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Should my tech conference / community have a Code of Conduct? – Recommended Resources

(Header Photo from CSSConf EU 2015)

The short answer is here: tl;dr

Discussions about the necessity and relevance of Codes of Conduct for tech communities and at conferences or other events has been returning every few months over the past years. I’ve put together a list of fantastic resources about the topic that were written by great people. So I thought I’d make the list public here (jump to beginning of list).

From my (privileged) perspective as a co-organiser of conferences, speaker, attendee, and member of Open Source communities, I find Codes of Conduct extremely important. I’ve seen their relevance play out in practice many times over the past years.

But beyond my personal opinion, there are numerous very important reasons to adopt a Code of Conduct for your event / community. Read more

How to prepare and write a tech conference talk

Why I’m writing this post

A few weeks ago, @Charlotteis asked on Twitter about resources for preparing / giving conference talks. Their tweet reminded me that I had meant to write down my process for a very long time. So here it is. I’m planning to write two posts about this topic – this first one will focus on preparation of talks (so basically everything that happens before I pack my bags to travel to the event). I’ll write about everything related with actually giving the talk in the 2nd post. 

Also: you can invite me to speak at your event. Topics I speak about include tech and Open Source culture, communities, diversity and inclusion, mental health and empathy. And I have a few open speaking slots in 2016 left. I’m also available for hire. But now, to our topic.

Almost two years ago, I gave my first talk at a frontend meetup, and, a few weeks later, spoke at my first tech conference. Since then, I have given six talks and three keynotes at tech conferences around Europe. I’ve also been parts of the orga teams of two conferences and have been part of committees that did the first blind-selection round of proposals.

There are a few things which frame my experience and capabilities in preparing and giving conf talks:

  1. I’m an introvert.
  2. I really love public speaking. But I get ~extremely~ nervous beforehand (more on that and how I (try to) deal with it in part 2).
  3. I’m not a software developer. With one exception, my talks are usually not technical, meaning that they usually center around human-related topics. This also means that there are some things you may be confronted with that I don’t have to deal with, like working demos, displaying code samples, or similar.
  4. Also, I’m a white, cis, able-bodied woman who doesn’t have to do care work, so I usually have more or less enough time on hand for my preparation. 

Given this, some of the things I outline here may not work for you. But hopefully, there are a few useful tips in there that come in handy for you. I’ve added a bunch of links to more resources at the end of each section. There are also several speakers that have inspired me and that I’ve learned from. If you have more useful tips or resources, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or get in touch!

IMG_7556-600x399-2

This post has now turned out much, much longer than I had planned. So here’s a brief table of contents in an attempt to give you an overview. To skip the overview and get right into the post, click here Read more

My Twenty-fifteen

Only a few more hours are left until 2015 is coming to a close. This year went by both extremely slowly and super fast. It has been a no-good year for me, and I’m not really in a good position to write a decent retrospective right now. But I’ve done these posts before and didn’t want to give up the tradition. Also, maybe the writing will help.

January

Came back from a lovely week in Norway and went back to work leading a software dev team for an NGO.

February

Spent most of my non-work-time preparing my upcoming conference talk.

Had lots of fun with my team and Google Hangouts:

Had a quick thought and posted what turned out to be my top Tweet forever (that’s so sad):

March

Went to Salzburg, Austria, and had the great honour of keynoting the wonderful .concat().

Went on a work trip to Sierra Leone (all photos are here):

Sierra Leone

April

Got to see jumping baby goats in the zoo:

Jumping Baby Goat ??

A video posted by Lena (@_miel) on

As planned, I wrapped up and handed over my work with the NGO.

May

Traveled to Edinburgh. Went to my first Cèilidh (still struggling with the pronunciation) and had a blast dancing. Keynoted ScotlandJS:

Had a wonderful time in Edinburgh (all photos are here):

Edinburgh

Started a new job and brought cookies on my first day:

Making cookies for my new coworkers

A photo posted by Lena (@_miel) on

Wrote a super long blog post and never published it.

June

¯\_(?)_/¯

July

Third month with severe dental issues and pain killers. In the session during which the tooth was supposed to be fixed, it broke. Bye tooth.

August

After a veeeeeeeery long pause, I had my first piano lessons. Getting back to making music is very exciting and rewarding, and my teacher is fantastic. Unfortunately, I’ll have to stop taking lessons after only a few months. I hope to take this on again at some point in 2016.

September

A “Talk about Nothing” was shortlisted for a net award 2015 and didn’t win.

Spent my birthday sick in bed.

classic

A photo posted by Lena (@_miel) on

Got flowers.

?

A photo posted by Lena (@_miel) on

I had ~really~ looked forward to traveling to the US for the very first time in my life, and to speaking at &yetConf. Unfortunately, I had to cancel everything last-minute because I wasn’t recovering fast enough to be able to travel.

October

Got to go to Napoli for a few days (all photos are here), ate lots of pizza and enjoyed the sun:

Streets of Napoli

November

After sleeping on only mattresses for the past ~7 years, I finally got a bed. This was exciting.

Traveled to Brighton:

talking 'bout planes

A photo posted by Lena (@_miel) on

Spent a wonderful weekend wandering around the town, dried my shoes in the hotel with my hair dryer, and keynoted FullFrontal 2015:

December

Realised that, for the first time in my adult life, I’ve now been living in the same apartment for five years.

Baked cookies:

It's so on

A photo posted by Lena (@_miel) on

Wrapped up my work as CEO and co-founder of The Neighbourhoodie.

Had a wonderful time working briefly with a few people on a ~really~ nice project. Did a photo shooting with them which was really fun. This short project was the best thing that could have happened to me by end of this year.

Baked Emoji cookies:

Spent the holidays at home.

Summary

  • I traveled around 19,524 km: to Hamburg, Salzburg, Freetown, Edinburgh, Napoli, Brighton.
  • I keynoted three conferences.
  • I wrote and published 31 blog posts: 4 on Kleinerdrei, 16 on the CouchDB Blog, 6 on the Hoodie Blog and 5 on this blog.
  • I made 54 contributions on GitHub this year (oh, well).
  • I posted 1,794 Tweets.
  • I took more than 4,300 photos, including some event photography, and a few commercial photo shootings.

Some of TV Shows I watched this year (some of which I can recommend):

  • How to get away with Murder
  • Episodes
  • Empire
  • Gilmore Girls (I did two full re-watches this year, mainly because this show has proven to be a good distraction for me.)
  • Master of None
  • Scott & Bailey
  • The Good Wife
  • Suits
  • Nurse Jackey
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine
  • Chef’s Table
  • Grace and Frankie
  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
  • The Mindy Project
  • Garfunkel and Oates
  • Scrubs
  • Broadchurch
  • Lilyhammer
  • Modern Family
  • Scandal
  • Grey’s Anatomy
  • Jessica Jones
  • You’re the Worst
  • I also watched a lot of standup comedy and many, many documentaries.

Things I learned this year:

  • Environments matter.
  • Building good environments is hard. And extremely rewarding.
  • Sometimes the only thing left for you to do is to remove yourself from an equation.
  • Realising that you need help is hard. Finding help once you’ve realised that you need it can be even harder.

Things I want to do next year:

  • I want to get back to traveling more. I’ve been missing that a lot.
  • I also want to work harder on amplifying the voices of people who have important things to say.
  • I also want to get better at supporting the work of other feminists in tech and at showing my solidarity with them.
  • I want to do more public speaking again. (If you know of any good events, please let me know!)
  • I also want to start looking for and find a new job.

I will remember this year as the year in which only few things started, while many things came to an end. The year in which I was mostly not who I wanted to be. And the year in which my hair finally grew longer.

Right now, I have no idea where I’m going and what’s going to happen. Most of the time, this is very frightening for me. But, hey:

“If everything was perfect, you would never learn and you would never grow.”

– Beyoncé

Take care. I’ll see you next year.

***

Earlier:

20102011201220132014

speed of light

We won’t solve problems if we don’t allow ourselves time to think about them.

… I read a few months ago in a post about the tech industry’s pace.

A few minutes ago, I ate a bowl of strawberries and mango pieces and this sentence popped up out of nothing.

Many major things in my life have changed over the past few months, and one of the most important ones was its pace. The pace that I’m moving at. My very own pace.

These changes that happened also led to a quite unintended slow-down, and, even more important, allowed me time to think. For many years before, the way I was moving felt like there was constantly wind whirling my hair because I was running so fast. (I hate running.) This clock that is ticking, each and every second that goes by, gives me distance.

Time is a giver. It’s giving me new perspectives, new insights and, consequently, learnings.

What I have right now are many pending drafts, many notions left unspoken, many ideas only thought out loud. For now, I’m writing them on pieces of paper, I’m quickly typing them into notes, I’m waiting for more time to pass. The day will come when I’ll know that enough time has passed for them to be said out loud. I don’t think that I’ll be solving problems when this day comes. But I’m damn sure they will be ready to do something then.

This is not a food blog (but here’s something about Pasta)

I hate cooking, I’m a bad cook, I don’t care about fanciness of my food, and I’m definitely not a foodie (although I enjoy good food when I don’t have to prepare it myself). I usually just cook food that is prepared quickly, eat it so I don’t feel hungry anymore, sigh because I need to wash the dishes, and that’s it.

Yesterday though, for the first time in decades, I felt like I really wanted to cook. I almost felt an urge to cook, which is an entirely new feeling for me and I’m not sure how to deal with that yet.

Yet, I really enjoyed the meal that I prepared then. And although I’m not sure if I was exactly selling this with all I wrote in the first paragraphs, I wanted to share it here:

Pasta with sugar snaps, cocktail tomatoes, green beans and Avocado Cucumber Salad.

salad

First, I prepared the salad. It’s this recipe, – you basically just dice avocado (make sure it’s really ripe) and cucumber, prepare the dressing, done. I just tweaked the dressing a little – I used yoghurt instead of the mayonnaise, and basil instead of cilantro / parsley. That salad is prepared easily and can just be set aside. It tastes super fresh and creamy, and I also really liked the hot sauce part about it.

Pasta

You can just vary all ingredients in share depending on if you rather want a pasta dish or veggie dish (I had more Pasta yesterday, but next time I may take more beans), just choose amounts based on what you like most. You’ll roughly need per person:

  • Pasta (Penne)
  • Green Beans (a small handful)
  • Sugar Snaps (a small handful)
  • Cocktail tomatoes (around 5, or more)
  • Cream Cheese, around 50-100g
  • 1 clove of garlic (or more)
  • Salt, Pepper
  • In case you fancy cheese, you may want to add some parmesan as well.

And then: improvise, improvise!

Here’s roughly how I did it:

I cooked some Pasta (Penne) al dente. Meanwhile, I cut green beans to the length of the Penne (for the looks), cooked them in water for ~7 mins, set them aside. I washed the sugar snaps and cut the cocktail tomatoes in halfs, and set them all aside as well. And I cut the garlic in very very tiny dices.

When the pasta was done, I left some water in the pot, added the cream cheese and garlic, some pepper and salt, stirred it all, had it cook a little more until the sauce was thickening, added all veggies and served it with the salad.

I liked this dish a lot. It doesn’t require a lot of special stuff, tastes very fresh, it’s also a little creamy, and has a lot of veggies in it.

And hey, just in case you think you could like this dish also – here’s a crappy photo I took last night right before eating it: