture grows in tiny steps as the business changes.  When the business is a single person then there is no visible decision making protocol and "how things get done" is totally invisible.  As soon as there is even one more person involved then decision making becomes a matter of communication and this creates the very first piece of culture "the way we do things here" - if the decision was made using consensus then that will become the norm going forward, if there is a power-play then that will become the norm in the future as more people are added….

He described how organizations grow, from two people to 30 to 300 and at each step in the growth the culture is steadily being built, and you get to a point where there are two groups, the Old Guard and the New Guard.  These groups will have different perspectives on how the place should run.  The Old Guard has come up with little structure, informal communications and little documentation.  The New Guard is trying to bring in more structure to cope with the growth because the informal channels may no longer be the right ones for the environment.  There is more communication friction, a more structured org-chart and learning can no longer happen through osmosis. …

As the company grows the definition of winning needs to change - initially it is about building a product that is successful in the marketplace.  This needs to change to becoming an organization that builds successful products.  This is a different mindset and needs new ways of thinking….

He ended by challenging the audience to identify the one aspect of their culture that must change. It may be something that you love, or hate, but it needs to change.

Twitter feedback on this keynote included:

@shanehastie: #QconSF @rands The soft skills are the hard and interesting aspects of software engineering

@shanehastie: #QconSF @rands when you stop learning about how the rules are evolving you quickly become irrelevant

@freire_da_silva: get bored. stay relevant. @rands at #QConSf

@rcb4m: #qconsf the things that drive you allow you to play again Michael Loop Keynote @Qconsf

@freire_da_silva: after dark made millions of dollars from this screensaver. @rands: welcome to winning! #QconSF

@shanehastie: #QconSF @rands The confusing omnipresent force Naidu organizations which doesn't believe the new and exciting can exist

@shanehastie: #QconSF @rands The first meeting creates the first small piece of culture - how the decision is made becomes a foundation for the future

@robertharrop: Culture: it's like the Force but it's real #QconSF

@freire_da_silva: cultural values are maintained through stories, as companies grow 300+ people stories become myths and old guard and new guard clash #QconSF

@shanehastie: #QconSF @rands The New Guard bring new ways of doing things and they schedule meetings

@shanehastie: #QconSF @rands Old guard - New guard. The OG embodies the initial values of the company, when something feels wrong a value is challenged

@shanehastie: #QconSF @rands Politics- local optimization at the expect of global synergy. Gaps get filled with the worst possible assumptions

@shanehastie: #QconSF @rands The culture you need at 30 vs 300 vs 3000 is totally different

@shanehastie: #QconSF @rands Winning: building a company that is capable of building and sustaining a product in the market

@michellebrush: The old guard knows the team needs to grow. They hire the new guard to change things so they can. Then they don't let them. @rands #QconSF

@shanehastie: #QconSF @rands Prime resistance for moving into 2nd act. Fear of change.

@shanehastie: #QconSF @rands The more perspectives that are sitting at the table the better the decisions will be.

@awiedmer: For a second act you need a dictator. A benevolent dictator whom you trust to drive you to the next act. #QconSF

@shanehastie: #QconSF @rands Change the game before the competition gets thee. You're building an organism that can make new products.

@suthen: Every company needs a dictator, pref a friendly one. You need someone to hold the vision and direction #qconsf…

@VWoodin: Process is documented culture. It MUST be able to defend itself. #keynote #qconsf

@shanehastie: #QconSF @rands leadership attitude needed today - be unfailingly kind.

Tracks and Talks

Architectures You've Always Wondered About

How Slack Works

by Keith Adams

Twitter feedback on this session included:

@dtunkelang: Conservative technical taste vs bleeding edge: @keithmadams says that most of Slack's supporting technologies are over 10 years old. #QConSF

@philip_pfo: Slack arch ideals - proven tech, sometimes write code, minimalism. @keithmadams #QconSF

@dtunkelang: Slack not just a pivot from massively multiplayer online game co; its distributed architecture is similar to that of an online game. #QConSF

@jmfabe: Didn't know that as more people add emojis to slack, it becomes a quadratic problem. #QconSF

Scaling Dropbox

by Preslav Le

Twitter feedback on this session included:

@philip_pfo: Success comes after many years of painful learnings - so true! (@preslavl Scaling Dropbox #QconSF talk)

@idajantis: Isolation and preventing cascading failures is super important indeed. Great talk on scaling Dropbox infrastructure…

Scaling Instagram Infrastructure

by Lisa Guo

Twitter feedback on this session included:

@philip_pfo: Scale up: "don't count the servers, make the servers count". Wisdom from Lisa Guo's Instagram scaling #QconSF talk

@philip_pfo: Scaling dev teams is as important as scaling up and out. Key dimensions instagram looked at to scale dev (from Lisa…

@hturksoy: What!? Instagram doesn't use branching and goes directly to master? And 50-60 ships per day? I need to digest that first ;) #qconsf

@nerdneha: Instagram has impressive numbers! Lisa Guo on scaling @instagram infrastructure. #qconsf

Culture as a Differentiator

Enabling Awesome Engineering Teams

by Alexandre Freire Kawakami

Twitter feedback on this session included:

@pellegrino: What you need is a culture that support the practices @freire_da_silva about agile methodologies #QconSF

@nerdneha: Bare bones basics of a team by @freire_da_silva #QconSF

@nerdneha: Distributed teams? One team meets in a virtual environment. Collocation AND distributed teams!! @freire_da_silva…

Further Together: Curated Pairing Culture @Pivotal

by Neha Batra

Twitter feedback on this session included:

@freire_da_silva: #TDD is Pairadise for #pairprogramming! loved it @nerdneha thank you #QconSF

@freire_da_silva: practices supporting #furtherpairingtogether @pivotal: TDD, Daily Retrospectives, Set Schedule, INVEST Stories and No Meetings!! #QconSF

@philip_pfo: 8 keys for successful pairing (from @nerdneha #QconSF #furtherpairingtogether)

@freire_da_silva: what you'll need for remote pair programming by @nerdneha #QconSF

Next Gen Startup Cultures: Innovating as You Grow

by Jim Plush

Twitter feedback on this session included:

@shanehastie: #QconSF @jimplush Culture is how business gets done. What happens when no one is looking.

@philip_pfo: Culture shouldn't just happen to you - you are the influencer, be more than a passenger. @jimplush #QConSF

@charleshumble: Company culture is the by-product of consistent behavior. What you do always wins against what you intend to do. #QconSF @jimplush

@shanehastie: #QconSF @jimplush Contributors to poor culture

@freire_da_silva: .@CrowdStrike was serious about culture from startup. They had a Culture Team! @jimplush at #QconSF

@TestDetective: 'If you hire smart people, you have to let them fail, learn and grow - not micromanage them' #QconSF

@ThomasBetts: People don't leave companies, they leave managers. - @JimPlush #QConSf

@shanehastie: #QconSF @jimplush Practices. Skip level 1 on 1's. Multiple sign offs on promotions. Mngrs don't control tasks.

@charleshumble: Want to increase innovation? Lower the cost of failure.#QconSF @jimplush

@charleshumble: Innovation != invention. Apple didn’t invent the mouse. Docker didn't invent containers. #QconSF @jimplush

@charleshumble: Innovation is about how fast you can put something out, learn from it, and improve it.#QconSF @jimplush

@shanehastie: #QconSF @jimplush things to lower the cost of failure.

@philip_pfo: Engineers don't hate meetings, they hate _bad_ meetings. @jimplush #QConSF

@charleshumble: Meetings are a symptom of a bad organization. The fewer meetings the better. #QconSF @jimplush

@charleshumble: No meeting Thursday - there are no internal meetings - what kind of company can’t give you 8 hours to work.#QconSF @jimplush

@charleshumble: Creativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is doing new things.#QconSF @jimplush

@shanehastie: #QconSF @jimplush Think week - total autonomy to do something worth doing

@freire_da_silva: .@jimplush we give autonomous, cross functional, end to end teams projects and context. but no dates! #QconSF

@charleshumble: As an engineer I know that *other* engineers are really bad at estimating. #QconSF @jimplush

@shanehastie: #QconSF @jimplush No fixed dates rather rough timelines with confidence levels. Team has autonomy on what, how, when. Teams not interrupted

@charleshumble: The urge to excel and the urge to lead aren’t the same. Sometimes I think they may be opposites.#QconSF @jimplush

@shanehastie: #QconSF @jimplush don't need to be a manager to advance - technical career path

@charleshumble: The only thing worse than training employees and loosing them is not training them and keeping them#QconSF @jimplush

@shanehastie: #QconSF @jimplush People growth - unlimited book budget, learn on hours, budget for training & conferences, opportunity across projects

@freire_da_silva: want excellence. give people time to learn on the job! @jimplush #QconSF

@charleshumble: Onboarding != giving someone a laptop and saying “go and be productive.”#QconSF @jimplush

@shanehastie: #QconSF @jimplush Grading culture. Surveys, long timers view, exit surveys, retention comparisons, referral rates

@shanehastie: #QconSF @jimplush Takeaways.

@shanehastie: #QconSF @jimplush Culture is not a passive sport - challenge what's not working and fix it.

@shanehastie: #QconSF @jimplush "The next time your boss complains about you playing XBox tell him you're busy building culture"

Preventing Office Politics @Facebook

by Nam Nguyen

Twitter feedback on this session included:

@VWoodin: Create an environment where people are empowered to create impact #facebook #culture #qconsf

@freire_da_silva: why are you facebooking all the time? turns out @facebook employees use facebook to work! Nam Nguyen at #QconSF

@freire_da_silva: culture at @facebook values being open. mark and execs hold a weekly Q&A open to all employees! (they copied this from @google) #QconSF

@freire_da_silva: this is how @facebook removes bias in hiring #QconSF

@freire_da_silva: 360 reviews can be unfair! @facebook prevents manager bias by automatically sharing all feedback. Promotions are hazardous beware. #QConSF

What Google Learned About Creating Effective Teams

by Matt Sakaguchi

Twitter feedback on this session included:

@freire_da_silva: 5 dynamics excellent teams at @google had #QconSF @matt_sakaguchi

@freire_da_silva: psychological safe sales teams beat their sales numbers by +17% @google #QconSF by @matt_sakaguchi

@wesreisz: @matt_sakaguchi We need to build championship teams not all-star team #QConSF

@johnscattergood: #QconSF Psychological safety defined

@freire_da_silva: want to establish trust and psychological safety for your team? @matt_sakaguchi shared he has stage 4 cancer with his team @google #QconSF

@michellebrush: As a leader, model being vulnerable and fallible at work.- @matt_sakaguchi #QConSF

@nerdneha: Being inclusive takes a lot of work but the people on your team will appreciate you for doing it. To start: TRY @matt_sakaguchi #QconSF

@nerdneha: Admit your own fallibility: Once a quarter, we have a team meeting where the first 1/2 is just about epic failures - @matt_sakaguchi #QconSF

@nerdneha: Create an environment where people feel safe. Create an environment where they can bring their whole self into work @matt_sakaguchi #QconSF

@thegoosie: The goal is to create psychological safe teams. Great presentation by @matt_sakaguchi at #QconSF

@wesreisz: @matt_sakaguchi Serve the needs of your people and they will follow you anywhere. #QConSF #lesdership

@freire_da_silva: tip to give voice to teams: meyers-briggs and true colors personality tests to better communicate and serve them @matt_sakaguchi #QconSF

Distributed Systems War Stories

Stranger Things: The Forces That Disrupt Netflix

by Haley Tucker

Twitter feedback on this session included:

@freire_da_silva: interesting how @netflix used a data canary to guarantee services downstream a metadata provider service won't fail #QconSF

@freire_da_silva: initialization of logging service loaded 11G of unneeded data. but when testing failure that init was disabled! lessons @hwilson1204 #QconSF

@freire_da_silva: 3 progressively enhanced fallback strategies from @hwilson1204 from @netflix: static, cached, reduced service. nice…

@freire_da_silva: Key takeaways from lessons learned when distributed systems #fail at @netflix by @hwilson1204 #QconSF

Evolving DevOps

99.99% Availability Via Smart Real-time Alerting

by Franziska Bell

Twitter feedback on this session included:

@freire_da_silva: .@uber writes 2M telemetry values/sec + 1k queries/sec growing 25%/month. their OSS stack burned down and so had to build their own. #QconSF

@freire_da_silva: if your system needs 99.99% availability then your monitoring system better be available at 99.999%. great point from @uber #QconSF

Incident Management at the Edge

by Lisa Phillips

Twitter feedback on this session included:

@johnscattergood: #QconSF Key traits of an incident leader

@johnscattergood: #QconSF The risks of incident response "volunteers"

@johnscattergood: #QconSF It's a waste if you don't learn from production incidents

Java: Are You Ready for This?

Java (SE) State of the Union

by Gil Tene

Twitter feedback on this session included:

@varzof: Java 9 is right around the corner... the corner keeps getting just a little further away. - @giltene #QconSF

@drmaas: Perl, ruby, Python, go all tend to replace each other, the JVM endures and grows in popularity #QconSF

@wesreisz: I have yet to see the thing that is going to replace Java. Perl was going to replace Java. Then Ruby, then Go. None…

Modern CS in the Real World

Applying Failure Testing Research @Netflix

by Peter Alvaro & Kolton Andrus

Twitter feedback on this session included:

@nerdneha: Experimenting with failures by breaking pieces and seeing where the redundancies lie @netflix - @KoltonAndrus @palvaro #QconSF

@awiedmer: #QconSF Migration and upgrades are much easier if you are storing your data in s3 instead of hdfs #netflix

@awiedmer: #QconSF #netflix performance trade-offs from using s3 as a storage layer

Next Generation Microservices

Serverless Meets SaaS: The Ultimate Match

by Tod Golding

Twitter feedback on this session included:

@freire_da_silva: Serverless makes it easier for teams to be #agile: test and deploy and fault tolerance at the function granularity! @tod_golding at #QConSf

@freire_da_silva: #serverless #saas if you weren't agile before, you will be now! @tod_golding #QconSF

Keep Calm and Carry On: Scaling Your Org

by Charity Majors

Twitter feedback on this session included:

@philip_pfo: The hard(est) problems are people problems. Humans can be agents of chaos. @mipsytipsy #QconSF

@charleshumble: .@mipsytipsy recommending "The Hard Thing About Hard Things" #QconSF

@charleshumble: “The most important thing you can do as a leader is to make sure everyone is on the same page; like forming a cult” @mipsytipsy #qconsf

@robertharrop: Pair responsibility with empowerment @mipsytipsy #QconSF

@charleshumble: “Don’t praise people for doing the wrong thing they’ll do more of that;for eg don’t praise people for working all night”@mipsytipsy #qconsf

@charleshumble: “Communication channels include things like deploys, on-call, pull requests, arch reviews, observability.” @mipsytipsy #qconsf

@ThomasBetts: On Call is like a weaponized version of deploys.- @mipsytipsy #qconsf

@charleshumble: “Put the humans first, and the mission a close second. Even when it is hard for you personally." @mipsytipsy #qconsf

@charleshumble: Engineers should be on call for their own services, but it cannot be hell. Guard your peoples time and sleep. @mipsytipsy #qconsf

@charleshumble: Organizational unit tests @mipsytipsy #qconsf

What Comes After Microservices?

by Matt Ranney

Twitter feedback on this session included:

@freire_da_silva: almost 2000 microservices running at @Uber that's something like 0.7 per engineer!!! #QconSF

@freire_da_silva: 14306 repos in @Uber's git as of October 2016. wow. #QconSF

@freire_da_silva: want to survive with Microservices? #protip having 1M should be as easy as 1k or 10. lessons from @Uber #QconSF

@TestDetective: #QconSF: Scale of the microservices architecture at #Uber

@robertharrop: Devs should be able to safely test with real production data @mranney #QconSF

@freire_da_silva: .@Uber doesn't version their #microservices. changes have to be backward compatible! #QconSF

Next Generation Web Standards, Frameworks, and Techniques

Building Robust Web Applications with RxJS

Ben Centra attended this session:

Handling many async data streams is a fairly common use case in JavaScript - chat apps, dashboards, etc. You could implement such systems with straight AJAX or web sockets, but this gets tricky, fast. There’s already a proposed Observable object to facilitate reactive programming in native JavaScript. An Observable is a wrapper around an async data source - timeouts, DOM events, network requests - that you can “subscribe” to and handle data as it comes in….

While the spec makes its way through committee, RxJS provides an Observable implementation you can use today. The upcoming version 5 of RxJS is a complete rewrite with better performance, more modularity, and easier debugging.

The Past, Present, and Future of JavaScript

by Jay PhelpsStefan Penner & Jafar Husain

Paul Krill attended this session:

Stefan Penner and Jafar Husain elaborated on what they see potentially happening with JavaScript. Penner and Husain are both insiders key to the ECMAScript specification process…

Asked how TypeScript … affects JavaScript development, Penner … said he was excited about it, but the committee is nervous about the magnitude of adding a type system to JavaScript itself. "It's very easy to get this wrong," he noted. The committee, though, does acknowledge the value of such an endeavor, and it could possibly happen.

Husain … also expressed reservations, saying that "if you make mistakes in your type system, you've hobbled the web." The committee is being very cautious because of the complications involved….

They are considering multithreading as well, with a proposal afoot for a shared array buffer with low-level primitives to exist between multiple threads, Penner said. There's also a proposal to do parallelism with web workers, for web content to run scripts in background threads, but there are complications with this. Husain noted that while parallelism would increase performance by leveraging multicore processors, it's "a very complicated problem," like a type system.

Long-planned async capabilities are on the drawing board, too. Husain offered an estimated timeframe of 2018, but he wasn't certain when it might arrive. "You can just say, 'An asynchronous workflow, do this, do that, do this.' It's asynchronous, but you don't have to register a callback," he said. The code looks like synchronous code but actually runs asynchronously.

The Strengths of Ember, Angular & React Explored

by Lee ByronRob Wormald & Taras Mankovski

Twitter feedback on this session included:

@nerdneha: React is only used on fb for components that need to be dynamic, ex: search, comments, notifications, chat, sports scores -- @leeb #QconSF

@nerdneha: React takeaways by @leeb #QconSF

Webpack: The One Build Step to Rule Them All

by Sean Larkin

Ben Centra attended this session:

Webpack is a popular module bundler for all types of files - JS, CSS, images, anything really - with a rich plugin ecosystem. It’s already a great part of JavaScript build tooling, and it’s getting even better. Webpack 2 is coming soon that will include many helpful features: native ES2015 module syntax (no transpiling to CommonJS/AMD first); tree shaking and other optimization tools; code splitting for better HTTP/2 performance; and more.

Webpack is becoming the default module bundler for Angular 2, React, Laravel, and other frameworks, a clear indication of its utility. It is certainly worth your consideration as a primary build tool for new JavaScript projects.

Optimize You

Is Managing Men & Women Really That Different?

by Mitch Shepard

Susan McIntosh attended this session:

Mitch Shepard … identified reasons why there are fewer women in leadership roles and on boards in the IT community, why this can be detrimental to the organizations, and how to improve the situation.

Shepard referenced data which show that “innovation and creativity are inextricably linked to diversity of thought,” and, diversity of thought comes from having a variety of differences in the workforce, including gender.  When there are three or more women on a company’s board, that company benefits financially from this diversity, shown through a higher return on sales, higher return on invested capital, and higher total return to shareholders, just a few of 39 reasons why diversity matters that Shepard referenced. While in most organizations, entry level positions are shared evenly between men and women, a McKinsey report Shepard cites shows that the percentage of women in mid-level and senior-level management drops significantly, and that women make up only 19 and 4% of board member and CEO positions, respectively.

There is wide variation between the competence and confidence levels that women feel compared with men when applying for promotions. Men will commonly feel confident enough to apply for a position when they meet about 60% of the required skills on the job description, while women will not have the confidence to apply for a position unless they meet 100% of the skills.

Shepard then moved on to talk about what to do with this information. … Practices like acknowledging women’s contributions, ensuring that there is space for voices that are less likely to interrupt, repeating the ideas that women suggest, and serving as a mentor or sponsor can be very useful in encouraging individual women to make the transition to leadership.

Twitter feedback on this session included:

@nerdneha: My goal is for your to feel afflicted @mitchlshepard preparing us "Being Inclusive: Is managing men v. women that different?" #qconsf

@nerdneha: How close are you to being your authentic self? @mitchlshepard found men didn't understand the question whereas women knew exactly #qconsf

@nerdneha: Men are more cautious to give feedback to women than to men -- they deserve the direct feedback. take the risk -- @mitchlshepard #qconsf

@shanehastie: #QconSF @WiRLSummit The stats - the narrowing pipeline

@shanehastie: #QconSF @WiRLSummit In software development the entry level is 14-19% women starting and close to zero at CXX level.

@shanehastie: #QconSF @WiRLSummit the leadership skills needed in the workplace today are those that women naturally exhibit

@nerdneha: We don't want to unconsciously expect women to be like male counterparts. Ask if they can play by the same rules - @mitchlshepard #QconSF

@shanehastie: #QconSF @WiRLSummit Value the differences and leverage the differences. Images brain at rest.

@kcasella: The #1 reason women leave their jobs is that they don't feel valued at work for their strengths @mitchlshepard #qconsf @QConSF

@shanehastie: #QconSF @WiRLSummit Practical advice on how you can make a difference.

@nerdneha: The #1 reason why women leave the workplace is because they don't feel valued. This is only revealed in confidence - @mitchlshepard #qconsf

@nerdneha: @mitchlshepard What can you do?1. don't interrupt2. notice & thank3. make room for her voice4. recognize & call out her impact#qconsf

@nerdneha: @mitchlshepard if a woman made a difference on something, TELL THEM! Seriously though, people can never hear it enough #qconsf

@shanehastie: #QconSF @WiRLSummit bias in performance reviews.

@shanehastie: #QconSF @WiRLSummit Be an ally and sponsor

@shanehastie: #QconSF @WiRLSummit Encourage her - it's not necessary to wait until you're fully ready

@nerdneha: Who are the top women that you want to keep? If they aren't asking for mentorship, do your job & make it happen - @mitchlshepard #qconsf

@shanehastie: #QconSF @WiRLSummit some books worth reading

@shanehastie: #QconSF @WiRLSummit brain science differences

@shanehastie: #QconSF @WiRLSummit "not strategic" means "you're not thinking in the same way that I am"

@shanehastie: #QconSF @WiRLSummit Go beyond gender diversity to gender intelligence

@kcasella: Gender Diversity = Counting Heads; Gender Intelligence = Making Heads Count @mitchlshepard #QconSF @QConSF

Maximizing Human Potential

by Vivienne Ming

Twitter feedback on this session included:

@freire_da_silva: .@neuraltheory product dev philosophy: give people a super power! she could sense her son's glucose levels in realtime w/ ggle glass #QconSF

@shanehastie: #QconSF @neuraltheory describing a product which predicts bipolar episodes 3+ weeks before the event

@shanehastie: #QconSF @neuraltheory "live a life of substance" - do something that makes a difference to other people

@shanehastie: #QconSF @neuraltheory 3 rules: #1 whatever you're doing right now, go all in.

@shanehastie: #QconSF @neuraltheory things that do predict success in programming. Emotive passion about something. Care about what you do.

@shanehastie: #QconSF @neuraltheory the more people like you in the decision making process the more likely you are to just follow the crowd.

@shanehastie: #QconSF @neuraltheory marshmallow experiment- we've taught kids by age 4 that there's not much point in waiting for gratification. Sad

@shanehastie: #qconsf @neuraltheory No skill or knowledge is robot-proof. Focus on the things that are truly uniquely human.

@shanehastie: #qconsf @neuraltheory Don't try to be a better parent, be a better person. Model the behaviour you want them to have.

The Art (and Science) of Compelling People

by Ronit Avni

Susan McIntosh attended this session:

Ronit Avni … presented at QCon on compelling people, identifying ways to connect to one's audience through warmth and skill, and how to provide a clear message by ensuring that the visual and vocal channels used to deliver the message don't detract from the actual message - the part that speakers spend so much time preparing.

Avni notes that, if there's tension between what an audience member is hearing and what they are seeing, studies have shown that focus on the verbal message is diffused; visual distractions can keep the audience from understanding the message. 

Additionally, according to Harvard and Princeton research, the combination of warmth and strength drive the amount of respect a person can engender when speaking to audiences. High strength (recognized skill and ability), and high warmth (relatability) make a person more respected. To ease this conflict, Avni recommends practicing the delivery of the speech or presentation so that the nonverbal align with the presentation's content. People presenting information put a lot of effort into the words themselves, but don't focus very much on the visual elements - how they appear to the audience - or to vocal distractions - speed, vocal ticks, volume, and tone, and even pauses. Practicing arm and hand placement, posture, vocal strength, and where to look within your audience all will reduce the risk of unintended vocal and visual messages interrupting the verbal message. …

Avni points out that a balanced posture, with arms in front and slightly raised (like you’re holding something between the size of a soccer ball and a beach ball) when gesturing, enhances strength and warmth. She notes that the head tilt often seen by reporters on the news reduces the sense of strength, so is not a recommended stance when speaking with authority. Gesturing helps gain credibility, but within reason. Avni notes that gestures must not detract from the message, but rather support it. 

Vocal strength and warmth, Avni says, can help emphasize the strength and warmth in the message. Using a "low, slow, and steady" voice helps emphasize points. Avni points out that one’s natural range should be used, with more time in the lower bounds of that range. Slow speed and low tone can be used to make a point and generate strength, but variation in tone and speed helps generate warmth. Ravni also notes that speakers should learn to "embrace the pause" - eliminate the vocal pauses that fill silence (ers, ums, uhs, oks), and let the silence stand on its own….s

Ultimately, Avni notes that the heart of public speaking is mindfulness, being aware of yourself, and your audience’s responses to you and the rest of the environment.

Twitter feedback on this session included:

@shanehastie: #QconSF @Ronit_Avni We are hard wired to believe and focus on the visual

@shanehastie: #QconSF @Ronit_Avni Two characteristics that people look for in compelling speakers: strength / warmth (relatabilit…

@shanehastie: #QconSF @Ronit_Avni women are biased against, as they increase in strength they are perceived as having less warmth.

@shanehastie: #QconSF @Ronit_Avni Babies (and adults) are hard wired to recognize a fake smile

@shanehastie: #QconSF @Ronit_Avni characteristics of a strong voice - low, slow & steady. Warm voice is varied.

@shanehastie: #QconSF @Ronit_Avni There are mechanics to the art of public speaking. You need to practice to get the mechanics right.

@shanehastie: #QconSF @Ronit_Avni Verbal channel 7%. Connect first, then lead.

@shanehastie: #QconSF @Ronit_Avni Create rapport and connection by telling stories

@shanehastie: #QconSF @Ronit_Avni We remember stories , not facts and figures

@shanehastie: #QconSF @Ronit_Avni hold the floor to project strength and warmth to build credibility and trust

@shanehastie: #QconSF @Ronit_Avni to create a connect even in a disagreement: agree, bridge, convince.

@shanehastie: #QconSF @Ronit_Avni be mindful about the practice of communicating effectively. Strength and warmth.

The Improviser's Code: Engineering Your Best Self

by Ted DesMaisons & Lisa Rowland

Twitter feedback on this session included:

@shanehastie: #QconSF @teddydmz Lisa Rowland Improv Life Hacks. Embrace failure. There is a boldness that comes about when we don't fear failure

@shanehastie: #QconSF @teddydmz Lisa Rowland Improv life hacks: Say yes. Find what you can say yes to: Yes, and...

@shanehastie: #QconSF @teddydmz Lisa Rowland "Yes, but" shuts down ideas, "yes, and" opens us up to new ideas. "What I like about that idea is..."

@shanehastie: #QconSF @teddydmz Lisa Rowland Improv life hack no 3: Share control.

@shanehastie: #QconSF @teddydmz Lisa Rowland- the skill of Improv builds trust and acceptance in a pair/group. The skill of connection & collaboration


Modern Web Security, Lazy but Mindful like a Fox

by Albert Yu

Twitter feedback on this session included:

@charleshumble: A security researcher was able to see the entire source code of Vine, its API keys and third party keys and secrets,@yukinying #QconSF

@charleshumble: We should assume that the things we build with be compromised, much as we assume it will fail@yukinying #QconSF

The Psychology of Security Automation

by Jason Chan

Alex Handy attended this session:

Chan said that development and security teams tend to be at odds. Developers want to go fast and break things, while security administrators generally want nothing to happen, anywhere. For the development team, movement is a good thing, but for the security team, success is silence.

Thus, integration between the two teams is a major key to success. The way Netflix approached this was to push security teams to integrate their tools into the existing developer workflows. They shunned the idea of adding a new console or dashboard, as it would be difficult to get developers onboard with using it.

The second major principle that helped the Netflix team was called Security++. This practice, said Chan, prioritized security efforts that would also improve the application from other sides. Thus, if work on a security bug would also yield a performance benefit or better stability for the application, it would be a priority for both teams.

Chan said that being transparent is also key for security teams. Developers need to know what is being automated, and why exactly something isn’t being accepted because of security reasons. This, coupled with an ultimate goal of reducing cognitive load on developers, combine to make security easier to implement across an organization, he said.

Twitter feedback on this session included:

@charleshumble: The engineers' view of security teams is like the bridge keeper in Monty Python asking arbitrary questions@chanjbs #qconsf

@charleshumble: For security - a good day when nothing bad happens. A good way to achieve this is to make sure nothing happens.@chanjbs #qconsf

@charleshumble: Ever had an outage caused by an SSL certificate expiry? You are in good company - Gmail, Azure… @chanjbs #qconsf

@charleshumble: Lemur - Netflix’s tool for SSL management - #qconsf

@charleshumble: “It is often easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission” - Grace Hopper quoted by @chanjbs #QconSF

@charleshumble: Repoman: Right-sizing AWS permissions. This is what the UI looks like. As you can see we’re not UX experts.…

@charleshumble: New term for me - ChatOps - bots (Slack, HipChat) for ops - engineering-native workflow. Rollie Pollie at Netflix @chanjbs #qconsf

@charleshumble: Application risk assessment typically involves a spreadsheet filled in once by a human who lies. @chanjbs #qconsf

@charleshumble: Security teams can and should leverage the high-velocity development ecosystem. @chanjbs #qconsf

Software Engineering Softskills

Build to Learn: Rapid Prototyping Methods

by Sara Bayless Da Costa

Twitter feedback on this session included:

@shanehastie: #QconSF  Prototyping helps prevent design disappointment down the line

@shanehastie: #QconSF Rapid prototyping is about learning quickly, the goal is not to impress your customers but to learn

@shanehastie: #QconSF Learn early

@shanehastie: #QconSF willingness to change is higher when cost of change is lower

@shanehastie: #QconSF Involve technical people in prototyping helps make better products. Break the barriers between design & dev

@shanehastie: #QconSF developers with UX skills are more valuable to their companies

@shanehastie: #QconSF Getting your prototype outside of the office to learn quickly

@shanehastie: #QconSF Prototyping gives you the data which will make the decisions for you. Data driven not gut driven

@shanehastie: #QconSF Prototyping mindset - fail forward fast. Scrappy, curious, risk takers, action bias…

@shanehastie: #QconSF Methods- paper prototype for imagine & test

@shanehastie: #QconSF pros & cons of paper prototype

@shanehastie: #QconSF Method: body storming good for imagine and sell. Act out the experience.

@shanehastie: #QconSF Body storming pros and cons

@shanehastie: #QconSF more tools - high fidelity.

@shanehastie: #QconSF Other tools...

@shanehastie: #QconSF pros and cons of tools.

@shanehastie: #QconSF Code is also a Prototyping tool. Pros & cons.

@shanehastie: #QconSF Prototyping don'ts

@shanehastie: #QconSF user testing tips

@shanehastie: #QconSF compliments are bad data

@shanehastie: #QconSF When doing user testing ask for a commitment in time, money or reputation


by John Willis

Twitter feedback on this session included:

@shanehastie: #QconSF @botchagalupe The anti-patterns of DevOps are the definitions of burnout

@freire_da_silva: from the State of DevOps survey cos that deploy more often (to prod, many times/day) are up to 100x more resilient @botchagalupe #QconSF

@shanehastie: #QconSF @botchagalupe correlation between culture aspects and successful organizations.

@shanehastie: #QconSF @botchagalupe The tools do not make you a healthy organization. Get people to collaborate and trust each other.

@philip_pfo: Technology choice doesn't make a great culture; it's the people and practices. #QconSF @botchagalupe

@shanehastie: #QconSF @botchagalupe Psychological Safety - this is the core to successful teams. (Ref Google)

@shanehastie: #QconSF @botchagalupe Demming figured this out 70 years ago

@freire_da_silva: Etsy does blameless postmortems and measured the "mean time to sleep" of their on-call engineers to detect and avoid burnout! #QconSF

@shanehastie: #QconSF @botchagalupe Burnout is as bad in high tech orgs as it is for firemen and police

@freire_da_silva: Why worry about avoiding #burnout in our industry? @botchagalupe: it's ultimately about saving lives. prevent young friend's suicide #QconSF

@nerdneha: Burnout is the canary in the goldmine - @botchagalupe #qconsfLagging indicators: health care costs, law suits, turnover, optics

@shanehastie: #QconSF @botchagalupe leading indicators of burnout

@shanehastie: #QconSF @botchagalupe Your high performing people are more likely to experience burnout.

@freire_da_silva: #Burnout: takes 6 months to get into it, 2 years to get out. @botchagalupe #QconSF

@shanehastie: #QconSF @botchagalupe real costs of burnout

@shanehastie: #QconSF @botchagalupe dimensions of burnout

@shanehastie: #QconSF @botchagalupe burnout in information security

@shanehastie: #QconSF @botchagalupe Chaos-monkey yourself to identify where you may be experiencing burnout

@shanehastie: #QconSF @botchagalupe Organization level - systems thinking, what is the mismatch between the company and the individual

@shanehastie: #QconSF @botchagalupe Companies need to be better at understanding the mismatch between their culture and the culture/values of employees

@shanehastie: #QconSF @botchagalupe We focus on the negative messages, despite a preponderance of positives

Social Coding for Effective Teams and Products

by Phil Haack

Twitter feedback on this session included:

@nerdneha: The case for startups needing EMs: It's really hard to give corrective feedback when you don't have engineering managers. - @haacked #QconSF

@nerdneha: When you're delivering feedback, ask them if it's a good time and address:Situation (context)BehaviorImpactNext Steps@haacked #QconSF

@freire_da_silva: soft skills are the hardest! have you ever learned how to deliver feedback? 1 situation 2 behavior 3 impact 4 next steps @haacked #QConSf

@freire_da_silva: what's the cost of a compliment? 0! feedback must include appreciation! @haacked #QConSf

@freire_da_silva: most powerful tool for managers: weekly 1-on-1s. @haacked channeling @managertools podcast #QconSF

@freire_da_silva: people almost never change without first feeling understood -Difficult Conversations book recommendation by @haacked #QconSF

@nerdneha: We're all the protagonists of our own stories - @haacked on coming to a common understanding with someone = empathizing first #QconSF

@nerdneha: Love this slide by @haacked on his insight on how to build trust: sit down with them and build a rapport #QconSF

@shawn_nielsen: Teams that enjoy the most psychological safety are the ones that are the most effective. @haacked #QconSF

@freire_da_silva: why care about diversity? it's a competitive advantage. @haacked sharing study at #QconSF

UX Reimagined

Designing Calm Technology

by Amber Case

Twitter feedback on this session included:

@shanehastie: #QconSF @caseorganic You don't need a fridge to remind you to buy milk. You don't want to be a system admin in your own home.

@shanehastie: #QconSF @caseorganic When the web connected service went down people didn't know if their animals were starving.

@shanehastie: #QconSF @caseorganic We live in an era of interruptive technology. Our devices interrupt us, and the service is frequently interrupted.

@shanehastie: #QconSF @caseorganic Network bandwidth needs to become as stable as electricity.

@shanehastie: #QconSF @caseorganic What does an invisible tool mean.

@shanehastie: #QconSF @caseorganic Principles for calm technology design. Don't demand your attention unless it is useful. Don't shout - nudge.

@shanehastie: #QconSF @caseorganic simple sensing and ambient information.

@shanehastie: #QconSF @caseorganic Allow people to act like people, don't make them behave like machines

@shanehastie: #QconSF @caseorganic Technology can communicate but it doesn't need to speak. Example dancing string at PARC

@shanehastie: #QconSF @caseorganic Another example - Roomba tones not voices.

@shanehastie: #QconSF @caseorganic Technology should respect social norms.

@shanehastie: #QconSF @caseorganic Google glass was a disturbing advancement, too much at once, not an incremental advance

@shanehastie: #QconSF @caseorganic The minimum tech needed to solve a problem.

@shanehastie: #QconSF @caseorganic Just enough technology to solve the problem. Examples.

@shanehastie: #QconSF @caseorganic Evolution of computing over time. Personal servers and local processing should be the future.

@shanehastie: #QconSF @caseorganic The scarce resource of the 21st century will be attention.

Design Guidelines for Conversational Interfaces

by Angie Terrell

Twitter feedback on this session included:

@charleshumble: Conversation interface - machine should not try to be human. The language should be direct and unambiguous. @Angie_Terrell #QconSF

@charleshumble: When there’s no graphical user interface to guide us, our memory becomes the UI.Luke Wroblewski quoted by @Angie_Terrell #QconSF

Intuition Engineering

by Casey Rosenthal

Twitter feedback on this session included:

@freire_da_silva: .@caseyrosenthal shares @netflix tool to visualize live infrastructure and detect and recover from errors! #QConSF

@shanehastie: #QconSF @caseyrosenthal Netflix is like a library, except they read the book for you and have people act them out so you don't have to read

@shanehastie: #QconSF @caseyrosenthal Netflix microservice architecture. Each microservice owned by a small team.

@shanehastie: #QconSF @caseyrosenthal Netflix optimizes for four key drivers. Finding the balance is important. Need to have a systems thinking view.

@shanehastie: #QconSF @caseyrosenthal Going beyond vision - what about having background sound that changes based on events

@shanehastie: #QconSF @caseyrosenthal showing @WardCunningham visualization of web traffic

@shanehastie: #QconSF @caseyrosenthal visualization allows systemic effects to be seen.

@shanehastie: #QconSF @caseyrosenthal Intuition Engineering is about making sense where the data volume is overwhelming

@shanehastie: #QconSF @caseyrosenthal Using The Beer Game to explain systems thinking.

@shanehastie: #qconsf @caseyrosenthal Using visualisation to show conditions without needing exact numbers. Human brain identifies "normal" quickly

@shanehastie: #QconSF @caseyrosenthal Intuition Engineering comes from systems thinking view of the overall Netflix environment. Metaphor of pain suit.

Taming Complexity with Object-oriented UX

by Sophia Voychehovski

Twitter feedback on this session included:

@shanehastie: #QconSF @sophiavux How object oriented UX can help us tame complexity.

@shanehastie: #QconSF @sophiavux OO-UX goes hand in hand with modular design. Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication. Da Vinci

@shanehastie: #QConSF @sophiavux Developers are good at making code simple, but not good at making UI simple (likewise for many designers)

@shanehastie: #QconSF @sophiavux What causes complexity: complex organisations, complex needs(people), complex device ecosystem,…

@shanehastie: #QconSF @sophiavux We are the complexity filters - we deal with complexity so our users don't have to.

@shanehastie: #QconSF @sophiavux Design with OOUX. Things we can do that help.

@shanehastie: #QConSF @sophiavux Things we should do when designing.

@shanehastie: #QConSF @sophiavux Cheat on your IA. A problem domain is made up of things, the solution is part of the domain.

@shanehastie: #QConSF @sophiavux People think in objects.

@shanehastie: #QConSF @sophiavux To expose a user's mental model talk to them!

@shanehastie: #QConSF @sophiavux Persistent navigation is a way for users to see the containers of things

@shanehastie: #QConSF @sophiavux Objects are the stuff of your system.

@shanehastie: #QConSF @sophiavux Reduce, Reuse & recycle. Where things are very similar, can they be seen as just one?

@shanehastie: #QconSF @sophiavux We often make the same module in different parts of the same system. Rather have a single module.

@shanehastie: #QconSF @sophiavux Compare the ways LinkedIn presents a person and message

@shanehastie: #QconSF @sophiavux Let objects guide your actions. When using a system we are directly impact objects

@shanehastie: #QconSF @shanehastie Don't waste tour time designing interactions that nobody wants.

@shanehastie: #QconSF @sophiavux Things you need to do to ensure consistency

Twitter Tech Day

Building Twitter’s Next-gen Alerting System

by Megan Kanne

Twitter feedback on this session included:

@philip_pfo: Observability - write, visualize, alert. Architecture for that at Twitter (from @megankanne #QconSF)

@wesreisz: Twitter's alerting architecture #QConSF

How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Fan-in

by Mike Cvet

Twitter feedback on this session included:

@bx: If you wanted to know how Twitter started introducing relevance into filtered timelines, @mikecvet is dropping the…

Scaling Reliability: So You Want to Add a 9

by Moses Nakamura

Twitter feedback on this session included:

@charleshumble: I've stopped writing bugs but other people still do write them. @mnnakamura #QconSF

@charleshumble: “Rare failures are like rare Pokemon but less exciting.” @mnnakamura #QconSF

Opinions about QCon

Twitter feedback on QCon SF 2016 included:

@maheshsingh: Loving the track introduction format of #QconSF - as also the responsive schedule on the website. Good show @InfoQ :)

@jjlesko: #QconSF is wrapping up soon - my team gives the conference high marks, consistent with the last several years I've gone. Good job, @InfoQ!

@wouterdanes: Evaluating an amazing @QConSF with the @ingnl colleagues. #QconSF

@ladyleet: Waking up to this beautiful view at #qconsf #sf

@jesmith17: Looking forward to applying techniques from #QconSF to my work. Great lessons and lectures.


@lorax_james: One thing that #QConSF has taught me is to try new things and not be afraid of change. So today, I will sit on the…


InfoQ produces QCons in 7 cities around the globe. Our focus on practitioner-driven content is reflected in the fact that the program committee that selects the talks and speakers is itself comprised of technical practitioners from the software development community. Our next QCon will be in London March 6-10, 2017. We will retun to San Fransico November 13-17 2017.


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