The 10th GopherCon took place the last week of September and it was a blast. In this episode, we’re talking about our experiences at the conference from several different viewpoints. Angelica as a conference organizer, Johnny as an emcee and workshop instructor, Kaylyn as a speaker, and Kris as a regular attendee.
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|Chapter Number||Chapter Start Time||Chapter Title|
|1||00:00||Welcome to Go Time!|
|6||23:36||Café X: By Any Beans Necessary|
|8||37:09||Meetup Organizers Unite!|
|9||38:32||The RainGo Alliance Meetup|
|10||43:53||Everywhere all at once|
|11||51:04||Fangirling over Rebecca Bilbro|
|14||59:24||Kaylyn's 2nd unpop|
Play the audio to listen along while you enjoy the transcript. 🎧
Welcome to Go Time. I am your host, Kris Brandow, and on this week’s episode we are going to be talking about our experiences at the 10th GopherCon. That happened just a couple of weeks ago. I’m joined by a wonderful panel of folks; all of us had a slightly different experience of GopherCon, from many, many different viewpoints and vantage points, so we thought it’d be really fun to get an episode and just have a nice little recap and talk about our experiences. So joining me today as co-host, I have Angelica. How are you doing today, Angelica?
I’m doing very, very well. I’m very excited to be talking about GopherCon.
Yes, this is gonna be a lot of fun. And also joining me is Johnny Boursiquot. How are you doing today, Johnny?
Hello. I am - yeah, I’m doing good. We’ll get into that. Yeah. [laughter]
And joining us as a guest is a I think repeat guest here, Kaylyn Gibilterra. How are you doing today, Kaylyn?
I’m doing great. I feel like we have the version of Johnny that’s like nighttime audio reader of books type version of Johnny. I’m just excited for wherever this episode’s about to go.
If we’ve got one or two dad jokes, I’ll be happy, because – I’m sorry, the dad jokes when Johnny was MC-ing, tip-top-notch, if I do say so myself.
[laughs] We’re already off to a good start. I like this, I like this. Okay, so to kind of set the stage here, once again, I said GopherCon, the 10th GopherCon, which is a big milestone for conferences like this. It happened a couple of weeks ago… And so I’ll kind of briefly describe what each person’s kind of viewpoint of the conference was. Feel free, anybody, to jump in and add if I miss anything you think is important. So I’ll start with Angelica. Angelica, you were a co-organizer for this year’s conference, which is kind of a huge thing, working within the inside of the inside of the conference… And you also helped organize several of the meetups that we had this year, which is a new thing we did, which is super-exciting. I think we definitely talk about that later. And you also did some MC-ing of the lightning talks with Kaylyn.
I did, I did. Partner in crime with Kaylyn during the lightning talks. And I’m sure we’ll get into it, but she is probably the only reason I didn’t completely fudge it up.
Oh, this is gonna be so much fun. Okay. Johnny, you gave a workshop, a very popularly-attended workshop. You were also an MC, I believe on the second stage, and you co-organized one of the meetups… Just one, or did you co-organize multiple?
Well, co-organized is a very strong word. I was an advisor; I gave my two cents. The organizing really has to go to the other organizers [unintelligible 00:03:40.09] amongst them, I would say. If I’m downplaying the involvement of the others, I’m sorry. Basically, from my vantage point it was a lining up the ducks, and I’m sure the others are contributing with helping to find a venue, and et cetera, et cetera. So overall, it was a great event. It was basically geared for – I think it was called BIPOC, I think Black Indigenous People of Color. I think that was the title.
Wasn’t it like Unite? I think it was like Go Unite, or something.
Unite – yeah, it was United Go. I think that was – yeah, I think that was the more apt name for it. But yeah, I was just there, provided support and sort of my two cents, and attended the event, and sort of made some new friends. It was great.
Yeah. Okay. So you advised one of the meetups. And then Kaylyn, you gave a talk, so you were a speaker. You also co-organized one of the meetups, as well as, as we mentioned, MC-ing the lightning talks with Angelica.
Yeah, it was a lot of fun. So both doing the meetups - I ran the neurodivergent one, and lightning talks. I would say I’m more like I just followed Angelica around; she did like the heavy lifting, and then I just dropped like “It’s all gonna be fine, right?” And she’s like “I have 12 pages of notes” and I’m like “Cool. Awesome.” So I will say, I had a lot of fun, a good amount of it on Angelica’s shoulders, but it was a great time.
Excellent. And then, of course, there was me. And I think for the first time in many GopherCons, I was just a regular attendee. I wasn’t attending as a sponsor, I wasn’t giving a talk, or co-organizing… I think since the very first GopherCon, this is the first one I’ve attended where I was just a regular person; like, no special title or anything.
So you actually got to enjoy the –
Yeah, was it great? Was it still fun?
How was it? [laughter]
Having zero stress at a GopherCon? What is that like?
It was an experience, for sure. There were several people - which I definitely appreciated - that were just like “Hey, I recognize you.” And I’m like “Oh, you recognize my voice.” It was cool. Because it would often happen when I’m in a group and I just kind of mention this to people, I’m like “Oh, yeah, [unintelligible 00:05:56.24] and sometimes someone literally just walks up and is like “I know you are. I think I know you.” I’m like “You’ve probably heard my voice.” And they’re like “Yeah, I listen to Go Time.”
Well, if they get on our YouTube channel, they can start to see your side-eye, so…
Bombastick side-eye, yes. We can talk about Unite Go, but I had an interesting kind of reverse experience there, which was really cool. But anyway, I thought the way we can kind of go through this is just like kind of the chronology of how the conference went, and maybe even start with the pre-conference, because these things take a long time to plan… So Angelica, you were probably like months and months and months ago getting ready for everything, but… Where would you like to start?
I would also say, Kaylyn was also a partner in crime with me, from day one planning. Kaylyn’s basically been my best buddy through the GopherCon journey… So I’m sure, Kaylyn, you have things to say too, because I think this was your first time coming from day one helping plan, right?
Yeah. So it’s a new experience, and I definitely took it from a perspective of just being like “It’s all going to be great, right?” So I don’t know, Angelica’s gonna get a lot of credit, but it was my first time helping [unintelligible 00:07:10.17]
No, it was awesome. And I would say you did much better than I did; last year when I was asked to help organize – as Kaylyn and Johnny and Kris all now, I’m someone who likes to be planned. I like to be over-prepared. I come with a lot of notes and a lot of preparation. Some may say a little bit too much preparation… So last year, I came into the planning being like “Right, what’s the roadmap? What’s the timeline? When are our deliverables? When are our milestones for getting GopherCon done?” And the wonderful other organizers are very good at getting very organized amongst chaos, is the best way that I could put it. And I was not fully prepared for that. This year I think I was more ready for that…
But to answer your question directly, Kris, I think GopherCon all started with getting ready for “How do we want to do this this year? What do we want to do differently from last year when we were in Chicago?”, taking kind of cool learnings, etc. and then trying to start getting people to submit papers, etc. To me, it felt more streamlined than previous years, but that might just be because I only started organizing last year, and before that I was part of the CFP process, which is like a lot of reviewing papers, a lot of reading through things… But also, I just think that Heather specifically, who helped organize it, is just very good at saying “This is what we’re focusing on right now. Don’t care about anything else. This is the to-do thing for right now.” But I’d be more interested to hear your experience, Kaylyn, honestly, coming in.
Yeah, I think it was so much fun, first of all. Probably the biggest highlight for me was the meetups. I’ll start to segue into it a bit, but this was the first year we planned meetups at a conference level. And all the credit goes to Heather, and then Angelica was her right hand for organizing five meetups, I want to say it was… That was mildly stressful; I think stressful when you’re doing anything new for the first time, and you just don’t know, “Is this gonna be really lame? Or is no one gonna turn up?” etc. But I would say the best part for me was seeing Heather really put an emphasis on it and really believing this could be a pro for the whole conference. And then when we executed it, I certainly thought it was.
So that was a lot of fun for me, just to get to experience seeing new ideas brought to the conference, and how that could impact some of the community sides of it. So it was a lot of fun.
Oh, and speaking, too. I would say my other experience was stressful as hell. So on the other side, when I went to make my talk, I was shocked by how – I guess I forgot what it’s like to present in front of a large audience. I’ve done it previously, pre-COVID… But right before I went on stage, I honestly was drenched in sweat, just so nervous, panicking about what I was about to do… And I think it turned out okay, but I definitely forgot the experience of what it’s like to present up there.
[00:10:12.07] Yeah. I think you did great. I didn’t notice that you were sweating, or anything…
Yeah, I have a little video clip that a friend took, and I watched it the first minute, and I was like “I was definitely blacked out for that”, but even watching it myself, I felt like I couldn’t tell… Which is all a weird experience. I was like “Oh, I seem kind of okay.” But internally I was freaking out a lot. But it was fun.
And once the recordings come out, you should absolutely check out Kaylyn’s talk, because it was – I know none of us here are entirely unbiased, but it was very, very good; very, very easy to follow, especially for newbie gophers… Also gave a lot of information to those who maybe have been coding for a very, very long time… Spoiler alert, I feel like, Kaylyn if you feel comfortable, it would be awesome for you to talk a little bit about your talk, because I think it is actually helpful as a takeaway… But really about storytelling, and how the principles around storytelling can be applied to the way you think about your code… And it was awesome. I also know a very special someone who really liked it, Kaylyn, if you want to say who that is… He may have come up to you after your talk, and giving you massive props… And he was smiling like a Cheshire Cat throughout.
I hope he hears about this… Yeah, Russ Cox came after the talk. Well, actually, I went up to him, and I was like “Were you smiling or grimacing during my talk?” Because I was having a hard time – like, I didn’t want to look too much, because I wasn’t quite sure… I was like “80% I think he’s smiling, but there’s a 20% chance if I look really hard, I’ll like run off the stage.” So I asked him, and he was like “Oh, I don’t know.” And then he found me later and was like “Oh, I remember your talk. It was really great”, which was just super-flattering. And also, Russ Cox, the entire weekend was wearing these programmatically generated gopher shirts… So he literally has a program that creates this 3D smattering of randomly colored gophers, and he got an Etsy shop person to print them out for him… So I don’t know, Russ was just on point with his fashion… I felt so flattered when he complimented me… It was a great moment.
And for those of you who don’t know who Russ Cox is - maybe this is your first Go Time episode… I don’t know, who here on this call feels like they could give an adequate introduction to who he is? Because I feel like I might not give enough emphasis…
I can try and just gave it like a 30-second blurb on it. So basically, Russ Cox along with Robert Griesemer - and there are some other members of the Go team as well who have come onstage and talked about Go… I forgot the individual’s name; he primarily worked on the generic stuff. His name escapes me…
Ian Lance Taylor? Because it was Rob and Ian that worked on it together.
Yeah, they worked on it together, and actually presented that that year when we did the remote viewing of GopherCon. But yeah, these folks are the sort of primary caretakers, I would say, of the spec, of the Go language. So usually, before any major sort of changes, either to the language itself, or to the standard library, or like any sort of a – anything that is notable, a change to the language, Ross primarily usually puts up a blog post on his blog, where he has a very sort of, I would say, academic… I’m not sure if he would characterize it this way, but he has a very academic way of basically stating what the problem is, and the different constraints involved, and then how the different proposals that have come up to address the problem and what his take on it is… Which are excellent reads. Again, if you’re interested at all in language design, and sort of how you sort of reason through any changes to a language that you have hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people actually using it at this point… Which is a very hard thing to do, because you’re not going to please everybody; there’s always going to be some people who will think “Well, I don’t like this change” and some people who will say “Yes, I can’t wait to use this change”, and whatever. So it’s a very hard position to be in, but I think Russ and others on the Go team do a very good job of really sort of presenting, sort of making the case for one approach over the other.
[00:14:38.24] So again, if you don’t know who these people are, and you’re new to the Go community, do a quick search with your favorite search engine and find and follow these folks. Great quality content from them, be it blog posts or talks; you can go back and actually watch talks from them on the Gopher Academy channel on YouTube. It’s an excellent source of valuable information.
Yeah, I feel like they actually did exactly what you’ve just described, Johnny. So Russ was the opening keynote on the first day, and Rob Griesemer was the closing keynote. And I think they both, but especially Rob, did – I thought Rob did a great job of taking a challenging mathematical-oriented academic topic and working through how to present typed inferences, and how we decide if something is the same type. He did his talk at the closing day on Monday, and it was one of my favorite… One, because most of the time when I see like math and equations, I tend to stop listening… And I think he did a good job.
Eyes just glaze over… [laughs]
Yeah, right. And he was referencing that, and I think he did a good job of trying really hard to pull you back in, which was working for me… When he had some of the animations going, I was like “Thank you, thank you.” But most importantly, I would tell everybody to go watch this, because I went up and asked him afterwards - he has these incredible photos of Gophers… Angelica, I know you noticed this, too.
And I was hoping, just hoping against hope that they were his photos, and they are. So it is Rob going with these gophers out into the wild and like putting them on traffic cones, and taking very artsy photos…
I know, I saw that. I’m like “He definitely did that one himself.”
He did. I asked. [laughter] So they’re all original Rob art photos that are in his slides… And it was a well-done, academic-oriented talk… But that was a great one. I think they did a wonderful job this year at GopherCon with those.
For sure. I thought they were great, but I also thought just in general, the presence of the Go team at the conference this year was something that made me really, really happy. But not only that, but – and I think this is something that’s worth talking about more broadly about the conference… It felt like kind of Go team, kind of more senior gophers, very new gophers, and people who were new to software engineering, maybe this was their first software engineering conference - which I actually met three people that were like “This is my first software engineering conference.” And I was like “Great. You picked the right one.” Everyone was mingling, everyone was socializing, everyone was saying hi to each other… That sense of community just was so prevalent throughout the entire conference.
Incredible talks, but for me personally, that social aspect was the thing that made me the most happy about how it went this year… And seeing so many people saying “You know, I met this person yesterday”, and they’re like grabbing lunch together, having really deep-dive technical conversations together, talking about their love for felines, and how they love their cat… [laughs] And yes, I mean cat, not cats, Kaylyn…
[laughs] Good call.
…which - side note for those who were not there, and it’s not going to be on the recording, thank goodness… During the time that me and Kaylyn were doing the lightning talk someone had a rough time setting up their computer, so we had to kind of fill the space. And I spent about five minutes talking about the speaker’s cat, and Kaylyn jumps in and was like “Oh, yeah, what’s your favorite hat?” [laughter]
[00:18:06.02] She was like “He has a really colorful hat”, and I was like “That’s such an interesting thing to point out.” And she kept talking about it… So after that, I started reading – I could catch a glimpse of the subtitles as she was talking, so I tried to keep my eye –
Yeah, the captions. I would try to like check those out, too.
Yeah, Kaylyn had no idea what I was saying most times, and had to resort to the subtitles…
I was really excited. [laughs]
…to understand what I was saying.
Well, speaking of the captioning - as usual, always on point. And I actually met Stacy, who does the captioning on the main stage… And she’s just absolutely wonderful. But the way she just like loves to learn technical concepts is also phenomenal. She just is on top of everything, even all the weird stuff that we say. So it was definitely like a highlight. It’s a highlight every year, but it definitely was super-good this year.
5: Yeah. Truly, she was fast enough that there were times where I could read what Angelica was saying, and then respond as though I had heard her. [laughter] So it was great.
So Kris, you had a chance to talk to her… So how does that work in terms of captioning a live speaker? Does she have any assistance from AI, any AutoCorrecting? Or is it truly just her sitting and typing away?
Oh, I mean, this is like a very, very old practice called stenography. So she is like a stenographer, and there’s like a special phonetic keyboard that she uses, that’s just like all of the sounds that you kind of put together to form the words that people say… And there’s also like kind of shortcuts and hotkeys sort of situations. So whenever there’s a technical term, like pkg.go.dev, or AST, or something like that, she has like a special combination of keys she can push that’ll just pop that up on screen. So she’ll put all of those in there so that it actually – so she can like keep up with whatever people are saying. But it’s the same kind of technology that’s used in a court setting, when they’re kind of tracking what everybody in the courtroom is saying; it’s the same kind of base technology. Actually, it might be literally the same technology, just using a different – the output goes in a different place. Like instead of going to a court transcript, it goes on screen, so we can all read it.
Yeah, stenography is super-cool. It’s like a really, really interesting thing… Because yeah, I think a lot of people think “Oh, are they just like typing on a regular keyboard?” It’s like, no, there’s no way. No way you’d be able to type fast enough.
Interestingly enough, even – I’ve started noticing AI-based participants in meetings, and stuff… Basically, they capture what was said, and send out summaries, or transcripts and things… Like, I’ve tried reading through those things, I’m like “That tech is not there yet.” So the old school stenography type technology is still more accurate by like miles than the new sort of AI-driven stuff. And I’m sure it’ll catch up at some point, but… Not to deviate too far from the main topic here, but it’s one of those things where - to sort of bring it back full-circle to this experience, I think to me the face to face experience of actually meeting people that you know digitally, on the internet and whatnot… There’s something that I think meetings and technology and interaction on a GitHub issue, or a pull request, or all these things that are part of our day to day as engineers like these - there’s something about that face-to-face interaction where you just can’t get that in any other way. No matter what technology or tools, whatever leaps and bounds we make there, I think there’s always going to be a place for that face-to-face. Maybe hybrid is the future, but I think going to a GopherCon is an experience I sort of look forward to every year to this day, even after the 10th one.
For sure. And the way you interact with people in-person, versus on like a Slack or a Zoom call, and like the difference in that interaction for me is always very, very interesting. Like, meeting people who I’ve had loads of Zoom conversations with, loads of Slack conversations in-person for the first time, or them meeting me for the first time…
[00:22:21.19] I think there’s always that “Well, this is odd…” Or like “Oh, Angelica, I know you use a lot of emojis, but I didn’t know your energy would be the same in-person. It’s a little bit much.” [laughter] That’s the two things I get. They’re like “Oh, we thought you were like very enthusiastic, but we didn’t know that was like legitimately just on Slack.” And two, they’re like “You’re actually quite tall. I thought you were like four foot two.” Do I just give off short energy? Anyway…
But I agree with you, Johnny, it’s like a whole – also, I feel like I’ve lost, for whatever reason, my ability to feel comfortable with a lot of in-person… I was about to say flesh beings… [laughter]
If you look at it that way…
Now we’re all uncomfortable… [laughter]
No, like, in real life… I guess it’s not just in-person that I’m awkward. [laughter]
Okay, let’s like swiftly move on…
Yeah. So on that point too, on this whole being in-person and all that - I think the meetups were super-good for this… Because the interesting thing, too – because a lot of conferences will have happy hours, or those types of things… I was kind of fully expecting, it’s like “Oh, we’re just gonna have meetups at some bar somewhere, at the venue…” But no, actually – I think in some ways, the two meetups that needed to not just be like at a convenient location, weren’t… Which would be the RainGo meetup, which we actually had in the gay neighborhood of San Diego, which was absolutely fantastic and so much fun… Even though it was like a bit of a trek to get there… And the United Go one that we had for BIPOC was at a family-owned, black woman-run cafe that was deeply ingrained in that kind of neighborhood within San Diego, which was super-fantastic. The walk to the BIPOC meetup was humbling.
A little sketchy… [laughs]
Yeah, it was very humbling, because you’re not – I have a friend who lives in San Diego, and I told them about “Oh, yeah, we walked down Imperial Avenue”, and as soon as I said that, they were like “Oh, that was a choice…” I’m like “Okay, so this is like – we’re just like tourists that don’t know any better.” But it was really interesting, because the space that GopherCon is at - it’s on the water, so you see all of these yachts, and all of this wealth, and then you go like not even five minutes away, and you’re just walking through this neighborhood of –
Yeah. There’s a homeless center there, and like a little bit of a tent city… So it was like walking through that, and just that juxtaposition… But then entering a space of community, and someone that is – a space owned by someone who’s trying to do so much to help fix that… It was just really empowering and encouraging. I don’t know how you felt, Johnny, but it felt amazing to be in that space, and I felt the same way about the queer meetup as well.
For me, it was a sort of a stark reminder of sort of the haves and have-nots. I think it’s very easy – and I’m speaking from my own personal viewpoint here; it’s very easy when you’re not surrounded by poverty, or those who don’t have opportunities, or those who struggle in life, when you’re not surrounded by that stuff every day, it’s very easy to sort of be desensitized to it, and to always be like “I work hard. Why can’t these people work hard?” You have this sort of ego about you that you don’t even know you have, because you’re in your own world, and you’re carrying on, and you’re doing – for all intents and purposes, you’re doing everything you’re supposed to be doing et cetera, et cetera, and you don’t realize, but it’s not quite that simple. The world is not black and white. There’s shades of grey everywhere. It’s not as simple as we make things.
[00:26:22.20] So for me, walking through that neighborhood – I mean, literally, at some point I thought we were going to [unintelligible 00:26:25.28] to be honest, because I literally heard somebody say… Here we are, we even have one of us with a suitcase, because they have to go catch a flight in that same night… Here we are, a bunch of people, clearly who don’t belong in that neighborhood, we’re walking through tents on either side of the street… And then I’m hearing people literally say “What is this? Is this like a field trip, or something?” These people are there watching us walk through that neighborhood, and just like laying eyes on them… They felt some kind of way, and I could feel the tension; I could feel that they could feel some kind of way… And I understood why they felt that way. Obviously, I’ve never been in that situation, thankfully, but I could empathize with how they were feeling. Having people who are well-to-do by miles, walking by them, and literally not even acknowledging their existence… That was hard for me to sort of – you know, I was walking, and we were talking, and I started to notice that, and I got quiet for a bit, because I was just thinking, one, “Crap, if somebody makes a move on us here, I have to whip out my pork chop move, and see if I can defend myself or the people around me…” But most importantly, it was like “Okay, I understand to some degree why these folks are feeling sort of uncomfortable, and in turn we’re feeling uncomfortable.”
So I sat in that discomfort for a little bit, and for me I think it was a great reminder that we’re so much more well off than we think, usually. If you have a job in this industry, whether you were laid off and looking for something new… You’ve had a taste of what it’s like to effectively, basically, when it comes to these folks, to be wealthy. Like, you have so much more opportunity, you have so much going on, so much more are at your disposal if you are part of this community, part of this industry… And it’s something that we shouldn’t forget. And when we hold these meetups, and we have these events, and whether it’s a Go Bridge workshop to teach people otherwise who wouldn’t have the opportunity, or Women Who Go, or any endeavor of that type - you’re really creating opportunities and opening doors.
I’m not a huge fan of handouts. I never have been. I think you should work for everything you have. But it’s not about working hard, it’s about having the opportunity, the doors open; you still have to walk through it, but having the doors being made available to you, that you otherwise wouldn’t have at all. That’s what I think this was a reminder, to say hey, there are still a lot of people… We don’t come across them day to day, but there are still a lot of people out there looking for opportunities that even if we have opportunities, information alone cannot even reach them. Who knows, maybe there’s somebody who would love to know how to program in that community. Who knows. But where are they going to come across that information? It’s like, are they’re gonna show up in the same clothes they sleep in on the side of the road? I mean, all these kinds of things that go through your mind and you’re thinking “Man, the world is not black and white. It is not as simple as we make it.” And I think that sort of empathy - it’s something that you kind of have to spend time sitting with, and thinking about, and trying to find ways to open these doors. Anyways, I’m gonna get off my podium now.
[00:29:54.03] Yeah, I had a slightly different experience, because I wasn’t walking with the group, because I think the group had left slightly before me, so I was like trying to catch up… And I don’t know how we didn’t cross paths, but I wound up getting ahead of the group somehow, so I was just kind of walking through this neighborhood by myself… Which was really interesting, because I think what was going through my mind was just like “Oh, I can exist as me in this space, and these people won’t mess with me.” Because I also – you know, I live in New York City, I come across homeless encampments all over the place. There’s one a little bit down the block from me, that I walk by quite often. So I know how to move and navigate in those spaces… But it was just this very strong juxtaposition from where I was at the conference, with all of these people, with all of these gophers that it was like having so much fun, and then just be like “Oh, right, this is also part of the world that I’m from, in some ways, part of the community of my people, and there’s work to do to make things better.” Which - I feel like that journey to also get to the space of this black woman who’s doing just so much for that community directly was just like super-impactful, and kind of made you ask “Well, what could we be doing?” But in a way, it’s like “Well, we are already doing it by being there, by having the meetup there. By being in that space.”
Where did you say – what was the place again?
It was called Cafe X.
Cafe X. I am marking it down. My brother is moving to San Diego now, so I’m like “That’s where we’re going the next time.”
It was an incredible space, and it was an incredible time. And the other thing about – I think, specifically that; I think all of the meetups, but definitely the thing I took away from the queer meetup and from the BIPOC meetup is it just made this community at GopherCon, that I don’t know if it’s ever really existed before… Because usually, most years - I mean, Johnny, you’ve done that thing each year where you go around to every single black folk you could find to take a picture with them and be like “Here’s all the black folk…” And this year, we got to all be in a space together, and just – I’m probably not gonna say this right, but just like be in a space without white folk, really, where it’s just us and our community, and we’re the majority there, and we can just be ourselves and not have to worry about putting a mask on, or anything like that.
And I feel like the same thing happened at the queer meetup, where it was just like a whole bunch of queer gophers that were just able to be themselves, and didn’t have to put up any facades, or deal with any kind of awkward interactions for people that aren’t part of that community. And I thought that that was amazing. But what was also amazing about it was that that kind of continued throughout the rest of the conference, because a bunch of us just kept running into each other, and we kept hanging out with each other… And that was super-nice. It felt really good, in a way that I haven’t experienced at GopherCon before. Because usually, it’s just kind of like, you know, for lack of a better classification, a sea of cys white straight dudes, with a bunch of us kind of speckled throughout, or whatever. So that’s what I really appreciated about those meetups. Kaylyn, Angelica, I don’t know, how did you feel about the meetups that you attended?
It was so fun. Similar experience… So I ran the neurodivergent meetup with two Andys. Andy Walker and Andy [unintelligible 00:33:11.20] They’re both incredible gophers, and it was wonderful to just say “I need an Andy.” They were both around. But Andy [unintelligible 00:33:17.06] had – I can’t remember his exact verbiage for how he described it, but he was saying people have been talking about neurodivergent bars in some format, where the MVP of that would be to just turn the music down a lot, because it’s so loud in there… But the more viable product, I guess, that he was talking about was what we saw towards the end of the night; it was maybe about 40 gophers there. It became like pockets of special interests, where like everybody was bubbled together, going really deep on whatever thing they really liked… And I’m gonna be honest, I had a blast. And if bars were more like that, I would definitely go to them more often, and I feel like we would solve more problems… But that was a ton of fun. And I did have a lot of neurodivergent individuals come up after and say “That was so helpful, to know that people are around, to be able to talk about experiences…” But frankly - you know, we went to this loud sports bar and we were like “Can you just turn off the music?” And they were like “Yeah, no problem.” So that was a lot of fun, too. I don’t know, Angelica, you had a bunch of them, too.
[00:34:20.17] Yeah. So I regrettably – I think I only got to spend like 20 minutes at the neuro-spicy meetup, because I was doing… I helped make sure the meetups went smoothly, so I had to do like a mad four meetups in a night dash… But I would say, before we move off of the neuro-spicy meetup - Kaylyn, I would love to hear a little bit about the exercise that you did.
Because that was – I think that was a really… I don’t think it’s just for neuro-spicy, but I think in general, it was a really great icebreaker for perhaps people who don’t feel as comfortable going up to strangers and introducing themselves… You kind of provided a built-in icebreaker.
Yeah, so we did nametags. So you have your badge, but we did one where you took a piece of construction paper and folded it in half, wrote your name, and then you started to draw emojis of your interests. And for the first maybe like half of people that showed up, I was like “You have to do this. You’ve got to start drawing your interests. And if you can’t, you can write it out.” But just kind of forcing it. And I did have a lot of people say – the point was, if you walked up, one, you could kind of like [unintelligible 00:35:21.17] guess what the person’s interests were… But two, it gave some segues where you could be like “Oh, I see you like hiking. I see you like tennis.” It just opened up the conversation that way. And as we discussed it with the Andys, the goal was to really highlight the commonality of special interests in the group, and the fact that classified neurodivergent people tend to go really deep into things that they love… And that was sort of the goal, was to highlight some of that. It was really fun.
No, it was awesome. It was great.
I also really liked the juxtaposition of it being all these neuro-spicy folks in a sports bar… Because it was a very Californian sports bar… [laughter] That waiter was just the – I explained it to one of my friends, it was one of the most quintessential California.
It’s like “Cowabunga, dude.” You’re like “What is happening?!” [laughs]
Yeah. I was like “Are you gonna go serve after this? Because that seems like you’re about to go do.”
A hundred percent. He probably did. But when we showed up, he was so happy. He’s like “Are you neurodivergent? Over here.” And he was guiding people…
He was very, very kind, but I feel like also – I will say, when I walked, I was a little bit near the front, but a little later, and just to walk into a bar, and the first question… Like, some random man - I didn’t know he was a waiter. He comes up to me and goes “Are you neurodiverse?” And I was like “Um…” In any other context, I don’t know how I would react to this. But I was like “Um, yes…”
They were well-meaning, and after, like, someone comes out in the family, and they’re like “Oh, I love all of this.” That was the vibe. [laughs]
Yeah, that was definitely the vibe. I’ve never wanted to be an American and say “Bless your heart” so deeply, honestly… It was amazing. And I will say, just before that, there was a really good meetup that I would be amiss not to mention, which was the meetup of meetup organizers… Which was very, very meta. It was organized by Paul Barlow and Benji [unintelligible 00:37:21.13] Correct me if you know how to say his last name. But Benji - brilliant, wonderful, [unintelligible 00:37:29.15] He has the most gorgeous mustache you’ll ever see in your lives… And they had organized this wonderful meetup of people who either ran meetups across the US or internationally, or were really interested in starting their own. And that was really fun, just because there was a very core kind of goal behind that, which was one, “Let’s connect all these meetups together, maybe there’s an opportunity for collaborations.” But the one thing that I took away from that really excited me was there was three people who didn’t know each other, who all lived in LA, and were all really keen to start a meetup. And by the end of it, they were all sitting together over like a little bowl of fries, strategizing about how they were going to start this LA meetup. And the venue, one, was kind of a little bit more quiet, so people could really kind of hear each other, brainstorm… But also the way that they the event was set up, to be like “Yes, we’re socializing, but also, this is an opportunity to get to know your other meetup organizers”, I think was a great framing. And I thought it went really well. So that was awesome.
[00:38:32.03] And then - yeah, as you said, Kris… I’m so happy, Kris, that you had such a good time at the RainGo Alliance meetup. So the RainGo Alliance meetup was for the queer community. It was organized by myself, Benjamin Bryan, Jeffrey Cooke, and Tom Lions was at the Hillcrest Brewery in Hillcrest. Gay-owned establishment, they were wonderfully hospitable… And honestly, it was my second favorite part of the conference, second only to lightning talks with Kaylyn. But it was great, for the exact reason you said, Kris; it was a very, truly psychologically safe, queer-safe space. Everyone seemed very relaxed, very open, it was a very respectful area… And it was a space where – I’m sure, Kris, you can speak more to this as well… I feel like in some queer spaces that are served up at conferences, there’s almost like a hesitancy to be like “So what are you…?” Whereas this, it was just kind of like we walked in, it was very chill… If people wanted to self-identify, they could; if they didn’t, it was chill beans. It was just assumed, like, everyone’s here to be themselves, and live their best lives, and make some new friends. And I personally have never felt so comfortable in like a “professional space”. Because I am someone who holds my identity pretty like close to the chest in professional settings… Like, I don’t go around shouting to the hills, “Hey, I’m a queer woman, living my best work life.” But this was the first time that I had really felt like “Okay, cool, maybe I can bring a little bit more of myself into a professional situation.” And that was huge. So thank you, GopherCon. Bringing my real self to the workplace.
If people weren’t feeling FOMO before we described all these meetups, I hope they are now… I’m feeling FOMO. I didn’t get to go to the queer meetup, and I’m like “Oh, man…!” So it was fun.
It was so wonderful just like walking in, a) just to, once again, be in like a gay neighborhood, at a gay bar… Just being like “Okay, this is cool.” But then also just seeing like the diversity of gophers that were there. Because it wasn’t also just like, I don’t know, a bunch of white gay dudes, or something like that. It was like a whole bunch of different queer people, which I’ve found to be absolutely fantastic. I think that says something about kind of the diversity of the queer folks that are gophers and come to GopherCon. But it was also just like, as you were saying, Angelica, we were all just like – there wasn’t any awkward name tagging, or like identifying… Because I just asked people; I was just like “Oh, hey, how do you identify?” People just were completely open; it was just kind of like the regular queer experience. It wasn’t the “Oh, I’m in a queer space, within a larger space.” It’s like “No, no, this is just a queer space”, which was really fantastic.
And then I think after their neuro-spicy meetup ended, a bunch of those folks came as well, and it was just interesting to have them all integrate in. And it wasn’t awkward at all. We all got a little bit of queer time with just the queer folks, which was fantastic, and then we got to expand the group out a little bit, and have allies there as well… And it was just an incredibly wonderful time.
The only thing I’m sad about is that the bar closed at 9pm, for some reason… And then the next bar we went out to closed at 10pm, and I was like “Where am I?” I’m used to New York City, where it’s like 4am; like, maybe you close at 3:30… So the only sad part was that it ended so early. But the space and the energy was just absolutely fantastic. And once again, we kept a whole bunch – I think a group of those queer folks, we just kind of kept running into each other over the course of the conference, and just kept hanging out. That was really, really amazing.
[00:42:15.29] Yeah. I think in general the meetups were a massive add to the conference experience. I think all of us have spoken about our experiences at the meetups, and they were really amazing to be at… I would also say, for anyone listening to this episode before the next GopherCon, or if you’re watching live on YouTube, if there are any meetups that you would like to see next year… I know, Kaylyn, we’ve already started talking about this a bit… We’re really enthusiastic; we’re going to do the same meetups next year, but we want to expand and add some more, because we acknowledge that not everyone’s kind of identity or group was represented in the meetups that we organized this year… So if you do have any suggestions, please reach out on Gopher Slack, if you’re on the GopherCon channel; or you can reach out to Go Time, and like on this episode, and see if you can suggest something… Because we really want to start expanding that social aspect, and creating these safe spaces for whatever identities you might identify with.
I will say, the one thing that I think we’re gonna have to think through is scheduling… Because we tried our best to not have meetups overlap, to really enable people - you know, if you identify with multiple groups, you are able to kind of skip around… As someone who went to those, like, four in the night, I don’t think I got the most out of each one… So I think we might think through how we can kind of schedule through – maybe it’s like we do a breakfast together, or we do a group lunch maybe on the first day… But we’ll look out for more information on that, and I promise, those who are feeling FOMO, all the more reason to come to Chicago next year.
Oh, it’s gonna be so much fun in Chicago. Alright… So we’ve talked about meetups for a bit… What else of the GopherCon experience did y’all – I know, Angelica, you were everywhere, all at once. Especially in the first couple of days, you were just like bouncing all over, or like setting everything up…
Yeah, I feel like I was running around like a headless chicken. I would say, this is not just representative of GopherCon. I just tend to live my life a little bit like that. But in terms of GopherCon - yeah, I mean, so as you know, I helped organize a lot of it. I also felt a very deep need to check in with some of our first-time speakers, and those who had expressed they were like nervous about their talks… As well as the fact that I had to make sure I was on point for Kaylyn and me doing lightning talks. So I wrote a very exorbitant list of like names of people, short descriptions, fun facts.
I’m trying to think through how to combat this next year, but I feel like at GopherCon I feel such a need to make sure there is never anyone who is like left in a corner, chilling, who can’t engage… So I kind of take it upon myself to buzz around, and if I see anyone who looks like they’re on their own, on their laptop… But not deeply engaged in their laptop, because they might be working, but kind of you can see them like looking up and being like “What’s going on?” I’m like “Hello! I’m Angelica. Are you excited? How are you?”
I just pictured how a gopher like that is, like hiding behind your laptop and then peeking above to be like “What’s happening?” That was a very gopher-like move…
Just because – and I’d love to hear other people’s experiences, because I know you all do this too, and I saw you doing it at the meetups, and at the conference, kind of going up to people and trying to make sure they felt comfortable… But I feel this deep responsibility at events like GopherCon to ensure that everyone feels welcome, feels like it’s a space they can feel comfortable in no matter how new, old, experienced they are in the Go language… No matter if they’re sitting and watching a talk and they have no idea what’s going on, no matter if they’re really engaged and excited about the talk… Just because – and I think I’ve mentioned this in a number of episodes; I feel like finding a Go community that is so inclusive and welcoming was the main reason I got so excited was because, you know, you go into a space… Like, for me - never written a line of code in my life. I was like “What is this Go thing?” and I got welcomed, despite my lack of experience.
[00:46:30.08] And I feel like my voice, my presence is as valued as, you know, Russ Cox, or anyone else on the Go team. And I want to make sure everyone feels that way, because it’s such a great feeling, especially for those who maybe feel like they’re not experienced enough, they’re getting that impostor syndrome… If I see any woman on their own, you best believe I’m going to be their best friend…
But yeah, so that does tend to present itself as me just buzzing around, trying to find people, make friends with them, and then find someone I already know, and then connect them, and get them talking, and then slowly make my exit to bounce somewhere else.
Yeah. I feel like it’s a good sign for our community as a whole as well… So I think there were like a few years where the Go community was in this really weird spot, where it felt like there were, to a little degree, like haves and have-nots. It was like “Oh, there’s those people over there, and they’re all special.” It was very cliquy. And I feel like that has dissipated over the years. I feel like we are more of like a cohesive group. And I think developing that out more is going to be really important as we try and be a kind of a larger language that is very inclusive to people… Because, you know, I have said this multiple times, but my first programming environment was Drupal, and I always remember just how diverse so many of those people spaces were. I remember going – like, when we started up doing the monthly meetup, it was just like people from all walks of life. And there was just this – you know, sometimes people would get up there and they’d give a talk, and it would absolutely bomb, but everybody would be super-polite, everybody would be nice and super-supportive and give feedback… And I’ve always wanted to have that in the Go community, because I think that will make it so much of a better language overall… And I felt like this year’s GopherCon was like a step in that direction, a step to like building out that community that is more kind of cohesive, and inclusive of as many people as possible. And equalizing. Because even for me personally, it’s just like, you know, Go Time is a popular podcast, so I didn’t really know what to expect as I’m like walking around… Is it just like “Do I still get to be an anonymous person?” And for the most part, I got to be an anonymous person, which was nice.
Just not an anonymous voice.
Yeah, yeah. Except for when people heard me talking, and they’d be like “Hey…! Do I know you?” Oh, there was one [unintelligible 00:48:46.25] thing that happened though at the United Go meetup, where I was talking to one of the guys there, Matthew… And we were just having a chat, and I was like “Hey, I’m on Go Time.” Because what had happened is there was a pile of books on the table, and someone else who listens to the podcast was like “Oh, Kris, you should do a reading, because you have like this podcast voice.” And I was like “Uhh…” But you know, this other guy I was talking to, he’s like “Oh, you’re a podcaster? What podcast are you on?” “Oh, I’m on Go Time.” “Oh, that’s so cool. Hey, I listened to Go Time.” I’m like “Oh, okay.” “But I haven’t heard you before.” It’s like “Oh, okay. Well, there’s a whole bunch of us… Maybe you just weren’t on the episodes I’ve been on…” Somehow… Because I’ve been on like every episode in the last two months, but… I was like “Yeah, maybe you haven’t.” And then we’re still talking, and he’s like “Oh, yeah, I really liked the opinion of that guy when he said that tech debt is malpractice…” And I was like “Oh, that’s me. I said that.” And he looked at me, he looked at my badge, he was like “Oh, you’re Kris!” I was like “Yeah, I’m Kris.” It was just like this kind of wonderful moment, because for a bit there it was just like, yeah, even someone who listened to the podcast doesn’t really know who we are sometimes. And there’s a lot of people like that, I think, that just have the podcast on when they’re mowing the lawn, or doing the dishes, or whatever, and they don’t watch us live on YouTube… Like, our dedicated watchers right now, I think we have both Thomas and Dylan who are watching along… But yeah, they never see our faces, they only hear our voices… Which is another interesting and strange thing. But it was just very nice to be in that space and get to meet people from these different perspectives, that have different, you know – I don’t really know where I’m going with this, but like different ways of knowing who we are, but we still kind of get to be… Like, it didn’t feel weird. It didn’t feel like I was a celebrity walking around, because I absolutely don’t want that. I just want to be a normal, regular gopher, like everybody else. Not special.
[00:50:39.12] But that was really nice… And I feel like even interacting with the Go team was like that. People would go up to like the Google booth, and be like “Oh, hi, who are you?” to like Robert Griesemer, or Ian, or Ross. They’re like “Oh, cool. Can I just get a T-shirt?” and then go. And it’s just like “Oh, man… You don’t know who you’ve just talked to… But also, it’s really cool that you don’t know who you just talked to, and you just had this super-normal interaction with them.”
For sure. I have to try my very best not to fangirl whenever I see Rebecca Bilbro… Because - shameless plug - she gave an amazing talk. She did a talk last year, she did a talk this year called “A witch’s guide to Go: three chants to enchant your software.” The video, you should watch; one, for the content, two for the amazing delivery, but three for the amazing outfit that she wore.
But Rebecca Bilbro, if you don’t know who she is, is like OG data scientist, incredibly clever, knows how to bring across data science concepts extremely well, in a really – if you know nothing about data science, she will explain it to you in a way that is digestible, easy to process, easy to understand. She’s also just a wonderful human being. But I would say in general, one of the things - I guess I’m kind of switching - about the talks we had this year is that we had a number of people like Rebecca, all the way through to first-time speakers, and I was overall so impressed by the succinctness and the clarity in which people were bringing very technical concepts to the audience. And I don’t know how you all felt, but I personally felt like they were accessible from all levels of expertise in Go, in a way that – in past years there have been some brilliant talks, but honestly, as like a preferably newer gopher personally… Like, it went slightly over my head; I was like “This is too technical for me. A lot of people, I’m sure, love this talk, but I don’t understand it…”, this year, I’ve found myself feeling like “Okay, these are some really interesting skills, tools that are being given…”, Kaylyn did this, “that anyone can apply to their work.”
Yeah. Actually, we mentioned Dylan is watching this show live… He left a comment in our Slack. I don’t know how we manage this as organizers picking the talks, but I feel like five or six talks all sort of referenced this how we speak about Go, how we make Go more readable, how we write it so others can maintain it… Dylan’s talk was one of them, Rebecca, Patricio talked about it, I talked about it… I can’t wait to go – like, maybe we can make a little playlist of how you can think and write about your Go code. And it reminded me, if I can go on a little bit of a tangent for my talk - is that cool? Like 30 seconds… Alright, nice. So as I was blacked out at the beginning, for that first five minutes, I got to five minutes and I knew I was supposed to be at 12. But I didn’t know what part I had skipped. And I was trying to remember for like the rest of the talk, and figure it out… I did not succeed, but I remember it after the fact, when people asked me questions.
And the story is kind of cool. It was from the last GopherCon in San Diego, in 2019… I don’t know if you all remember, but Microsoft was there, and they were giving out those gopher beach towels… And first of all, best swag I have ever received. I don’t know, Microsoft, if you hear this…
I still have it.
[00:53:58.19] Bring them back. Bring them to Chicago. Actually, they have a great beach in the summer. Bring them to Chicago. But I was there, they did a coding challenge… I think it was like Azure-related, but they had Go code on… It was with Aditya Mukherjee and Kris Nova. And [unintelligible 00:54:10.01] bring this up on the stage, particularly to highlight Kris… But we were there, and we were scanning through the code, and I think one person was moving the mouse; they scrolled to a particular spot, and we all were like “Go up on the screen.” And so like two things happened there. One, I felt amazing, because to be with Aditya and Kris, who were like incredible developers, and so skilled, I was like “Wow, how cool. I have the same instinct they had.” But then two, since then it’s been in my mind, like “Why did we have that instinct?” Because it was completely new code, as we hadn’t seen it before. Why did we all think this function would be above the one we just saw randomly flash in front of us? And that was what got me thinking about how there’s clearly this story-like framework for the code, that we all kind to mentally have, but we don’t necessarily discuss… So I kind of want to share that piece for one context about why I came up with storytelling in Go. But then two, I think it showed up throughout the entire conference; four or five other talks brought it up, which I thought was really cool. We all clearly were on the same page. We didn’t even try… [laughs]
Yeah. I feel like maybe once the talks come out on YouTube, we can do another episode of Go Time where we kind of go over our favorite talks, and maybe summarize them, and then give some good audience recommendations… Because we don’t have time to do that now, but also, there’s no way for people to watch, so…
It would be us like teasing them with like “Hey, there was this great talk that you have no way to consume. Sorry.” [laughter] But yes, we are coming toward the end of the episode… So before we move on to unpopular opinions, does anybody have any last thing they want to say about their GopherCon conference experience this year?
It was so fun. I think most of the attendees were first timers. Kris, you made me think of that, which was really cool. Not new to Go, but new to the conference. And to get that community feel I think was just like – that’s how I would summarize it… Getting that with all new people was so cool.
I think that’s great. GopherCon next year will be in July, so it’s coming up very quickly, July 7th through 11th, I believe… Is that right, Angelica?
That sounds right to me. But don’t quote me. Yes, early July, I believe. We’ll be opening a call for papers I think late January, early Feb. So if you have an idea that you’ve been thinking about - shameless pitch - please start putting together your paper, start brainstorming with your friends, start thinking about what you might want to present… Workshops and talks. Because those call for papers are probably going to creep up to it pretty quick, given that the holidays are coming up, too… And if you ever want to brainstorm - I will speak only for myself, but I’m sure other panelists here today and guests will be open, too… Feel free to slack me on Gopher Slack, and I’m happy to always brainstorm ideas with you, chat through ideas… Even if you think it’s a bad idea, I guarantee you - give us like half an hour to brainstorm it through and we can make it amazing. No bad ideas.
Yeah. I think that’s great. On to our next segment of unpopular opinions.
Alright, unpopular opinions. Kaylyn, do you have an unpopular opinion?
A popular opinion, I hope, and then an unpopular one… What was Johnny’s quote that we’ve found at the beginning of the sound clip? It was like “Kill your dreams.”
Don’t bother having dreams.
Yes. [laughs] I think “Don’t bother having dreams” should go into the Unpopular Opinions song, because I think it fits right in there. I don’t think that’s unpopular; I hope that’s popular.
If somebody doesn’t have the context of the full quote, I sound so evil… [laughter]
Exactly, exactly. Oh, man… That’s funny.
So that’s your popular opinion. What’s your unpopular opinion?
Could you say a bit more? I’m like intrigued. Is it like readability? What has improved? Because I too tried it out back in the day, and I was like “Okay, I can do this, but… Hm. Go is better.”
Yeah, no, Go is better, and it’s still better… But I think they’ve been – that’s also a popular…
This is Go Time, not JS Party.
Well, we’ll poll that with our audience and we’ll see - is it popular, is it unpopular? Angelica. Unpopular opinion.
You’ve put me on the spot here. I didn’t think I was gonna be asked. I can come up with one on the fly… But it’s not going to be Go related, or GopherCon related. It’s going to be random.
They do not have to be Go, or GopherCon related.
Okay. It just popped into my brain… Okay, so my unpopular opinion/opinion that may be popular is that large glasses are the most underrated form of protection and comfort that is out there. I say that as someone who wears very large, thick glasses most of the time. And for some unbeknownst reason, today on Go Time, when I had also earlier today a big meeting, I decided to discard my shield… And therefore, I’m feeling innately uncomfortable. Therefore, I am excited to replace my armor and feel secure again, with my glasses. [laughter]
Every word, in your opinion, I didn’t know what the next word was gonna be… [laughter]
Nor did I…
I love it.
Slash everyone should go to at least one improv class, lest they be in this situation.
Large classes are better, because they provide more protection. Okay. Okay.
Just like full-on safety goggles.
We will poll that. Next thing you know, Angela’s gonna be wearing like the Apple Vision Pro around, because like “The biggest glasses…!” No.
I mean, if I could find bigger glasses, I would… But my nose is not big enough to support the weight of my blindness, so…
Johnny, do you have an unpopular opinion?
[01:01:42.29] I do… And it stems from having obviously run a workshop at GopherCon, I think for the last five or six years. They keep asking me back, so I think I’m doing something right, hopefully… But yeah, having done these workshops, my opinion - whether it’s unpopular or not we will see… But my opinion is that if you have a workshop where none of the participants actually get to do hands-on stuff, that’s a seminar, not a workshop. If you’re doing most of the talking, and most of the demonstration, that’s a seminar. People are just sitting there and watching you - that’s not a workshop. So know and disclose what it is that you’re going to – what you’re going to be putting on. Is it a seminar, where they just listen? Or are they actually going to be learning and doing stuff with the information that they’re learning from you at the time? So yeah, workshops, not seminars. And I’m a big fan of workshops, hands-on; very hands-on. Not the “Let me talk at you for four to eight hours” thing.
I don’t know, I feel like that’s probably gonna be popular, Johnny… [unintelligible 01:02:49.13] with unpopular opinions.
Yeah, whoever’s workshop/seminar Johnny walked into at GopherCon - that’s who’s gonna find it unpopular. [laughter]
It’s like Bill Kennedy. He’s like “Bill, you don’t even…” [laughter] “Why are you even here?”
Oh, my gosh… I would say, on the workshop topic, in my order - and I have ranked all the moments at GopherCon in order… I obviously had Kaylyn and me lightning talks, RainGo Alliance… My second-best moment was walking into Johnny’s workshop… Because it was packed, everyone was so engaged… I saw smiles, I saw interaction between individuals… Sometimes you walk into a workshop - no, I’m not referencing anyone specific, before you start grilling me - and it’s a little bit dry, it’s a little bit… Like, the atmosphere is not there. It doesn’t feel like it’s an exciting environment of learning. Whereas in Johnny’s workshop, I walked in, and - Johnny’s amazing, always going to be amazing… But like, the number of people in combination with Johnny’s ability to really bring everyone along for the ride and make everyone in the room feel included, feel supported, is a skill that just needs to be upped in a public forum like a podcast.
So if you ever have a chance to go to one of Johnny’s workshops, please jump at that opportunity. I’ve said this about seven times, and I feel like I’m gonna say it every time I have the opportunity - the reason I am in Go is because I went to a workshop that Johnny was running. That is THE primary reason, and the only reason that I was like “Oh, this Go thing, I love it.” So Johnny, you can thank [unintelligible 01:04:30.07] that was the reason I am in the Go community. So…
Wow, that is amazing. Thank you for that.
My job is done. My job is done.
Your job is complete, Johnny.
If I change careers and go into PR, I’m gonna call you. [laughter]
Teach me, teach me! [laughter]
Okay. Well, I have an unpopular opinion… Maybe this will be unpopular or maybe it won’t be. So I watched the opening keynote, Russ’es talk, where he was going about “This is how we’re going to make Go better. We’re going to have this really cool way of getting data from people.” I felt that whole system technologically was amazing. But my unpopular opinion is we really need to stop having such a heavy emphasis on data. I feel like we are running headfirst at data, and we’re using data as the way to understand what it is this – and this is more than just Go, but it happens a lot in Go. We’re using data to figure out “Well, what is the thing we should do next? Oh, well, our data is not saying that we should do this thing”, and I’ve seen it come up a number of times in the Go community, where there’s pain that people are feeling, and then the rejection of that pain has been “Well, our data says something differently.” And I feel like that’s quite harmful to a community as a whole, and I feel like that’s also a lack of leadership ability. Part of being a leader is being able to - and this is not specifically about Russ, this is in general. [laughter] This is not specifically about Russ. I will [unintelligible 01:05:52.05]
But like, he is turning up… [laughs]
I was gonna like “Bookmark Jerod, cut.” [laughter]
This is not specifically about Russ Cox… This is about my frustration – because it happens in other programming communities as well. This is not just Go. And in companies as well. There’s just like a very, very heavy reliance on data, and acquiring data. And I think the problem with that is that the main way you acquire data is by looking at what your users are doing. But your users are looking at you to understand what to do. So now you’ve created a giant feedback loop, where you’re following each other over and over and over, and like how are you supposed to break out of that? How are you supposed to go find new things that you want to do, and new places you want to explore?
So I think in general, our heavy emphasis on data is going in the wrong direction, and we need to find a better direction. I think that is doing more of that, you know, grassroots talking to people, really getting a vibe and a feel, doing that kind of product management-level inquiry and understanding and thinking through and processing the data, and conversations you have with people.
So I think it’s less about collecting raw data and just running algorithms over it, and more about really getting into that community. And once again, I think GopherCon this year was an excellent place for that. The Go team was super-open to just come talk to random people. So I feel like we’re already heading in that direction, especially with the great team that does our surveys, and the way that they interpret that data, and the way that they very carefully position that data, and all of that… But yeah, that’s my unpopular opinions. I just think less emphasis on data, more qualitative instead of quantitative things.
You’ll be turning off all telemetry attempts? Like “No. No. Talk to me.” [laughs]
Yeah, call up people and say, “Hey, I see you’ve been using… Yeah, why don’t you tell me how you feel about how you’ve been using the software? Because I don’t rely on your data. I don’t like your data.” [laughter]
It’s like, “Uh, your data…” I mean, because part of it too is just like “Oh, we have this new telemetry stuff”, and I’m just like “Oh, great. That’s gonna be really wonderful for everybody that doesn’t work in a big enterprise.” Because big enterprise is gonna be like “You want to send who? What? No! No, no…” Same thing with like Copilot at big enterprises. They’re just like “You want to use AI? We don’t understand any of the legal ramifications of using this stuff. Absolutely not, you’re not going to use that. Use that, you get fired.” And I think that similar thing’s gonna happen if you’re just like pushing data out to this big publicly-available thing. Even if it is very well-designed data, sometimes legal teams and other higher-ups don’t understand the technical aspects of things. So I think in addition to doing things like this telemetry, we also need to build up that robustness of going out and just chatting with people, and doing kind of what Russ says in his talk, like making sure it’s a good random selection of people, not just people who will come and talk to you about things.
That’s the job of developer advocates, is it not?
Yeah, yeah. I think that’s the job of developer advocates… And just community people. I think we did for a while have some really great community people, and…
Yeah, we don’t anymore. [laughter] I would really like it if we could get those people back. They’re good people.
Just kidding, just kidding… We say having talked about being community people the whole weekend at GopherCon… [laughs]
It’s a lot of this stuff. But that’s just my unpopular – I just, I would like it if we didn’t have such a heavy emphasis on data. It’s frustrating… Especially when it’s used to shut down other conversations, When it’s like “No, your experience doesn’t matter, because my data says this.” If there was one thing about my unpopular opinion, it’s that. That is not good. Don’t do that. Stop doing that. Don’t shoot down people’s experience because you have data that says otherwise. Even if that might be true. That’s also kind of –
If I may offer a counterpoint…
Go for it.
[01:09:51.03] Obviously, I don’t know what the impetus is, or what the primary reasons are for collecting data. I can only assume that we’re trying to get enough inputs to try and figure out what most people’s situation is going to be. And obviously, by most, that by definition excludes some. So if most people that are using a particular tool, or whatever the case may be - and this goes beyond our language and whatnot; it goes with pretty much everything… As you collect data, I agree that it should point you in a direction. And perhaps in some cases it’s clear cut, in other cases what I think you’re arguing for is that the data alone shouldn’t be the only input to the decision. It should be a part. I guess perhaps where we might differ in the way we see it is how much.
So I’m thinking that in the absence of being able to sort of call up – like I was jokingly saying before, call somebody and say, “Hey, how do you feel about this thing?” And basically, you can’t really scale a phone call or a hallway conversation at a conference. There’s only so much of that you can do. Certainly, having developer advocates, certainly having community people, certainly having that foot on the ground and listening sort of adds flavor. But what’s gonna give you the most insight, at least based on what people use or don’t use, or do or don’t do, is going to be that data.
So I agree with you to some degree, but I think in the absence of that foot on the ground sort of feedback gathering, the best thing you may have at any given time is put something out there and collect some data, and make some decisions, and see what happens.
Yeah. I’m by no means saying that we shouldn’t have any data. Once again, I think that telemetry thing that they’re going to do is fantastic. I think the technical design of it is pretty amazing. I love that they’re gonna have the data open to everybody to do processing, and all of that. I’ve just noticed, really over my whole career, that we tend to fixate on that and seeing it as some sort of objective thing. And that’s the thing that I’m kind of pushing back on, is this idea that, “Okay, we’ve got–” Like, data is just one of many tools, and we need to develop out all of our other tools in the same way we develop our data tools. And you know, we just haven’t been doing that, which is why I have this unpopular opinion, and why it’s like frustrating.
In some way, I feel like I need to push back harder on the data. Because we’re not going to stop collecting data. I’m not foolish; we are going to be collecting more and more data, for Go specifically. We’re still going to do surveys, we’re going to have this telemetry stuff, I’m sure they’re gonna have many, many, many more things… It’s one of those situations where it’s like pushing back on us collecting data is not going to stop us from collecting data. But it might help perhaps develop out some more developer advocacy, and perhaps develop and foster that outside of Google as well. I don’t think this should be on Google, or the Go team, to do this work. I think it should be on us as a community as a whole to do this work, and for people to be thinking more widely about this. Because I think too there might be people that don’t want to do this, and they’re just like “Well, Google’s collecting all the data already. What can I do?” It’s like “Well, there’s probably a lot you can do.” Talking to people, and funneling information to the right channels, going to GopherCon, talking to the Go team about your ideas, or just other people… But yeah, for my short snippet unpopular opinion: less data, more talking to people, please.
And then my snippet retort is “Not less data, just more different kinds of data.” [laughter]
Angelica, it’s supposed to be unpopular. If I add too much nuance, then it won’t be unpopular.
Yeah, but it should also be logical and truly held. Like, do you actually believe that we should have no data?
Now the product manager is like “Absolutely not!” [laughs] She’s triggered. Kris, it’s an unpopular opinion. She’s triggered. She’s like about to fight. With her glasses. Wait until she puts them on.
Yeah, wait until she puts them on.
Let me find them! [laughter]
I didn’t say no data, I said less data. Right?
Did you find them? I’m ready for like a full shield of glasses to like –
No, I left them in my bathroom…
Here comes Angelica, “This is Sparta!” [laughter]
I feel the need to use this clip now… “This episode is wild.” That feels like it fits. Okay. Well, that unpopular opinion is just – that’s a whole episode in and of itself.
Yes. I challenge you, Kris. Let’s co-host.
We’ll have a product-off of product strategy, which [unintelligible 01:14:45.19] But again, I –
I may or may not have the upper hand, but it’s fine.
…I am building products now too, so…
We’ll see. Alright, well, thank you, Kaylyn, for joining us…
…on this wild ride. It was wonderful having you, as always. And thank you, Johnny and Angelica, for being my ever amazing co-hosts.
Pleasure was all ours.
And thank you, listener, for being on this wild ride with us. We hope you will return for more great content, and also more of my unhinged unpopular opinions.
Our transcripts are open source on GitHub. Improvements are welcome. 💚