Track: Optimizing You: Human Skills for Individuals

Location: Pacific DEKJ

Day of week: Monday

How can you maximize your impact as an engineer, as a leader, and as a person? Too frequently we don't realize that the things which limit our ability to grow technically or organizationally are often not themselves technical or organizational. It's usually not about mastering one more language idiom or learning one more new framework; it's almost always about bringing more energy, purpose, and focus to our work. It's not about working harder; it's about working smarter.

This track explores the critical personal force-multipliers that can help us all to Optimize Ourselves: mindfulness and meditation, communicating simply and effectively, empathy and emotional intelligence, overcoming overwhelm, etc. From topical experts to engineers speaking from personal experience, you will hear practical ways to achieve and maintain your edge.

Track Host: Harry Brumleve

Senior Director Of Engineering @HomeAdvisor

Currently senior director of engineering at HomeAdvisor, Harry Brumleve brings over 20 years of software engineering experience from around the globe. He's helped build solutions of all types: from the frivolous and fanciful to the life-saving and mission critical. His recent work focuses on helping people create rewarding cultures and deliver products that delight their customers.


10:35am - 11:25am

Incrementally Refactoring Your Habits With Psychology

When I started on the Atom Editor team, I learned about all these cool things a text editor can do, but I still found myself stuck in my old workflows. In this session, I’ll share the story of how I hacked my habits to go from "mouse addict" to "Atom whiz." I'll dive into researched-backed psychological tips on how to incrementally refactor your habits. You'll leave this session with a framework for applying these tips in your life, no matter what your goals are.

Tilde Thurium, Software Engineer @GitHub

11:50am - 12:40pm

How To: Developers' Community Driven Career Growth

Forget about classroom trainings - they are boring and can give you knowledge, but not practice nor skills. At there are two developers, who invented the new way of education - online community marathon with heavy focus on self-reflection and practice - which already helped dozens of their colleagues grow and get promoted to Senior developer role. We call it Game of Roles and it already became an internal "franchise" to help people grow in other career roles (e.g. Team Leads).

In this session you will learn about how did we come up with such concept, what does it mean in details. You will learn about the framework behind each training, and, most important, how can you apply same principles at your organization without much effort but with high outcome.

Georgiy Mogelashvili, Senior Developer & Team Lead @bookingcom

1:40pm - 2:30pm

Optimizing You Open Space

Great cultures often start from within. Join track host Harry Brumleve as he explores how you great a great culture when you're not the specifically in charge.


2:55pm - 3:45pm

Baby Got Feedback: How to Give and Take Feedback Like A Boss

Giving--and receiving--feedback is hard, especially when we perceive the feedback to be negative. We put it off, and then make the feedback conversation a bigger deal than originally intended. How can you avoid this pitfall and learn to be more comfortable with feedback? This talk uses empirical research, practical tips, and parodied song lyrics around how to be a better feedback receiver and become more effective in giving feedback.

Sarah Hagan, Research Manager & Data Scientist, People Analytics @gatesfoundation

4:10pm - 5:00pm

Dropping The Work-Life Balancing Act

I've struggled with work-life balance for years, and if there's anything I've learned, it's that my work and my personal life are not separate forces, but instead are highly intertwined. In this talk, I'll describe a time when pouring my whole self into work gave me excitement, energy, and a sense of purpose that far outweighed the cost of the hours I was putting in. I'll also talk about a time when my personal life was so heavy that it took all the energy I had to contribute the bare minimum at work. In the midst of those extremes, I tried more routines, hobbies, and life-hacks than I care to admit, all in an effort to keep up the work-life balancing act.

If you've ever felt like you were doing the work-life-balance thing wrong, this talk is for you. I'm here to tell you that it's normal to feel imbalanced. I'm also here to tell you how I dropped the balancing act and replaced it with a framework for figuring out what works for me, and more importantly, what doesn't, to allow me to do my job well and enjoy my life outside work. I can't tell you how to achieve work-life balance -- there's no runbook or one-size-fits-all advice -- but I can tell you how I've tried and what I've learned along the way.

Cameron Jacoby, Senior Software Engineer @stitchfix

5:25pm - 6:15pm

Empathy: A Keystone Habit

Do you struggle to build trust, influence others, give effective feedback, and enable collaboration? This session will explore how empathy – the ability to understand others' needs and ensure that they know that you understand them – is what Charles Duhigg calls a "keystone habit", a behavior change that unlocks other cascading behavior changes. Along the way, we will try demystify what empathy is and give you simple tools to enhance your practice of empathy.

And we'll talk about otters.

Paul Tevis, People Development Manager @AppFolio


Monday, 5 November

Tuesday, 6 November

Wednesday, 7 November

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