Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Twitter Engineering Summit

When Sara Haider invited me to be the keynote speaker at the April Twitter Engineering Summit, I thought there must be a mistake somewhere. Woah, keynote? Also, why would they want a non-Twitter person speak at a Twitter event?

We met over dinner to discuss the details, and she explained that the engineering summits are hosted by Twitter, but they are public events for the local tech community, so they want a mix of Twitter and non-Twitter speakers.

I was thrilled to be invited, but I wasn't sure what I should talk about. I told her my various conferences, and she was intrigued by the mobile caching talk I was giving at Philly ETE. We decided to have caching as the overall theme, and Sara arranged two more caching talks for the evening.

Yesterday I showed up at Twitter HQ 20 minutes before the event, ready to hook up my laptop. The very organized Sara already loaded up my slides, and had the clicker set up, ready to go. My preparation then became filling my stomach with food so I would not get hungry while I speak. Easy enough.

The speakers. Photo by Sara Haider

I would be the first one speaking, followed by Lien Mamitsuka, then Sarah Brown. Lien would cover caching concerns such as security and data corruption, and Sarah would talk about web caching.

Giving my talk. Photo by Lucas Dickey

I just gave this talk in Philadelphia last week, so I was very comfortable on stage. Even though it was a rerun, the audience made everything different. The San Francisco crowd laughed at different things than the Philadelphia crowd. They noticed different things when I pulled up my "spot the difference" slide. I found myself emphasize on different things as well, based on the nods I got from the audience. It was interesting.

Q&A time came after all three of us spoke. Sarah got most of the questions, followed by Lien, and I got none. I wonder if it was because Sarah went last, or my talk was so high-level that nobody had any questions? I got a few question at Philly ETE, mostly people who were already writing mobile apps and asked about their own situations. Maybe the SF crowd was more web-centric, that's why they had more questions for Sarah?

Afterwards it was mingle time. Overall it was a really fun event. I look forward to going to another Twitter Engineering Summit, probably as audience this time :)

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