Go Time – Episode #67

Supporting the Go community

with Cassandra Salisbury

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Cassandra Salisbury (the Go core team’s newest member) joined Carlisia (who’s hosting all by herself) to talk about getting to know the Go community around the world, organizing meetups, empowering leaders, and what’s in store for the future.



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Hello, everybody. Welcome to GoTime. This is episode number 67, and today we have Cassandra Salisbury - I don’t know if I said your last name correctly, Cassandra… Did I?

You did, yes. [laughs] Hi, everyone.

Welcome to the show, welcome everybody. Let’s get the show started. Cassandra, why don’t you let us know where have you been in the past, what are you up to now, how you got involved with the Go community, just to get an intro going here, so people will know who you are.

Yeah, so my name is Cassandra, I have been at Google on the Go team for three whole months now, and I’m just getting started with being a program manager for developer relations and kind of scaling out the developer relations team with Steve Francia.

Previously, I’ve worked in startups. I’ve been at a bunch of Go shops where primary technologies were focused on developers… And yeah, my background is in developer marketing and developer relations.

That is super cool… I remember when you joined Google and I cannot believe you spent three months already.

I know, [unintelligible 00:02:06.22]

So your title is program manager and developer relations… Tell us what that is. What are you doing?

Oh, that’s such a good question… What is it? I think part of it is figuring out what that is exactly. Right now we have a huge community, an ever-growing community, and I think we can go into some of those stats even later. But when I first started to get involved in the Go community a few years ago, Carlisia, you actually invited me to join Go Bridge, I run GoSF (San Francisco meetup), and I’ve done GopherFest, which is a conference… And I noticed that there was a lot of need for organization within the community itself, so about a year ago when I got involved with the community outreach working group there was a lot of plans for all the things that could be done to help enable conference organizers to help support meetup organizers to make the community more inclusive.

Soon, we realized that “Wow, this is so much that it probably is actually a full-time job.” That is what I’m doing as part of the team now. I’m taking a lot of these programs that I started as a community member and have worked on with many of you out there, and then bringing them to the Go team, to Google as organized programs that are supported and regulated, and made easily accessible. I guess that’s kind of what I’m working on. [laughs] It’s not super specific, and we can actually get into some specifics, but I am there to support the community in whatever ways are necessary at the time.

[04:02] Yeah, to me that sounds fantastic. Instead of having a rigid job definition, you’re trying to find out the community needs… At least it sounds like that to me. And that’s brilliant.

Absolutely. The community needs a lot. We’re now looking at about 1.5 million Go users worldwide; enterprises are picking Go up left and right. The type of infrastructures that are being supported by Go is absolutely insane, so it needs a lot of work and support and great people.

This is one reason why I was really looking forward to having you on the show today - one, because you are amazing, and another is because Go has just taken off, especially in the last year. Recently (maybe a week or two ago) I went on the Gopher Slack jobs channel and it was just nuts; I hadn’t been there for at least maybe a year even, and it was nuts, the number of jobs going through that channel. People have been pinging me for Go-related jobs a lot more than earlier on… Just the natural flow of recruiters trying to contact developers, right? And I think a lot of people are paying attention to Go, and a lot of people are joining the community, either because they started out working with Go or they are interested in doing that, and I would assume that some of these people are looking up to people who are leading initiatives that are community-related, that want to give back to the community or want to teach Go to people, or do open source, or lead meetups… And they might be thinking, “Well, how did these people get started? I’m doing nothing now, how do I get there? Because I have the drive, I either have the leadership skills or want to develop my leadership skills in the process, I wanna be of help… All of those things. How do I get there?”

For me, the advice that I usually give when I do get those questions is start local, and maybe this goes back to the old days before I was ever in tech and I worked at a small retail boutique and everything was locally sourced… But I think that you can have more immediate impact by staying local and kind of determine what local needs are, so suggestions of doing this. It would be visiting your local meetup and getting to know your meetup organizer… And let me tell you, those of us out there who have organized meetups once a month, it is a lot of work; not only do you have to find sponsors - and sometimes those sponsors support you with venue and food, sometimes it’s just venue - but then you also have to find topics, you have to find speakers, and that facilitation is just a lot. So just asking your local organizer “Do you need help?” is often very helpful.

I think that if you are in the position of asking your company to host a local meetup and get to know the community that way, or if you could put together a talk, or “The Top 5 Tips on X” and say “Do you think this is helpful?” or start to write about some cool tool that you used and run it through someone you know who is focused on blogs that you admire… I think that these are all ways that you can kind of jump in and discover what you’re good at, and then where you’re most useful.

[08:01] I think that is a brilliant idea. As far as local meetups, I can vouch for what you said, because when I started out looking into Go and wanting to learn Go, I started going to my local meetup. And it took maybe two meetups, or three the most, and I was a meetup organizer, because… [laughter]

It took me one.

It might have been one. [laughter] But not because I was amazing, it was because they needed the help. And I started looking at the meetup page and said “Hey, when is gonna be the next meetup?” I don’t know what I was doing, but whatever my enthusiasm was - it was followed by action, and people were just like, “Yeah, help us please.” Having a meetup is like putting together a party…

And every month you’re putting together a party. You need a place, you need to figure out the amount of people… But in any case, I don’t wanna make this show about meetups, I’m just saying it happened with me too, and as an organizer, I can also validate what you said - I’m so glad when people step up and offer to help; that happens with our meetup here and it’s so refreshing and wonderful.

Absolutely. Help goes a long way. I now have two co-organizers - Francesc Campoy and Ken Fromm - for GoSF… And our meetups are usually 150 people per meetup, and it is – I’m beyond thankful for the assist most of the time, and especially starting new jobs etc. It makes it a lot easier to know that you have people that you can rely on… Because the other aspect of this is you’re doing it generally for free; it’s your free time, you’re not being paid to set up these meetups, so the more help, the better.

I do see an interesting question kind of popping up, which is “Okay, I have started to help out my meetup organizer; maybe I have done a GoBridge workshop, or I’ve hosted a meetup, maybe I’ve started to write tutorials… How do I go from the local meetup to going to more regional and then global?” Because it’s not such a thing where I feel like you can just go from small to large; it took me years before I kind of felt like I understood what the global Go community looks like, and that’s still growing and changing every day and I’m still learning so much, especially in the last three months… But a lot of that for me goes from investing time in your local communities and getting your contacts there, and then getting on Gopher Slack, getting to know there’s a whole meetup organizers channel, so who are those people… And then, starting to look at conferences, honestly. Not everyone has the ability to travel to a lot of conferences, but maybe trying to get to one that’s close enough to you; if so, applying to the diversity scholarship… And then maybe just submitting a talk.

It’s very interesting, because over the last week, internally at the Go team we’ve been talking a lot about resources, and then I’ve talked to many conference organizers over the last few weeks, and they have put out these tweets, and I don’t know if you’ve seen them… Where it’s “If you wanna help people build a CFP or an abstract (whichever word you want), then raise your hand, basically. So retweet, or say yes.”

[12:10] Russ Cox actually started a page on GitHub (we can add it to the show notes, or something like that). It’s in the Go Wiki and it’s called New Speakers. It is a list of people who have offered their services to help build abstracts, and I think that these types of collective information pools are going to make it easier for someone to go from a local impact to global impact… But to some extent there is some pressure on community organizers like myself to make sure those tools are available to our community.

Yes, absolutely, and hopefully with the work that you’re doing, we will get that. Also, one thing for global impact - getting involved directly with organizations that have a broader reach is also a good way to just already start at that level. For example, getting involved with GoBride; you can go to the golangbridge.org website and get in touch with any of those folks there… I’m not active on GoBridge anymore, because I can’t handle it, but I know for a fact there’s a ton of work that they’d like to be doing and they’re not, because there’s just not enough people.

And Women Who Go, and like you said, there’s a group of meetup organizers that each work at a local level, but there’s also a lot of work to be done at a global level, at a level that just puts together resources and makes that available for everybody who wants to become an organizer or is already doing that. The possibilities are endless.

Yeah, I’m really excited about this year specifically… For GoBridge, for meetup organizers, for conference organizers, because – maybe because I’m kind of behind the scenes starting to create some of these charters and initiatives that I’ve been dreaming about for the last three years… But I really do think that we’re gonna see extended resources and a lot of effort put around organizing these groups.

GoBridge itself - I won’t spoil any details, but I have a lot of exciting ideas around that that I’ve been working on for the last month, and I’m hoping to have something more concrete to announce within the next month. But yeah, there’s resources… It’s just the organization, so…

But just talking about our worldwide community a little, because I think that the scope that we’re really discussing is sometimes lost when we’re not visiting conferences etc. but a few years ago there was maybe a handful of conferences. Now we’re up to 13 conferences this year. Out of those conferences, over half of them will have more than 500 people visiting, and about a quarter of them (at least three of them) will probably be closer to more than 1,000. So that’s amazing.

That’s crazy.

Yeah, India and Russia are coming up within the next month of each other. I will be going to India and delivering The State of Go talk, which I’m really nervous about… Yeah, and we have 150 meetups that are registered last year; they registered with kind of the form that I put out that was like “If you’re a meetup, can you please let me know so that we can start to build out some of these structured ways of you getting support.”

Yes, and for the record - and please correct me if I’m wrong, Cassandra - the efforts that you are leading as a Google employee, as a member of the Go team, they are all open source…

[16:18] So if someone is interested in anything, I’m sure they can contact you, right? Even like “I have no idea, just suggest something for me”, because all of these things - I can’t even imagine the amount of work that you could use help with.

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about “I don’t know how to help”, and initially, when I first came to Google, I thought that I would have those answers, but now I’m realizing that there just needs to be a little bit more structure around the How, and I think some of that will probably be done, and I think some of that will probably be done by the community working group; we’re gonna relaunch it with some more narrowed focus to make it easier for contribution. Because the Go project is giant. It feels like there’s so much and too much at scale that the “How do I help?” is not clear. So I’d like to really create some community charters where people know that “This is where I go to for help, this is what we need.” And I think that the resources for new speakers is a great example of that. I think just going on the Go wiki and making sure that the conferences section is updated is important; I think that the sharing of content and great talks that you see – just the sharing of content is such a huge impact on community growth and distribution of knowledge.

So these are things that people can do, but I agree, there needs to be some more organization around it, and call to action.

I want to highlight one thing and then ask you to expand on something else. So the one thing that I want to highlight is that Go has a wiki resource with many pages, and this wiki is amazing, you guys… Just everything you want to know is in there, and it’s open for everybody to edit. So if you’re looking for something to do, right there you can go and make sure that things are organized alphabetically; I did that, I organized the list of countries, the list of companies that are using Go. I went in there and organized them alphabetically, because I’m OCD like that. [laughs] But it’s like little tiny things that are super useful.

If you know of a conference that’s local to you and is not listed, add it. If your company is using Go and it’s not listed under the list of companies, add it. Super tiny, takes no time at all things to do… So I’m saying, help maintain the wiki page. It’s such a wonderful resource, and we should continue to add things to it, in my opinion, because it’s useful, and it’s a good reference too, if you’re looking to find out about things.

Tell us what this working group is, because you mentioned that a couple times and I don’t think most people know.

Well, the working group is a collection of community members that are working toward goals that benefit the Go community, and I keep that really broad because I think that there’s gonna be some changes to it. I know that there’s going to be some changes to it, and I don’t want to narrow down that focus prior to kind of having knowledge from the other leaders in that working group, that that’s the direction we’re gonna go. But if you go to Golang’s GitHub golang/cwg you’ll see that there is a board, there’s projects, and each of those projects has issues within them, and I kind of arrange those so you could see, like “These are the initiatives”; each project board is an initiative, and then within those there are the issues, so essentially the tasks that need to happen to get to said project. Some of that might change over the next couple months, but that was the idea behind the working group in the beginning.

[20:39] And all of these links that we are mentioning are going to be on the show notes, so don’t stress about not finding this stuff; when the episode comes out, the links will be there.

Okay, that is very cool. Now, when this restructure takes place, how are people going to find out what this turns out to be, at least in the very next phase of this effort?

We’ll write about it. [laughs] It’ll probably be released and I’ll blog, and then my guess is that through – so right now there’s four different projects, right? There’s conferences, there’s meetups, there’s content, and then there’s contributions, which is more of a training new contributors and getting people to contribute to the project. Personally, I think that scope is too large for one group. I think each of those things could be their own group… So it’s the decision of “Do we want to have initiatives separated out, or do we want to still have them under the umbrella of a working group?” I will say that this will get better as we’re able to just get some bandwidth to do some strategy and planning around these things, and a lot of the things around conferences and meetups are already being started by the DevRel team at Go, which is Steve and I.

But yeah, we will make it well-known and distributed, but right now it’s just not active. So I don’t wanna be like, “Oh, this group is so active and awesome etc.” We haven’t done anything since November, and part of that was because I had a whole other job, and I couldn’t manage an entire job outside of my other job. So now that I’m here, I’m able to actually manage this a little bit better.

Absolutely. Oh my gosh, this is so much work…

People who have never done this have no idea. It’s so much work, and it’s never-ending work; it’s not like you have a goal and you complete that, because there’s always more that needs to be done. You start doing it and you say “No, but this is not complete unless that is also done”, but you only find that out when you’re in the middle of it… So all of a sudden you find yourself putting in 80 hours a week to get there.” Because you wanna do a good job, right?

Yeah, and we don’t really want it to be done either, right? Because if your work with a community is ever done, it is because the community is no longer active… So actually, the bigger it gets, it’s kind of better, but that means we need more community leaders to step up and take positions within groups like this, so that we can have organization within it.

Absolutely. Very well-spoken, Cassandra.

Thank you. [laughs]

Now, for people to follow what is happening, what is changing, is there a mailing list or a specific Twitter account or a Facebook page? How do you suggest people keep track of this?

[24:03] Yes, Twitter is a great way. There is a Gophers mailing list; I’ll have to look it up and we can put it in the show notes, because I don’t wanna give the wrong one, because there’s a lot… There’s some that are more managed by the Go team, and there’s some that are managed by external resources… Which was frankly a wiki that’s on my list to start, because I think that’s one of the wikis that we don’t have - media and content distributions, but we will get into that. Twitter is a great way to stay up to date on some of these things…

Which account should people follow?

Yeah, so the actual official Twitter. And then we’ll put the mailing list in the show notes. That’s actually one of the things we’ve been talking about a lot - the wiki, the distribution of information, because not everyone is on Twitter, not everyone wants to join a mailing list, and it’s easy just to kind of get lost in it… So how do we make sure that people know where to go to to access information, and that’s why I’m thinking that something on GitHub that is more transparent and easily accessible makes the most sense… So thank you for kind of iterating that.

Yeah, and you know, there are huge tech communities not related to (or even related to Go) on Facebook, and people who do Facebook and don’t do Twitter at all… Maybe GitHub is not the most friendly thing for them either, so I’m wondering - is there a Facebook group, or page, or something?

Yes, that’s ironic that you mentioned that, because I’m on Facebook, I use Facebook a lot, almost as much as Twitter, except my Facebook is more family-oriented… And I started to join some Go accounts on Facebook that are actually very active, and started answering some questions. This is why I thought that this wiki page would be helpful, and then maybe also kind of releasing it as a blog. But there does need to be somewhere where there’s a collection of all the pieces, and eventually I do think that might end up on the Go website.

Yes. And by that you mean a better-designed Go website?

[laughs] Yes.

There is only one answer for that question…

There’s only one answer for that question, and that answer is yes. [laughs]

Very cool.

Also in the timeline I promised. [laughs]

Oh, there is a – who did this…? Florin Patan. There is a Facebook group for Golang nuts… So that’s pretty cool. I didn’t even know about this. I joined about – oh, you were in it?

Yeah, it’s one of the ones I joined more recently and started to answer some questions… There’s also huge communities in India and in China which aren’t on any of these. I don’t know if you saw, we just released our website in China, and that’s a ginormous community for us. Organizing these global communities at scale is absolutely something we’re looking at in the next year.

This is going to be so awesome.

No pressure, again. [laughter]

No pressure, but I was really excited when – first when Steve Francia joined the Go team, and then when you joined… I was so thrilled. What I said was “I am looking forward to seeing how this community is going to be in two years.” Of course not right away, right? This work takes time, but in two years I think we’re going to start seeing a difference.

[28:06] I think that for me, coming from the startup world, I’m like “No, let’s do it! Let’s do it all! Let’s do it right now!” and that’s one of the things that I’m really having to take a step back and let myself a) be onboarded at Google, and b) really assess the right way, the strategic way to go after all the community organization that’s necessary, and even more so, learn how I can best empower the leaders in the Go community that are outside of Google. That’s been my main focus for the last three months - just trying to talk to people and figure out what are the real needs. So I know, let’s hope. Fingers crossed! [laughs] There are some major improvements.

You’re so the right person for the job, just by what you’ve just said. I’m with you, I’m like “Let’s get everything done right now! Let’s do it, and I’ll do it myself if it’s necessary!” But it’s too much work, and you need hands on board.

Oh, I know. Oh, girl, I know! [laughter] Oh, man… But you know, it has changed so much in the last two years, and I know that you can also address the fact that the community is so – it feels so much more connected, even though it’s larger, than it did even two years ago. I hear more and more people that are comfortable with asking “How can I do this, how can I do that?” and that’s when I feel that pressure. I want to be able to tell them how they can help, and have somewhere for them to go. So I am also very excited to see this happen.

Yes, I agree with you. I feel that too, and you know… I mean, when you say “connection”, what also comes to mind is I’m making more friends; the friends I had made, they become – the friendships become stronger every year when I see people at GopherCon, and just by the sheer fact of us talking here and there… And that’s wonderful. And I can’t emphasize enough how important it is for people who are coming into the community to understand that this is not a clique, this is not a closed – we haven’t closed our circles of friendship, we are not done making friends. This is open. I’m going to speak for everybody… Everybody, I’m speaking for all of you! Jump in, and say hi, and start doing stuff, because this community is not a closed community. It’s so welcoming. And like we keep saying here, there’s a lot to do, and this is just not for existing gophers, it’s for everyone, especially the fresh blood. Definitely jump in.

I agree a hundred percent. So there was a survey that I think was from a couple weeks ago from Hacker Inc. that states that Go is the top language – I think it was about 40,000 developers that they ran through and I’ll include this in the notes as well; here, I’ll share this in our Slack, so those of you who are listening can see this.

[31:42] So about 40,000 developers, and Go is the top language that developers are planning on learning next. And that number has doubled in the last two years. So what that tells us is that there is going to be a lot of new developers coming into Go, and although it’s kind of easy to say “No, you’re welcome. Come to us, we want you”, I also think we have to put it upon ourselves to not stick with just our friends when we’re at a new conference… To look at that new face and walk up to them and say “Hey, what are you working on right now? Is this your first time at a conference? What have you learned so far?” and really engage with those newbies, because it is so intimidating to go up to people that you know have already been around for a year plus… So I’ll just put that as a call to action for the community - really put out the effort to make people feel welcome, and address those needs in the moment.

Yes, I’m so glad you mentioned that. And you know, I wanna mention the other side of the coin of what you’ve just said… People who are new to the community, if somebody walks up to you - and especially if you know… Or it makes no difference, I guess, but if you’re new to the community and somebody comes and says “How are you doing?” or whatever, try to be friendly, because it’s super intimidating. Even when I go up to people, I notice somebody, I’ve never seen this person, and now it’s so easy because I don’t know most people when I go to a conference, or something… And I walk up to someone, it’s so intimidating… Like, I want to do what you’ve just said, but even for me, who I can just – you know, I can turn around and go hang out with my friends and sort of like recharge from that interaction, right? But it is hard, so just make it easy for us… [laughs] Please.

Yeah, and conference fatigue is also a real thing, right? I think you all were talking about that in the GopherCon episode… But it is a real thing, and I’ve even thought about writing a blog post about it, how to pace yourself at a conference that lasts more than a day. I remember being that person a few years back at a Go conference, and feeling really out of place, and especially when you’re someone that looks different than most of the demographic at a conference… Honestly, you came up and talked to me and made such an impression, Carmen came up and talked to me and made such an impression, and I just felt like “Oh, I might be able to find my people here”, and all it took was just two very kind, warm individuals making me feel like I belonged, so…

Well, Carmen definitely. Me - I don’t know what you’re talking about, but thank you, I’ll take it. [laughter]

Take it, take the compliment!

I actually don’t remember that, Cassandra, but cool.

You don’t? Oh…

[laughs] So much water has gone under the bridge…

Oh, I know, I know… Those past few years are gone.

It’s been crazy, and it’s gonna get even more crazy in an awesome way.

And that reminds me of something I do want to ask you… You mentioned you were working in retail, and then you got into tech, and there are so many reasons why people want to get into tech, I don’t even wanna go there… But what I do wanna ask is what were the payoffs that happened for you that kept you coming back?

Oh… Boy, it’s not easy to be honest. I don’t have a background as a developer, I don’t have the benefit of having a college education, which means I didn’t really have as many connections, and really what happened was I kind of fell in love with developer technology, so I joined my first startup and it was like a continuous integration platform, and I just enjoyed the straightforward “Will this make my life easier?” questions that you got from developers, and then that sort of didn’t work out.

[36:29] Then I had another company I was at that was in the midst of acquisition, and I knew I didn’t really wanna stay there, but I learned everything that I possibly could about Salesforce and sales operations and marketing… And I left pretty quickly.

Then I started to get into a few more companies that were very interesting and had some cool technologies, but it wasn’t until I found Go that I really felt like I wanted to do this forever. And it’s kind of a weird statement, but I was writing about this one time and I really fell in love with the Go community, and I think that it was partially the warmness and the openness, I think it was also the acceptance that even if I wasn’t a developer, the acceptance of learning and that they needed to make improvements to make Go more accessible was there; it felt engaging, rather than discouraging, which is what I experienced in other communities in my other tech companies.

I don’t know if that kind of answers your question of what kept me going (haha! Go-ing; bad pun). But it really was Go. I don’t think I would still be so heavily involved in tech if I hadn’t met the Go community.

Yes, I think there is no right answer for this, so that answer is just perfect. [laughter]

It is pretty striking to me to see members of the Go team, people who are really super technical, go up on stage and talk about what our needs are for being more inclusive. It’s really hard to have solutions to that, but realizing and speaking publicly that “We do know this is an issue. We do want to solve it or at least make it better” - it’s really striking and welcome and refreshing and warming.

And especially in tech. I think a lot of people wanna avoid that elephant in the room, and that was not the feeling I ever got with the Go community, and that made me feel like I could actually effect change and do some good.

Exactly. We are engineers, right? So we should be looking at this as a problem to solve that we could solve, or at least try to hack it, or do something about it. That’s what I see people doing, and when I say people - a lot of people, including the really super technical people from the Go team and from the community in general… So that is amazing.

I wanna ask you about the Go release parties.

[39:41] Dave Cheney was sort of leading that, really getting some fire behind people, for people to have release parties, and for people who don’t know, a Go release party is just a celebration of every Go release, like the point something release, not just the major ones… But every point something release is a reason to celebrate, so the meetups will do something special, maybe do something different from what they do, or maybe just have a cake (with a gopher, of course). But the last one or two releases - I don’t remember seeing anything. I remember we have celebrated here in San Diego in our meetup, but I don’t remember seeing anything… I saw that there’s a Go 1.10 release party planned. Is anybody leading this? How is it going? Is it making any difference to have these parties?

I think one of the things that happen to the Go release parties other than being able to get together and say “Yay, we’re still doing cool things, they’re still happening!” is that we’re able to really distribute the knowledge about what changes and improvements are happening, and I think that that is very beneficial and important to maintain.

I traditionally have been a part of the GoSF release parties and never part of the overall release parties, as in organization… And I actually was making a couple comments recently as well, just kind of saying that we could maybe be a little bit better about getting these to meetups and making sure that they know that they’re an option to have a release party and to make sure it’s not like a week-and-a-half in advance, which is what the last couple happened to me. I had like two weeks, and we already had an agenda set etc.

I think that, honestly, the meetup organizers channels in Slack, and just making sure people know that release parties are happening further in advance… Because the releases with Go are fairly well tracked and on-time generally, so it’s not like you have to worry that it’s going to be super out of spec. So yeah, I do think it’s something that we wanna keep up, I absolutely think it’s something that’s beneficial, and I think it just needs a little bit more knowledge from the other meetup organizers in the world that it’s something we’d like to try to do.

Yeah. I think at the very least for the purpose of getting acquainted with what is coming up in that release it’s very useful, and it’s an excuse to eat cake, come on.

But seriously, I remember in the last release party that we had in San Diego we were sort of planning to do something different… It’s a celebration, let’s celebrate! Or we’re gonna go over what was released. And we didn’t have time, we didn’t have time, and the day of - nobody did anything, so we were like “Well…” I don’t remember who had slides; I don’t know if it was Dave Cheney or if it was Francesc Campoy, but we said “Let’s just use those slides and go over everything.” It was perfect, because the slides were so well-organized and everything was there, and with a little bit of knowledge, whoever gave the presentation, which was one of the other organizers here, was able to cover everything. It was so helpful to just get all of that information in one seating; it was so worth it, and for the organizers it was so simple and easy. It was like the easiest meetup ever. So that really helps, I think.

Yeah, we’ve done the same thing ourselves for the GoSF meeting, where I know that slides have been borrowed from Dave or someone else who’s created kind of the first batch. It would be nice to maybe have a group of people that are designated to help with the slides. I’d really love to see that in the future, but there’s so many other things that also need to be done… I don’t know if we’ll get to that quite yet, but I agree; I think they’re important, and I think that they can be a little bit more distributed.

[44:23] Yes. And meetup organizers, don’t feel ashamed to use that.

Not at all! You are needed so much for the community. Please, don’t stop!

Yeah. And if we had attempted to do something, it wouldn’t have been as good. It was perfect. Do you wanna talk about conferences?

Yeah, I mean, we chatted a little bit about them… There’s a lot. I think that there’s a few important things… Are you gonna be going to any of the conferences this year?

Well, GopherCon in Denver, for sure. I already got my tickets.

Awesome! Woo-hoo!

I don’t have any other conference plans right now. The conference in Florence - they invited me to speak there, and they are offering to cover some of the costs, but I don’t know if I can make it. So you’re going to India, yeah?

I am. I honestly will probably be at a lot of the conferences this year… Not necessarily speaking, but primarily because I want to get to know the communities in the different parts of the world, so that I can better advise of how we should support them. If you’re not kind of there on the ground, it’s difficult to gauge that effectively. But I will absolutely be at India with the State of Go talk. I wish I could have gone to Russia, but I won’t be able to make it.

If I go down the list, there’s GopherCon China, there’s GothamGo, there’s GopherCon Singapore, there’s GopherCon Europe in Iceland, which there will be a special announcement about soon… GopherCon Brazil, which I will try to actually get to this year, GoLab, the one you were talking about, in Italy… Tokyo, then Denver, there will be a West Cost Gopherfest, and it will be more of a full conference… I’m actually working with [unintelligible 00:46:30.14] who do GothamGo, and we’re working on kind of a better West Coast conference maybe around more specific topics, and then in 2019 there will be another DotGo. So there’s a lot… It’s awesome!

It’s really amazing to see how many conferences there have been added. Even in just the last few months I’ve added four that have just suddenly popped up. So it’s really rad, and a lot of them still have open CFP’s, and you can find that on the wiki as well. I encourage everyone to look at those and just submit or start to write CFP’s. I’ve opened up my services to help people craft and develop CFP’s, and then there’s so many resources on that New Speakers page as well.

So what do you mean when you say you opened up your resources to help people?

More of my services. I think a lot of people get intimidated about writing a CFP, and it can be a difficult thing to wrap your head around, and so a lot of the companies I’ve been at, that’s one of my primary jobs - making sure we’ve got good coverage and conferences and therefore writing abstracts and CFP’s. I have a lot of ways of doing that, even if it’s just getting to know the actual individual and just starting to talk with them, and then pointing out like “Listen, you were just really passionate about this talk and this topic. That’s what you want to start writing about. Just write it in bullet points to make it easy for yourself.”

I think that people get kind of bog down in some of the difficulties around building a CFP.

[48:29] It really is difficult and intimidating… I mean, for me - I’ve done it before, and every time it’s such a drag… “Oh, how do I do this?” As if I had never done it.

It is. But the other thing about a CFP is every CFP can be a blog post, every CFP can be another way of distributing your knowledge to other people, even if it’s not accepted… So I always tell people, “Do it. Even if it’s hard, just get it down in a few bullet points, and then expand on it from there.”

Absolutely. Yeah, and that in itself is a payoff for you if you do a CFP, no matter what; you have a pretty much ready blog post to put out there.

Yeah, exactly.

And if you don’t have a blog, there’s the Gopher Academy that will probably accept it. Or it’s so easy to open a Medium blog thing…

So when you say you have opened your services, do you mean like people can contact you directly?

Absolutely, yeah. I am 100% fine with people contacting me directly on Slack, on Twitter, my email is csalisbury@google.com, or cls@golang.org. My information is everywhere on the web now, so anyone is welcome.

Yes, and please take advantage of that… If Cassandra gets enough pings from people, I’m sure she will turn around and say to Google, “Hey, I have so many people pinging me, I need more people to work with me”, right?

How did you know that that was the idea? [laughs] That’s the idea!

Exactly! So don’t feel bad about contacting her. The more demand there is, the more ammunition Cassandra will have to go to Google and say “I need more help”, right?

Definitely… Google, and then also that New Speakers page that Russ Cox created has maybe seven or eight current people who are offering up their help. I think that all of those people are fine to contact. I’m also playing around with the idea of like a match-making program where like, say I don’t have the time, but I know so-and-so does have the time to kind of go through… Or maybe the topic is above my head, and I know an expert in that field, and kind of bouncing off those ideas to that individual instead. That’s kind of where I would like to get to eventually.

Exactly, that’s perfect. Right on. So you said earlier you had some numbers for us.

Yeah, I’ve kind of named them all, actually. I sent out that hacker survey where they talked about Go being the top next language for developers to learn in 2018, the amount of conferences and meetups that we have all over the world - all of those were kind of included, and just the scale that we’re looking at over the next couple of years.

[51:55] Very cool. Is there any last thing you would like to tell us, Cassandra?

You know what I’m interested in that is sometimes hard to get feedback on is really just how people feel they would be most helped, so how community organizers feel they’d be most helped or what was the struggle in getting started, or if you are getting started, why is it difficult or why is it awesome, and I just – I would love to hear some more stories about that. Again, you could contact me on Twitter, you can contact me on Gopher Slack, or my emails… All of that is fine. I’ve even debated starting a Twitter thread, so maybe I’ll do that… But not everyone wants to share these things publicly and I respect that, which is why I kind of like the more personal, one-on-one you tell me.

I’d love to just hear more from the community about their experiences, so that I can make some actionable plans for us moving forward.

Yes, I think that would also be increasingly more important as the community grows, and it grows so rapidly… And disseminating that in different channels, at different times, so it can hit people in different contexts.

And we also wanna do – we did have a suggestion from one of our listeners…

Ohh.. what is that?

…that we do an episode exactly about that, geared towards newcomers, and maybe having somebody interview us about how to get started. I thought that was brilliant, and of course, he’s the perfect person to be the interviewer. I think that’s gonna happen.

Yeah, I think that’s an awesome idea, to have one that is specifically like “How do I get started? What resources do I have?” But I also think that depending on your personality and your learning style, those resources might be different, so that having maybe a little [unintelligible 00:53:55.22] from a few different personality types with different experiences, so that you can really address more than just one demographic would be beneficial.

I think the same for CFP’s, honestly… I was kind of hoping that we would have a little bit more guidelines on how to get people to submit CFP’s and what conference organizers look for, and what are the topics that we’re looking to address this year… I think that’d be a really interesting podcast, but I’m very biased, so it may not be interesting for everyone, but yeah…

I think that’s very interesting, talking about the different learning styles that people have and how we could help them to specifically put a CFP together… Because the number of conferences has grown and is going to grow, and the conferences don’t exist without speakers, right? And preferably speakers with good content; not necessarily perfect speakers, but the content should be good, and we should be helping people to come up with that. It’s important.

Yeah, absolutely. It’s also conference organizers’ duty to make sure that they are not just looking for the most “famous” of the community to speak at their conferences, but also that they are looking for newbies and different levels of content, and luckily we have an amazing group of conference organizers, and they are putting a lot of effort and thought into how they are formatting their content this year. So I just wanna give a shout-out to all of these organizers, because I know how much work this is, and they’re really trying.

[55:58] Absolutely. Organizers of everything, I love all of you… All of you, so much!

Me too. I wanna get everyone to go for a hug. [laughs]

Definitely, especially conferences. I love conferences. One conference can change somebody’s life.

Yeah, absolutely. I agree.

It’s very powerful. And Cassandra, this show was amazing…

Oh, thank you.

I loved… Loved, loved, loved having you here, and I know for a fact we could sit here and two more hours, but unfortunately, I need to call it a wrap… [laughter]

Enough… [laughs]

You and I can talk, but this show needs to end and be wrapped up, unfortunately. So I want to thank you, again, and thank all of the listeners and everybody in the whole wide world… Gosh, they are not gonna let me do this again. So for everybody listening, please spread the word, let people know about the show. If you would like to sponsor us, contact any of us; sponsorship slots are open. And if you go to GoTime.fm, you can subscribe to our mailing list. You can follow us on Twitter @GoTimeFM, and if you do have any suggestions for the show, any suggestions for guests or speakers or how we can do this show better, you can go to github.com/gotimefm/ping and open an issue there.

With that said, this is a wrap. Thank you, I loved the show, and I did it all on my own… [laughs]

Oh my god, I am sorry to have inflicted this on you. Erik and Brian should never ever let me alone. So I think that’s it, my job is done. Thank you, Cassandra. You’ve made it so easy for me.

Thank you so much! [laughs]


Our transcripts are open source on GitHub. Improvements are welcome. 💚

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