Monktoberfest 2019 theme

Monktoberfest – the small but influential and highly curated single-track conference run by RedMonk and Steve O’Grady – always has a theme to the talks. I’ve been trying to quantify what I think the theme is all day, although there’s so much good content here it’s hard to quantify it clearly.

My default description of Monktoberfest talks is that it’s about how technology shapes society – and bring data. In the past, many of the speakers had done real research into their subjects and could provide rich and detailed source references behind the compelling and innovative narrative they spun. I have to say this year has been very light on the data side (so far; there are more talks tomorrow), but are the equal of any in the storytelling and concepts.

Steve begins each day with a brief presentation about the Monktoberfest community and how important it is – in those immortal words of Bill & Ted – to be excellent to each other. That’s always been an underlying theme to the whole experience, but each year Steve also curates a more specific theme. They’ve been moving away from the details of technology more and more into society and how people work together, not just through computers.

On one hand, this year is a continuation of that trajectory, speaking even more deeply about diversity, ethics, inclusion, and how both technology we build and the ways we work with other humans shapes both our society and even our own beings over time. But I know Steve has some specific messages underlying parts of all the talks he chooses.

My first thought was mentorship, in a wholistic way: Erik was explicit in his talk on “Mentorship, A tradition, a right and a duty”; but the opening talk of the day from Hadley on “Letter to a young maintainer” and others covered similar aspects of both traditional mentoring and the concept of training your new employees – and not just on code.

The “Letter” and Steph’s explainer of “Management Mistakes I’ve Made” both also explicitly called out many self-care parts of effective management and teamwork, so for a while I thought the theme might be that. Ensuring your own health and energy enables you to do… everything better; and extending that analogy to relationships and teams as well. Swarna’s “Achieving Your Career Goals Is Like Being A Spider Folk” brings similar themes, along with the lesson that careers are never straight lines.

But while self-care is important, it’s growth and interaction that make up society. Meg reminded us that information is not enough; knowledge (what the information means and it’s context and consequence) is what you need. That only comes from working with mentors or teachers and critical thinking, not just rote learning. That tells me the theme is more dynamic: it’s not just what you or I can do, it’s what we do together to improve.

While all the talks have discussed privilege and our diversity – in multiple aspects – we then have Kohsuke making us directly consider all the real world aspects of diversity and inclusion – both on a personal level and why they’re important business wise. In a related vein, Maureen’s talk on ethics and AI biases was really about diversity and how unconscious bias on so many levels in an AI/machine learning world can creep in. If it weren’t for diversity and inclusion already being a big part of the conference, I might have said that’s the theme. Heck, they had three sponsors for the program bringing in newcomers to the conference this year! But Steve thinks deeper than that.

Abby wrapped up the day giving a non-technical talk about “soft” skills and how we (think we) value them differently than coding or technical skills. This also is a common message at Redmonk and many other smart conferences: it’s not about the code – it’s about people, and how your code can get useful things done. Abby’s perspective goes deeper: it’s not about your skills and what you do with them, it’s how you are valued for your skills (or in some cases, not valued). I find this an obvious message, although I know many people still need to hear it. We know technology – especially open source projects – need marketing, project planning, documentation, and all those other non-code things, and we’re still figuring out how to value those contributors in many projects.

But I kept getting stuck on the individual themes from these talks – caring for yourself; mentorship and true knowledge learning; embracing inclusivity for so many reasons. Speaking with other attendees, we brainstormed a number of incremental improvements on these (some of which were great insights); but again, I know Steve thinks more deeply than the simple lessons here.

It ended up with Sophie reframing the question in a way that floored me briefly: the theme isn’t about the individual actions and bigger perspective within each of us. It’s about organizational change: how do we work with and within our many existing technical organizations to make our organizational thought itself better. The focus certainly is on considering diversity, equity, and ethics in how our companies organize themselves. But it’s also on helping to teach organizations as a whole how to do this, not just on the individual level, but the wholistic level.

Really, the theme of Monktoberfest this year is about making society a more just and equitable place.

How’d I do?

Dear Conference Organizers: Improving The Speaker Experience

Juggling several speaking engagements coming up, I’m reminded of how hard the job of conference organizers is.  Having helped to run ApacheCon as part of a volunteer team for years, I know how difficult it is to select talks, wrangle speaker acceptances (and rejections), and ensure your final conference schedule is appealing.  Updating the clunky CFP system and keeping the finicky schedule website updated are two problems that software hasn’t solved yet.

Equally important is how the conference acceptance & organization process works from the speaker’s side.  Remember?  Those people who make all the content your conference relies on?  All those people who you love and appreciate – not that you pay them anything – and who you’ll do anything to fix last-minute problems for?  While we can’t prevent all the last minute problems, there are a few simple steps to improve the speaker communication process to help prevent problems.

Continue reading Dear Conference Organizers: Improving The Speaker Experience

ApacheCon Big Data/Core News Wrapup

Our annual Apache:Big Data and ApacheCon:Core events were held recently at the lovely Corinthia Hotel Budapest, and the content and attendees were amazing.  The weather was great too, and sightseeing and shopping in Budapest were lovely.  Attendance was still good even in the face of time-competing software conferences and the local refugee crisis happening in the region.

While they were booked as separate events, many people stayed for the whole week.  Going forward, we will likely have a single event, but be even clearer with the strength of content in specific track days.  The broad array of very deep and well-received technical content in the big data space was truly impressive; Apache has over a dozen big data related projects and probably 20 more incoming Incubator podlings, so we certainly have the space covered!

Continue reading ApacheCon Big Data/Core News Wrapup

ApacheCon Europe 2014 Blog Roundup

As our intrepid conference master and ASF’s EVP Rich Bowen Notes in the Margin,
we recently held a spectacular 24th ApacheCon at the beautiful
Corinthia Hotel in Budapest, Hungary – followed by the CloudStackCollab
conference focused on the fast-growing Apache CloudStack project.

Rich, LinuxFoundation production staff, and an array of Apache volunteers put
together a great set of talks with some very focused
tracks on specific days – both for technology as well as for community
and business interests around Apache projects. As Rich notes: if your are an
Apache committer and want to speak, or see your project represented at
the next ApacheCon US April 13-17th, 2015, in Austin, Texas then sign up to help organize!

Here’s a roundup of Apache folk’s blogs about the event:

Unfortunately we don’t have video for talks this year. That means that folks
who couldn’t attend are missing out on an inspiring keynote from this year’s
conference: David Nalley talking about the Value Of The ASF. This is one
of those talks where the slides don’t make sense without hearing about it.
David came up with various figures representing the “value” of the code that
all Apache projects provide – and they’re massive numbers. More importantly,
the larger value of the ASF is the proven Apache Way of organizing
large-scale, long-lived collaborative activities between heterogeneous
groups of individuals – and making it work in a way that allows companies to
invest their resources (employee time and sponsorship) without impinging on
the independent governance of Apache projects.

Matching our inspiring talks was the friendliness of the
staff at the beautiful Corinthia Hotel Budapest, along with the beauty, history,
and warmth of the city of Budapest and the people of Hungary. A week alone
is not enough to see the sights of the city, and it’s no where near long
enough to enjoy all the wonderful food and drink there! Here’s hoping that we’ll
be able to come back next year!

ApacheCon Denver is NEXT WEEK!

Wow, that was fast! I’ll be seeing a number of you next week in Denver – both for ApacheCon and the immediately following CloudStack Collaboration conference. I’ve finally filled in my tentative schedule, and this will be a huge conference for fans of many, many different Apache project fans.

Did you know ApacheCon has Lucene & Friends talks every day? Of course there are five separate categories of Hadoop talks with multiple tracks. And having many more rooms than past ApacheCons – 9 simultaneous tracks – projects like Tomcat (and the Friday Tomcat Summit!), Cordova, CXF, OpenOffice, and Traffic Server each have their own dedicated tracks. And, the whole host of different cloud projects at Apache have their own 2+ days – just at ApacheCon. Of course Apache CloudStack has it’s own whole 2 day conference immediately after ApacheCon wraps up!

In a first, I’ll be speaking three times this week in my role as Vice President, Brand Management: one talk about what Apache projects need to do to help protect their brands, and another talk (reprised at CloudStack) about how your for-profit company can respect Apache brands. While I hope to have time for Q&A in these sessions, I’d also love to hear from everyone about their questions about Apache brands anytime during the conference.

If you’re a committer or a PMC member, you can do your homework and read up on PMC Branding Responsibilities beforehand.

For long-time ApacheCon attendees (I’m over a dozen, myself), there will be a few changes for the better. The transition to our new conference management company, the Linux Foundation, has gone great so far, and they’ve helped us plan out the largest and most ambitious ApacheCon to date. Hope to see you there!

How To Pack For ApacheCon NA 2011

Don’t forget your passport!

  • Airport: YVR
  • Getting to the hotel: VancouverTips
  • Local Google Map of Hotel
  • The Westin Bayshore is the conference location
  • The conference sessions/expo will all have an ApacheCon wifi network available all day. Wifi is available in hotel rooms for an extra charge.

Conference schedule and discussions:

Social Networks:

Official @ApacheCon twitter feed.

+1 Friend ApacheCon NA 2011!

ApacheCon is coming up soon – 7-11 November this year in lovely Vancouver, BC. Be sure to make your travel plans soon, especially for any US travelers who need to remember that we’re in Canada this year!

Is ApacheCon on your friends list? Let others know you’re attending by friending or signing up on your favorite social network:

Even better, you can now +1 ApacheCon postings on Google Plus. Talk about the “+1” phrase coming full circle back to the group that popularized it years ago!

Apache winter news roundup: new and famous projects

It’s continued to be a busy winter at the ASF, with a number of new projects being announced – as well as this year’s ApacheCon!

  • Submit your ideas now for the CFP of ApacheCon NA 2011 – coming to Vancouver this 7-11 November. CFP submissions are open through April.
  • Welcome Apache Extras! Apache Extras is the the place for all your Apache-related software that’s not an Apache project. That means that projects that might not use the Apache license or might not meet the community criteria for formal Apache projects, but are still related to Apache technology. Apache Extras gives you all the infrastructure support of Google Code, and shows your project’s interest in Apache technologies.
  • Welcome to our new Executive Assistant! The ASF has hired an EA to assist with a broad array of administrative tasks, who is already helping out with our conferences and other corporate operations.
  • We’ve got new top level projects! Over the past few months, the Incubator has graduated the following projects:
  • Apache Thrift is a scalable cross-language framework for code generation between a wide variety of popular programming languages.
  • Apache ZooKeeper, an Apache Hadoop spinoff, provides a centralized service for providing distributed synchronization of configuration information and other services.
  • Apache OODT (press release) is middleware for managing data used in critical scientific applications – and features original code and contributors from NASA and the JPL. Yes, real rocket scientists work on OODT!
  • Apache ESME stands for Enterprise Social Messaging Environment, and allos for secure and scalable microsharing and micromessaging applications.
  • Apache Aries implements the EEG’s enterprise OSGi specification for multi-bundle applications.
  • Apache River implements JINI services and allows construction of secure and distributed systems.
  • Apache Chemistry (press release) is an implementation of the OASIS CMIS standard, allowing access to a wide variety of different vendor’s CMIS repositories.
  • We also say goodbye to Apache Excalibur, which has been boxed up and stored in the Apache Attic for posterity – or until someone new comes along to draw the sword back out of the box.
  • There were several other interesting happenings in Apache land recently as well.

    • Apache UIMA and Hadoop technologies helped IBM’s Watson supercomputer defeat humanity in the TV game show Jeopardy! As one of the human contestants wrote: “I, for one, welcome our new computer overlords.”
    • The Apache Subversion project issued an open letter to a corporation who is an active contributor and user of Subversion. While this is an unfortunate situation of a third party effectively usurping some of the good will generated by the Subversion project itself, the issue is being addressed, and it looks like we’ll have a productive resolution. This underscores the importance of appropriate governance and trademark protection for open source projects.
    • Separately, those interested in using Apache projects may be interested in a number of much more detailed trademark policies that the ASF is working on, in an effort to make it simpler for third parties to associate with our projects, while ensuring that our project communities get full and proper credit for their work.

    ApacheCon NA 2010 Wrapup

    Along with a few news tidbits today, here’s my long-awaited ApacheCon NA 2010 blog wrapup, featuring highlights from attendees.

    And of course there’s the official roundup from the show floor at ApacheCon. If I missed your great blog post about this year’s ApacheCon, let me know!

    In other news, BarCampApache Sydney is this weekend, on 11-Dec with it’s own press release and discussion group.

    And today is the big day! The Java EC’s vote on the Java 7/8 JSRs concludes today, which will determine the openness – or lack thereof – of the future of Java. I’m sure that Stephen Colbourne will be covering it.

    Ask Me about FREE Apache Contributor buttons!

    Back once again at ApacheCon, I’ll be giving out free Apache “Contributor” feather buttons. All you have to do to get your button is let me know that you’ve donated funds to the Apache Software Foundation. Any amount qualifies for your free button!

    If you’re interested in sponsoring the ASF at a higher level, we’d love that too, and I might have a bunch of buttons for you!

    You may also see a number of people at ApacheCon featuring giant “Ask Me!” buttons with the Apache feather on them. Please – follow directions, and ask us your questions! A number of knowledgeable members are wearing these buttons, and will be happy to answer your questions about what the larger ASF is all about, and why the organization behind all of our great projects is also important to support.

    For those who can’t make it to ApacheCon, please feel free to contact me offline or on the mailing list for your button.

    Reminder: Apache and the feather logo are trademarks of The Apache Software Foundation, along with the names of our many projects – and should be used with respect both for the ASF as a whole and for the many committers in our project communities.