Who should present at SledgeConf?

SledgeConf is a remote ‘tiny conference’ focused on the software industry and software development. Anyone is welcome to present on our three themes “Software, Consulting and Teams”. 

See our article below on the SledgeConf themes.

Do you need to be a software engineer to present at SledgeConf?
No, you don’t need to be a software engineer or even able to code to present at SledgeConf. We just ask that your topic be pertinent to the Software industry. 

Do you need to pay to submit or present a talk to SledgeConf?

No, submitting and presenting talks is free just email a 3-5 sentence summary of your talk idea at my email. nick@sledgeworx.io

Do you need to pay to attend SledgeConf?

No, attending SledgeConf is free for individuals. Depending on interest, we may offer paid corporate pass with extra benefits. 

What equipment do you need to present a talk at SledgeConf?

To present you will need a device that can run the Zoom application and has a microphone so you can talk and answer questions. A smartphone could work, but we would need to test it ahead of time. If you don’t have the equipment needed to present, but have a great talk you want to present, reach out to us and we can try to coordinate something in Seattle. 

What is the process to presenting a talk at SledgeConf?

The process is slightly ad hoc at this point. The first step is to send me an email saying that you are interested in presenting and giving a short 3-5 sentence summary of your talk idea. I will get back to you within a day or two with my thoughts on the talk. You might be asked to modify your talk slightly if we already have a talk on that subject or it doesn’t clearly match one of our themes. 

Once we have agreed on a talk topic, and depending on what slots we have left, you can pick whether to do a full 50 minutes of talk and Q&A or to do a lightening talk with 5 minutes of presentation and 5 minutes of questions. 

SledgeConf Request for Talks and Themes guide

We are open to talk submissions for SledgeConf 2020. Please apply today. To apply please email me at nick@sledgeworx.io with a 3-5 sentence summary of your talk.

SledgeConf is a remote tiny conference (https://briancasel.com/tiny-conferences/) debuting August 7th and 8th 2020. So far our survey of whether people preferred weekdays or weekends is a flat tie, so we are doing both. There will be up to six 50 minute presentations and six lightening talks spread across two days of festivities. 

The themes for this years conference are Software, Consulting and Teams. Proposed talks should apply to at least one of these themes. The conference is targeted towards software engineers but talks from outside the industry are welcome if they apply to at least one of the themes. 

Software is a pretty large theme. Talks in this category can range from software tutorials, “Integrating full text search in Rails with Postgres tsvectors” for example, to discussions of industry wide issues. A talk on wastewater management in the Bahamas would not be appropriate unless the focus was on the software used. 

Consulting is our second theme in 2020. Talks in this category will cover issues software consultants and agencies, large and small face in their business. A great talk might be “How I found my niche as a React.js charting consultant”. 

Teams is our final theme for SledgeConf 2020. Most software is developed collaboratively and how we do that is a major part of our work. Talks in this category cover the organizational issues involved in building software. A great talk might be “Begging, Borrowing and Stealing our way to consistent data collection for estimates at $Company”

To submit your talk please email me at nick@sledgeworx.io with a 3-5 sentence summary of your talk subject.

Ex.

Hey, Nick, I’m interested in presenting at SledgeConf 2020! My idea for the talk is Integrating full text search in Rails with Postgres tsvectors. My project deepeats is a food ingredients discovery tool and we had an interesting time integrating full text search especially when supporting image uploads of ingredients list.

Thanks,

Example Person

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Software is a depreciating Good

“If customers are paying for the work, presumably by the hour, then you can’t expect them to pay for weeks (or more) of work every few years just to arrive back at the same product they started with.”
– From reddit user /u/PragmaticFinance

People have the idea that because the software has the same features as it did five years ago, it still is just as ‘good’ as it was five years ago. And if we can keep running it without modifications that is a reasonable practice. Unfortunately, while it feels intuitive that is not the reality with software. 

Sorry, a software product that is built on out of date tooling is strictly inferior to software built on up-to-date tooling. It is not ‘just as good’ it is significantly worse. The out of date software has increased vulnerability to security defects. Python 2.7 doesn’t get security patches anymore, if your software is built on it and a zero day is discovered. Your software could be unoperable for weeks while engineers upgrade it to function on Python 3. 

Software that can’t be patched to address security vulnerabilities in a reasonable time frame is strictly worse than up to date software. Anyone who was evaluating a purchase of these two programs would consider the expense of making changes. 

Aside from security issues, out of date software is harder to modify. What are the banks going to do when the last Cobol programmer dies? They will have to fund Cobol bootcamps which is not going to be cheap.

What are companies that had ‘feature complete’ software that didn’t need to change in years doing now that GDPR is a thing? That software is getting dusted off and updated or entirely replaced.

Roads and tractors require constant maintenance just to keep doing the same job. Software is the same. Maintenance costs should be estimated and included in the total cost of ownership for software. 

A lot of business software just encodes business processes. It can get out of date because the world shifted and the process changed, or the world shifted and the way the process is encoded is out of date.

Each time I write one of these technical debt posts it helps me understand why Software As A Service took over in such a big way. If you needed this year’s model of tractor every year you would lease it.

2020 Age of the remote conference

At this point, in person conferences with 1000s of attendees are done for the year. Lockdowns are easing in general, but most people won’t be comfortable going to a massive conference with 1000s of people from all over the world anytime soon.

We are likely to be disrupted by this pandemic until spring 2021, by when travel is hopefully back to normal. I’ve been working from home for months now and will be doing so officially until October. 

The thing is conferences bring a lot of value to engineering. It is a great way to keep up with what people are doing in industry and to share your experience. I’ve attended some great conferences and enjoyed diving into the technical depth available at a conference devoted to Spark or Kubernetes. 

For 2020 these kinds of tech talks and presentations have to move online to Youtube and Zoom just like our work has. Fortunately, there are some benefits to running a tech conference remotely. 

A remote conference can be a lot more affordable. You don’t need to rent a big conference venue to host the talks, and attendees save money by not flying to a different city or renting hotel rooms. 

You also can save time because you aren’t traveling. Just like we don’t need to commute to the office, you don’t need to travel to the conference. The conference is wherever you are. 

The technology is also good for presentations and Q&A sessions. Teleconferencing shines in situations where you want to share screens and only a few people need to speak at once. Where it really breaks down is when you want to have a group discussion, it is much harder to interleave speakers. But if we focus on activities with a single presenter or a Q&A where someone asks a question, then stops talking, teleconferencing is almost as good as being in person. 

I think in 2020 we will see a lot of remote mini-conferences. They are really economical to host and the timing couldn’t be better. I like the idea so much I have decided to adopt the TinyConf I was planning for this year into a remote conference. 

Recruiter spam of underpar jobs

As your career progresses recruiters will start to spam you with lower quality jobs. I’ve had weeks where I was messaged on linkedin about a job several times per day. Normally that would be great, except most of these jobs would be worse than the job I already have. 

I’m not looking to make a downward move in my career. At some point I might start a startup or take a position as a cofounder, but otherwise I’m looking to move up in my career. Meaning that I am looking for jobs that are higher paying and higher responsibility. Not jobs that are lower paying and require less skill than my current job. 

Why do recruiters spam these lower quality jobs? Honestly, I think they are just spamming them in general without reading people’s profiles at all. Recruiters are paid on commission and there really isn’t any penalty to them for wasting people’s time other than Linkedin charging them for premium. But its not like I’m going to have a moment of weakness, respond to one of these contract for hire java developer positions and then accept an offer for half of my current pay. 

For now the solution is probably to block these recruiters on Linkedin.