Open Source Leadership Summit - California

We joined the Open Source Leadership Summit (OSLS) this week in California, caught up with many old friends, and met many new ones. Our founder Erik Riedel moderated an energetic panel session with four experienced leaders & practitioners in open source offering advice and discussion on Everyday Mentoring, Growth, and Collaboration. There was excellent audience interaction and many actionable insights for both the audience and the panelists.

We heard about the continued growth and expansion of the Kubernetes community for scalable systems deployment and operation, as well as launch of the new Continuous Delivery Foundation (CDF) with several initial projects contributed by industry leaders in support of DevOps practitioners worldwide. We got a chance to catch up with Kohsuke Kawaguchi for a short discussion on how the benefits of CI/CD have allowed companies to make changes to both their technology pipelines as well as to their engineering culture. We had gotten the chance to hear Kawaguchi’s inspiring background story of Jenkins and CloudBees during his Hackers Gotta Eat community session at FOSDEM last month.

In another exciting development for those of us who work at the boundary between hardware and software systems, the RISC-V Foundation (“risk five”) is further increasing its collaboration with the Linux community and announced a new CEO Calista Redmond who introduced herself to the audience. There will be a series of upcoming events to spread the word about open source processors for data centers and embedded (now “IoT”) use. The foundation also launched the CHIPS Alliance (Common Hardware for Interfaces, Processors and Systems) to accelerate open innovation around hardware systems with multiple new members.

The foundation also launched the long-awaited Community Bridge program led by the newest Linux Foundation Fellow Shuah Khan which provides a place for maintainers, mentors, donors, and employers to come together to match project maintainers with experienced mentors and corporate + individual donors. Express your interest in projects, or make a donation today!

There were many other announcements, talks, and hallway discussions to motivate and inspire, including a few captured by tweet at: #lfosls

This is always a great event to kick off the open source year and catch up with new folks & projects.

FOSDEM - Brussels

We had our first experience attending the FOSDEM conference in Brussels this week and it was excellent! Our founder Erik Riedel presented a session Collaboration is the Better Way alongside Lauri Apple from Workday in the Community Developer room. It was one of many, many excellent sessions during the day in that room - organized by Leslie Hawthorn and Laura Czajkowski - around various stories about creating and sustaining communities - including some sessions that filled the space to squeezing-room only.

Other sessions at FOSDEM were completely filled to standing-room only, with an estimated 8,000 people in attendance from around Europe and around the world. My flight from Dublin the afternoon before had been filled - at least half, if not three-quarters - with FOSDEM attendees of all ages and styles.

I had been warned that FOSDEM was unlike any other event that I had been to in that they do not have any registration. Not only is there no registration fee, but there is no registration at all. No name tags. No list of attendees. No idea how many folks will be there or are actually there. A sophisticated set of volunteer organizers recruited from among the attendees helped to keep everyone moving and keep the talks on track. I signed up for “heralding” duty which involved introducing speakers in one of the larger session rooms and reminding people not to sit on the steps. I also spent a few minutes substituting on camera duty - all sessions are available via livesteam and for replay soon after the event is over - many by later the same evening. Their video production setup is completely built with open source components, and was running in over a dozen rooms at the same time, operated and shepherded by participant volunteers. This is the kind of thing that “more organized” conferences pay an arm and a leg for, handled here on a shoestring budget.

There were so many rooms running in parallel, including a RISC-V devroom on open source hardware that I did not find out about until almost 2 months later! The sheer breadth of tracks and the depth of material presented over the course of two days (one snowy, one bright) was amazing - as was the enthusiasm and breadth of the crowd. One of the best stories that I saw was a late impromptu addition to the schedule due to a late-to-arrive speaker where Jeremy Allison of Google spoke about Handling Security Flaws in an Open Source Project outlining the discovery and remediation of a serious security flaw in the Samba project, with many lessons for projects open source and inner source alike.

Highly Recommended - annual FOSDEM event in Brussels.

Reading List - Rebel Talent - by Prof Francesca Gino

The sub-title of this book by Professor Francesca Gino of Harvard Business School is “why it pays to break the rules at work and in life” (emphasis hers) and she provides a ton of excellent stories and great insights for those of us who are trying to change the world.

Her position is that rebels, rather than sowing discord and tearing up the cobblestones to make a big mess are able to provide an unconventional outlook on problems and solutions, defying the status quo to bring innovation and improvement.

We know that we have definitely found ourselves in a room where all the other discussion participants wanted to go in a specific direction, but the group consensus felt “wrong” to us. We had noticed something that others had not, or brought an experience that others did not have.

Perhaps you can recall being in similar positions yourself, trying to bring additional considerations, prolong the discussion, and improve the solution.

Professor Gino has studied such rebels in many areas of business and society, and she makes a compelling case that resonates with us: in the fast-paced, high-tech, always-moving world of today, the ability to identify and promote rebel thoughts and rebel talents is a clear advantage.

She further posits that rebel attitudes can be applied beyond the workplace to create more engaging and fulfilling lives for ourselves.

Her stories start with crunchy lasagna and end with pirates off the coast of Virginia and contain advice both inspiring and concrete.

Highly Recommended - Rebel Talent by Professor Francesca Gino.

Real Scientists DE - #clouds auf Deutsch

Unser Founder Erik Riedel ist zweisprachig aufgewachsen, hat aber in der Schule und im technischen Bereich immer nur Englisch gesprochen. Diese Woche hatte er die Gelegenheit seine Deutschkenntnisse zum Test zu bringen als Moderator das Real Scientists DE Account bei Twitter.

Eine Woche lang hat er mit über 500 Tweets versucht die Technologie und die Entwicklung von der "Cloud" auf Deutsch mit Bildern und Geschichten vorzustellen.

Die Erklärungen gingen über Server und Festplatten und Networking zu Geschichten von Chips - z.B. der Alpha Chip von Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) - und Algorithms - z.B. das Networking von Akamai.

Dr. Riedel hat von seiner eigenen Karriere und Lebenslauf erzählt, und von Kollegen und Mentoren die bis heute einen großen und wichtigen Eindruck machen. Viele Stories waren mit kurzen Videos und Punkten direkt von den Personen zu hören und sehen.

For those who German, the tweets are viewable via Twitter at: since:2018-11-12 until:2018-11-19

This was great fun to do, and it was excellent for the Real Scientists DE team to provide this opportunity.

Open Source Summit Europe - Edinburgh

We had the privilege of presenting this week at the Open Source Summit Europe (formerly LinuxCon) in lovely Edinburgh, Scotland this week. Our founder Erik Riedel presented together with Lauri Apple from Workday on collaboration in open source - discussing specific techniques and approaches to improve collaboration and interaction in teams and in communities. So incredibly relevant in the fast-paced landscape of technology today.

We were nervous, but we also tried two short audience participation tasks that went even better than we could have imagined - a Mindfulness Minute of silent audience focus, and a chance to introduce yourself to an audience “colleague” and establish a rapport. The exercise went so well that we had trouble re-focusing the audience on the final wrap-up slides! Talk slides are available here.

There were so many other great technology talks and presentations, including event design, developer relations, community leverage, ally behavior and advice, technology outreach, and so many more. For photos and key points, please look at the twitter search: #ossummit

The city of Edinburgh also provided an excellent venue, with a mix of sun and #clouds but an ambient temperature above what it would have been if we had stayed in Boston.

HUB Week - Boston

We’ve attended a few session in the past, but this week we had time and energy to attend a wide selection of sessions in the annual HUB Week events put on by the Boston Globe and Massachusetts General Hospital, along with Harvard University and MIT.

The events ranged from a morning Laughter Yoga session (mindfulness FTW!) by the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine to an evening music session by Red Shaydez.

More details, photos, and commentary from the various events can be found on twitter via: #hubweek

Our single favorite session was inter(x) organized by Malia Lazu of the Urban Labs, with a set of nine speakers introducing the intersectionality of diversity and inclusion. See photos and commentary via the search: #hubweek #interx

The HUB Week sessions were an eclectic mix of technology, health, and art - with regular interplay across the topics. It was great to see so much variety and diversity right here in Boston.

Open Source Summit NA - Vancouver

We are always excited for an excuse to visit lovely Vancouver in beautiful British Columbia, Canada. The amazing scenery & nature views, as well as a super modern city, plus the great cosmopolitan atmosphere are refreshing and inspiring. We have spent time in all the large North American cities, and Vancouver is one of our absolute favorites.

We had the privilege of presenting this week at the Open Source Summit NA (formerly LinuxCon). Our founder Erik Riedel presented together with Nithya Ruff from Comcast on everyday opportunities for mentorship in technical jobs - discussing specific stories and techniques that have been successful for them as both employees and as managers & leaders. They tried to give specific and actionable advice, build on their many years seeing what works and what doesn’t first hand. The talk slides are available here.

There were many other great talks and technical and cultural topics during the week, see photos and highlights via the twitter search: #ossummit

So many excellent, wide-ranging, & relevant topics and discussions.

The single most powerful presentation all week was the keynote session with Van Jones and Jamie Smith from the Linux Foundation discussing the empathy gap in technology and how everyone can make a difference to mentor and support each other. Jones also reminded the room of technologists that “with great power, comes great responsibility!”

Reading List - build your dream network - by j. kelly hoey

We all need a network of colleagues, friends, and acquaintances to succeed. In the modern communication world of Likes and #hashtags, connections are much easier than ever to establish and sustain, but they also take real energy and effort.

In this excellent book, Kelly tells her own story and the stories of others on how to navigate a networked career, a networked life. As a species, we thrive on connections and collaboration, but we also know that interactions and relationships can sap our energy.

The book provides concrete evidence on why established and nurtured networks are necessary, and details pages and pages of actionable suggestions and approaches that everyone can use every day to create and maintain the connections that you will almost certainly need in the future.

Highly Recommended - build your dream network by j. kelly hoey

Collaboration Leadership Summit - Portland

We attended the Collaboration Leadership Summit for the first time this year, in part because we knew that many of our open source friends would be there and have raved about it.

The event was excellent, with so many different community organizers - from tech and from adjacent fields - sharing their knowledge and experience.

The combination of structured presentations and open “unconference” discussions was a great format, and allowed us to cover a wide range of topics and issues. At events like these, it is always awesome when the format allows participants to interact with each other, sharing insights and ideas, not just a stream of information from the stage or podium.

The venue at the Portland Convention Center was also excellently situated, easy walking distance from downtown hotels, including a lovely walk across one of several Willamette River bridges.

The best talk among so many in session was by Kara Sowles with great clip art about how community management fits into various departments and groups - clearly shows the power of community to make a difference inside organizations and when organizations interact with each other and the wider technology world.

There was also a great unconference session about self-care that included some excellent discussion and testimonials on how everyday mindfulness can help us all keep balance and perspective - so powerful and so easy to forget self-care in today’s rapid technology world.

Additional photos and key points from us are viewable via this twitter search: #CLSummit

Get Out There, Try It!

The modern cloud technology stacks all support and encourage rapid prototyping and experimentation. It is no longer necessary to form committees and wrangle budgets and mission statements and navigate umpteen different sub-groups with diverse needs and concerns.

A wide range of new products and services can be rapidly prototyped and iterated over days or weeks that would have taken months or perhaps even years just five short years ago.

They key challenges no longer lie primarily in the technology execution. Diligent research and investigation can very likely turn up technology options that will readily meet your needs and goals.

The key challenges will be in matching available technology capabilities with the business problem to solve and with the internal teams and external partners that can turn an inspiring idea into profitable reality.