The schedule for the conference will be coming soon, but until then, here are some of the session descriptions.

Time – Leon Gersing

There is an element of life that has a significant impact on how we make choices, construct relationships and determine value that we cannot actually identify physically. It is the catalyst for some of the highest highs and deepest lows any human being can experience and yet when asked to clearly define what it is, the very definition is subjective and augmented by each individual’s ability to perceive it. Time has been the subject of varied scientific, intellectual and philosophical inquiry with inconclusive, conflicting and paradoxical results. Yet, we still continue to agree, collectively, that is does, in fact, exist. We honor it, conceptually, as if it were any other matter-based construct in the universe. We plan the future, celebrate the past and ponder the moment constantly validating time as a construct. In terms of software we manipulate time as data, we manage schedules of peers to coordinate the work we do and even go so far as to expect time to be forgiving and predictable enough to assume we know what will happen when the future becomes the present on its way to the past. In this session, we’ll explore some philosophical purviews on the subject; expanding the increasingly rigid definitions we place on ourselves, our work and our lives in the name of this thing we’ve collectively named: time.

Choice – Mike Wood

We make countless choices each day with differing levels of impact on our lives. Sometimes choices are easy, and other times we hide from the choices we know we must make. What type of algorithm should you use for a particular problem? What do you eat for lunch (and do you tweet about it)? Should you change your career?

Wayne Dyer, an author and motivation speaker, is quoted as saying, “Our lives are a sum total of the choices we have made.” I’d like to share some of the choices I’ve made and lessons I have learned from them. In essence I’d like to share a bit of my life with you.

office politics for the thin-skinned developer – Justin Searls

Software rarely fails for technical reasons. It stands to reason, then, that nontechnical skills can help prevent failure.

“Office politics” deserves much of the derision it receives, but it’s unreasonable to ignore it—you can’t win if you don’t play, after all. Developers tend to have a few distinct disadvantages when it comes to this arena, but they can be mitigated with added awareness and even overcome with intelligence and leverage.

In this talk we’ll discuss (1) when it makes sense to get political, (2) how to gain awareness of the human systems that govern your organization, and (3) strategies for everything from advocacy to subversion to garner success for you and your team’s interests.

Find Your Happy – Layla Driscoll

It can be easy to get caught up in the day to day and lose sight of what we really want in life. Ask practically anyone what they want in life and you’ll likely get an answer that includes the desire to be happy. Are we actually happy? What does it even mean to be happy? Over the last year I’ve been on a quest to find my happiness at work and in life. We’re going to explore what it means to be happy and learn some easy ways to add a bit more joy to your daily life.

It’s Not About You – Jim Holmes

Why is it acceptable to have such horrible communication skills with those outside our cloistered group of technogeeks? Reality check: it’s not acceptable. Our industry has a well-deserved reputation for poor communication with anyone who doesn’t speak our language exactly, or those who are outside our little cliques. We routinely denigrate and ostracize folks who don’t look or act like us, and we regularly insult or condescend to our stakeholders while forgetting they’re the ones signing the checks-and who may have put their entire careers on the line for the projects we’re running.

In this talk Jim lays out some clear rationale and approaches around creating better communication with our clients, teammates, and audiences. It all starts with the fundamental concept that good communication isn’t centered around you the speaker, it has to be focused on who you’re communicating to.

Great communication is about them, it’s not about you.

Stop Drinking Spoiled Milk – Elizabeth Naramore

Generally speaking, humans don’t like change. We stay in jobs that aren’t right for us, relationships that are toxic, and we fight the inevitability of mortality all for the sake of avoiding change. The fact of the matter is that change is ultimately upon us, whether we like it or not. Everything in our lives has an expiration date, and the real trick is figuring out when that date has come and passed, and how you face the Brave New World before you.

The Superhero’s Guide to Avoiding Community Burnout – Jen Myers

Raise your hand if you’ve ever got angry at something a developer wrote on the internet. Or said at a conference, or at work. We probably all have. We’re passionate people. We care about the work we’re doing and the communities we participate in. But sometimes it’s hard to navigate the long-term reality of driving positive change while maintaining healthy relationships with other community members. It’s easy to fall into traps of letting emotions run away with ourselves, getting mired in circular arguments and just generally feeling burned out. Let’s fight this. Let’s be superheroes in our communities and be good examples of how to use our passion, talents and skills to make things better.

Enacting Change – Todd Kaufmann

Fearing change is natural and normal for us as humans, but it’s no way to go through life. We’ve been coached and cajoled into embracing change because it’s inescapable, but unfortunately not all change is good. The world is full of people with stupid ideas who are somehow in positions of greater influence and power than we are.

Fortunately getting people to help enact the change you believe in is not a matter of happenstance, luck, or sheer authoritative power. If the change you envision is truly worthwhile to others, how are you going to make sure you pull them into the cause? This session will leverage some real world examples from parasitic worms to subway cars in order to demonstrate how a few key behaviors can mean the difference between enacting lasting change or a lifetime of embracing the change of others.

Personal Branding Without Being Douchey – Suzan Bond

Personal branding isn’t just for marketers. Maybe you think you’ll always be a developer and always have a job. But tides change and you may want to go from just writing code to being in charge of your career. This is when you’ll realize that marketing yourself isn’t douchey — it’s a way to build a lasting career with you at the helm.
We’ll discuss things like why:
Being yourself >= being just anyone.
Specializing >> jack of all trades
Strategy != Tactics.

You Have Too Much Time – Jeff Blankenburg

In today’s social exchanges, “not having enough time” is a traditional excuse nearly everyone uses. I contend that, in fact, you have too much time, and it’s keeping you from changing the world. In the same way that too many choices forces indecision, having too much time brings its own share of challenges. This talk will address ways you can identify what your real priorities are (vs. what you tell yourself), show you how much of your days are truly wasted, and help you to stop feeling so overwhelmed.

Breathe – Alan Stevens

Who are you? Who do you think you are? One is a fact, the other is an idea, a belief. Who we think we are is largely composed of ideas adopted from others. The chatter of these received concepts informs our idea of who we are. The truth of who we are is always present, but our attention is seldom on this instant where our life is happening.

We are intoxicated on our own thoughts. We suffer from constant distraction caused by the flood of thoughts about the past and the future. Much of the contents of our thoughts are regrets of the past, fears of the future, reminiscences of past accomplishments and dreams of future success. Our new evolutionary toy, the pre-frontal cortex allows us to travel in time outside the present moment in our minds. This is a powerful and useful ability until our attention is primarily in the past and the future. While our attention is elsewhere, we miss the opportunity to realize our creative potential in this moment,

Creativity is not just art and music etc. Problem solving is creative. Change is creative. All disruption prompts creativity. If we wish to experience creativity, we must bring our attention to the present where creative ideas appear. Our breath and our heartbeat are always with us. Our breath never leaves the present. By focusing on our breath we can escape the torrent of thoughts for an instant and allow creative insights to pass into our awareness.

Gamification of our World – Brian Prince

Brian freely admits that he will do anything for an achievement on his Xbox; after all he has four of them at home. One day Brian wondered if he could get achievements for just putting on pants going to this place called ‘outside.’ This thinking has led to the gamification of our world, where achievements, game design elements, and game theory have leapt from gaming across the wall to everyday life. Learn the how’s and why of gamification. Everyone is using it to build wanted behavior, from enterprise developer teams, to sales teams, and to kids with diabetes. Being a gamer is not required, but we can’t guarantee you won’t become one when you are done.