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Talks I have given, conversations I have had

February 3, 2018

Increasingly, some people have expressed the strange urge to binge-watch my presentations. This potentially self-destructive behavior seems likely to have unwanted side-effects like spontaneous righteous indignation, superfluous historical metaphor, and near-lethal exposure to tangential anecdote — and yet I find myself compelled to enable it by collecting my erstwhile scattered talks. While this blog entry won’t link to every talk I’ve ever given, there should be enough here to make anyone blotto. That said, should you find yourself thirsty for more, check out the bonus tracks that consist of recorded conversations that I have had over the last few years.

To accommodate the more recreational watcher as well as the hardened addict, I have also broken my talks up into a a series of trilogies, with each following a particular subject area or theme. In the the future, as I give talks that become available, I will update this blog entry. And if you find that a link here is dead, please let me know!

Before we get to the list: if you only watch one talk of mine, please watch Principles of Technology Leadership (slides) presented at Monktoberfest 2017. And if you only watch two talks, please additionally watch Coming of Age (slides) presented at Monktoberfest 2022. These are the only talks that I have asked family and friends to watch, as they represent my truest self — or what I aspire that self to be, anyway.

The talks

Talks I have given, in reverse chronological order:

Trilogies of talks

As with anyone, there are themes that run through my career. While I don’t necessarily give talks in explicit groups of three, looking back on my talks I can see some natural groupings that make for related sequences of talks.

The Software Values Trilogy

In late 2016 and through 2017, it felt like fundamental values like decency and integrity were under attack; it seems appropriate that these three talks were born during this turbulent time:

The Debugging Trilogy

While certainly not the only three talks I’ve given on debugging, these three talks present a sequence on aspects of debugging that we don’t talk about as much:

The Beloved Trilogy

A common theme across my Papers We Love and Systems We Love talks is (obviously?) an underlying love for the technology. These three talks represent a trilogy of beloved aspects of the system that I have spent two decades in:

The Open Source Trilogy

While my career started developing proprietary software, I am blessed that most of it has been spent in open source. This trilogy reflects on my experiences in open source, from the dual perspective of both a commercial entity and as an individual contributor:

The Container Trilogy

I have given many (too many!) talks on containers and containerization, but these three form a reasonable series (with hopefully not too much overlap!):

The DTrace Trilogy

Another area where I have given many more than three talks, but these three form a reasonable narrative:

The Surge Lightning Trilogy

For its six year run, Surge was a singular conference — and the lightning talks were always a highlight. My lightning talks were not deliberately about archaic Unixisms, it just always seemed to work out that way — an accidental narrative arc across several years.

The conversations

If you’ve somehow been left looking for more (!), here are (again, in reverse chronological order) various conversations that that I’ve had in various places. This list isn’t exhaustive, so if I’m missing a favorite, please let me know!

3 Responses

  1. Of all the talks in recent years, “Leadership Without Management: Scaling Organizations by Scaling Engineers” is probably the most important to me, thank you for giving such a talk. At the time I urged several people, desperately, to watch it as a last clench for hope, without success.
    “Shitheads with a thousand raspberry pi’ ” XD

  2. thank you, appreciate you making these available to us..
    I follow the Redmonk guys, so had seen the leadership talk, but most of the others are new to me.
    Deep in the caves of proprietary software, I don’t get out much, so appreciate these presentations..

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