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Keynote: Finding Purpose Through the Things We Build

Location: Grand Ballroom ABC

Duration: 5:30pm - 6:15pm

Day of week: Wednesday

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Note: The Closing Keynote is Open to QCon Attendees, their partners, and invited guests. While the closing keynote is free, anyone without a QCon badge will need to register to attend the keynote.

What is YOUR Why?

We all have different moments in life that serve as a catalyst for why we do the things we do--Moments that give us a clue as to how we want to spend our time in order to make change in the ways we want to see --sometimes need.

We’ll discuss some of the projects I discovered for my purpose and hopefully help you find your own. Some of my projects include:

  • STILL BLACK (Art/Film)
  • PhD Legacy at NorthWestern
  • Appolition
  • Trans*H4CK

We can all be purposeful changemakers.

Speaker: Kortney Ziegler

Co-Founder/ Head of Product & Design @useAerial | Creative Director @Appolition

Dr. Kortney Ziegler is an award-winning writer, filmmaker and entrepreneur. His passion for social-justice-based work in the tech space, led him to found Trans*H4CK (2013) the first technology organization centered on sustaining transgender lives. He is also the co-founder of Appolition, a web app that collects spare change to pay bail for those that can't. Ziegler is the first person in history to receive the PhD of African American studies from Northwestern University (2011). Ziegler was named one of the most influential African Americans by TheRoot100 and one of the most powerful African Americans by Ebony Magazine.

Find Kortney Ziegler at

Proposed Tracks

  • Building High-Performing Teams

    Building, maintaining, and growing a team balanced for skills and aptitudes. Constraint theory, systems thinking, lean, hiring/firing and performance improvement

  • Software Defined Infrastructure: Kubernetes, Service Meshes & Beyond

    Deploying, scaling and managing your services is undifferentiated heavy lifting. Hear stories, learn techniques and dive deep into what it means to code your infrastructure.

  • Practices of DevOps & Lean Thinking

    Practical approaches using DevOps and a lean approach to delivering software.

  • Operationalizing Microservices: Design, Deliver, Operate

    What's the last mile for deploying your service? Learn techniques from the world's most innovative shops on managing and operating Microservices at scale.

  • Developer Experience: Level up your Engineering Effectiveness

    Improving the end to end developer experience - design, dev, test, deploy and operate/understand.

  • Architectures You've Always Wondered About

    Next-gen architectures from the most admired companies in software, such as Netflix, Google, Facebook, Twitter, & more

  • Machine Learning without a PhD

    AI/ML is more approachable than ever. Discover how deep learning and ML is being used in practice. Topics include: TensorFlow, TPUs, Keras, PyTorch & more. No PhD required.

  • Production Readiness: Building Resilient Systems

    Making systems resilient involves people and tech. Learn about strategies being used from chaos testing to distributed systems clustering.

  • Building Predictive Data Pipelines

    From personalized news feeds to engaging experiences that forecast demand: learn how innovators are building predictive systems in modern application development.

  • Modern Languages: The Right Language for the Job

    We're polyglot developers. Learn languages that excel at very specific tasks and remove undifferentiated heavy lifting at the language level.

  • Delivering on the Promise of Containers

    Runtime containers, libraries and services that power microservices.

  • Evolving Java & the JVM

    6 month cadence, cloud-native deployments, scale, Graal, Kotlin, and beyond. Learn how the role of Java and the JVM is evolving.

  • Trust, Safety & Security

    Privacy, confidentiality, safety and security: learning from the frontlines.

  • Beyond the Web: What’s Next for JavaScript

    JavaScript is the language of the web. Latest practices for JavaScript development in and out of the browser topics: react, serverless, npm, performance, & less traditional interfaces.

  • Modern Operating Systems

    Applied, practical & real-world deep-dive into industry adoption of OS, containers and virtualization, including Linux on.

  • Optimizing You: Human Skills for Individuals

    Better teams start with a better self. Learn practical skills for IC.

  • Modern CS in the Real World

    Thoughts pushing software forward, including consensus, CRDT's, formal methods & probabilistic programming.

  • Human Systems: Hacking the Org

    Power of leadership, Engineering Metrics and strategies for shaping the org for velocity.