I recently returned home from attending Deconstruct along with a bunch of my co-workers. I thought I’d jot my thoughts down while the experience is still fresh on my mind.
- It was really nice to be able to attend a conference with a large group of co-workers. There were roughly 20 - 30 Braintree folks (a lot!) at the conference and I got to chat with a good number of them, share meals, and since I’ve only been at the company for a few months now, it was especially nice to be able to meet co-workers I hadn’t met before. Just from my team alone, there were 4 of us (including myself) who were at the conference. It was nice to be able to ask non-strangers “so, what did you think of that last talk?” and I’m sure I’ll engage in more of these discussions back at the office. Really thankful for the generous conference budget we have at Braintree. I intend on making full use of it as long as I’m with the company!
- There were 16 speakers and with the exception of just a single speaker, they were very good. They knew how to present & make it really engaging to a large audience. This conference stands out as being comprised of highly skilled presenters—certainly better than most (perhaps all) other tech conferences I’ve attended in the past.
- I appreciated how diverse the speaker lineup was. Half of the speakers were women (wow). Half of the speakers were minorities (again, wow). There was also a good mix of folks who are early in their software engineering careers (within the first few years of their career) as well as folks who are seasoned veterans. It was nice to be reminded that you don’t have to an expert in your field to be able to speak at a good-sized conference like this. I’ve never been to a conference where the speaker lineup was nearly as diverse as this one.
- The 2 talks that had the most impact on me were talks that challenged me to not merely focus on my own career, my own family, my own well-being, my own self interests, my own world… but to think long and hard about how I can contribute to the betterment of the society & the world that I live in and ultimately take action. I’m greatly simplifying the overall messages of these talks here but these 2 talks were very challenging for me to hear (in a good way). One of these 2 talks got a standing ovation at the end of the talk, which has never happened at any of the tech conferences I’ve attended in the past.
- I liked the single-track format. No need to worry about which talks I’m going to attend and having to repeatedly feel like I’m missing out on numerous interesting-sounding talks. I loved the lack of sponsors. No advertisements. No one trying to sell you stuff. A lot less distractions than most other conferences I’ve attended, which enabled me to focus better on the talks themselves.
- Seattle is great! Everyone tells me how it’s always cloudy or dripping rain in Seattle but the city has been nothing but sunny skies & super comfortable temperatures for me both times I’ve been there. Really like being near large bodies of water as well as mountains and hills.