The women of Velocity and Fluent
Last week I attended and spoke at Velocity and Fluent, sponsored by O’reilly. This was the first year the conferences, focused on distributed systems, performance, and front end development, were co-located.
I’ve wanted to speak at Velocity for years and have previously submitted proposals, but sadly had always been rejected. After three years, I gave up submitting proposals, as I didn’t think they had a chance of acceptance. As luck would have it, despite not submitting a proposal, this year my dream of speaking there was realized.
As a corporate sponsor, my company was given a five minute keynote and the opportunity was passed on to me. This talk allowed me to check two items off my bucket list.
Speaking in front of more than 1000 people and Speaking at Velocity.
It was an honor to speak at a conference with so many amazing women speakers. There’s been a lot of talk lately about all-male speaking line-ups and conversations on how difficult it is to find diverse speakers. After seeing multiple high quality talks from diverse speakers, I say conferences aren’t trying hard enough. Below is just a sample of some of the great talks from women speakers that I saw:
Erica Baker: “Tech diversity and inclusion postmortem”
Erica provided a sobering overview of the roadblocks tech companies have encountered in their diversity and inclusion practices. In the past 10 years very little has changed. This doesn’t mean we should give up. We have to move beyond unconscious bias training to see the needle move in terms of diversity and inclusion in tech.
Soo Choi: “Why so angry Soo?”
I had the pleasure of meeting Soo when we both spoke at DevOps Days Seattle. Soo delivered a powerful Ignite talk on how her experiences at conferences over the years have led to her being labeled as “angry.” I got angry hearing the stories and realize we still have a ways to go for more inclusive and accepting tech conferences.
Nicole Forsgren: “Are we there yet? Signposts on your journey to awesome.”
This was the third time I’ve seen Nicole speak. Each time I learn something from her and am amazed by her presence on stage. Nicole jokes about “rubbing science on things” as she brings science and organizational psychology to DevOps in a way that everyone can relate to. At Velocity she did double duty as MC of the Ignites and sharing some of the results of the 2017 State of DevOps Report.
Camille Fournier: “The role of being technical in technical leadership”
Camille’s book has been on my to read list for a while so I was looking forward to hearing her speak. She did not disappoint. Moving from an individual contributor role to a leadership role requires a different skill set. It’s hard to make the adjustment from being “hands-on” to leading and managing others.
Laura Hackney: “From exploitation to ECMAScript”
This is the talk that surprised me the most. I was not expecting to hear a talk about human trafficking at a tech conference. Laura shared the mission of AnnieCannons, which offers technical training and hands-on experience to survivors of human trafficking. A great organization with a great mission.
Shubhie Panicker: “Reliably measuring responsiveness in the wild”
Shubhie co-presented a session on the new API in Chrome to identify long tasks. I loved seeing how web performance metrics have evolved over the years and we continue to search for metrics that help us understand what really matters to users. I’m eager to learn more about the long tasks API and how it can be used to help understand
Jenn Schiffer: “Letting everyone build a better web with Glitch”
Learning how to do something new can be scary. Creating a community to make it easier to learn and ask questions can make it a little less scary. Being self-taught does not mean you learned alone. Another person created the book you read or the video you watched or the code samples you found on the web. Recognize the people you learn from.
What female speakers have inspired you?