Selected Talks and Essays


Occasionally, I Say Things of General Interest

2019-05-22: Embracing Change as an Organization

Presentation on how a 500-person organization can stay agile and embrace change.

2015-12-18: Abstraction, or, The Gift of Our Weak Brains

"Our brains are naturally limited. This can be a curse, or it can be a gift, depending on how you look at it."

2014-05-06: Immersion

"Nothing is hidden, everything is transparent, and you are in the driver’s seat."

2013-10-02: enterprise-fu, or, How To Succeed in Business Like A Ninja Samurai

Subversive lessons from two decades spent in enterprisey companies.

Some Things Are For a Narrower Audience

2021-11-09: Put That Test Down, You Don't Know Where It's Been (Video)

One afternoon in early 2021, a 14-year-old test in Rails started failing. Nobody understood why. This 12 minute video will amuse and/or annoy you with a mystery that spans decades and tech stacks. (Presented at RubyConf 2021)

2021-11-09: Building Native Extensions Part Two (Video) (Slides) (Code)

Part two, a bit broader look at C extensions in Ruby, including an explanation of why Nokogiri chose to start precompiling native packages. (Presented at RubyConf 2021)

2021-09-11: Building Native Extensions Part One (Video) (Slides) (Code)

A deep look at the techniques and toolchain used to ship native (precompiled) versions of Nokogiri and other rubygems with C extensions. (Presented at RubyKaigi 2021)

2018-02-21: Cloud Foundry Overview (Podcast)

In an interview published on the Software Engineering Daily podcast, I talk about Cloud Foundry, Pivotal, and a potpourri of other topics.

2017-05-24: Ruby Values (Article)

A meditation by an aged software engineer on the principles and values learned from the Ruby community, and how the GORUCO conference is changing along with the community.

2015-05-28: why you're in the right place at the right time (Presentation)

A talk given to CUNY students and recent grads about the importance of community in shaping a career.

2014-10-10: Agile Inceptions 101 (Presentation)

An internal "Core Practice" talk given at Pivotal Labs.

2013-09-20: History of Nokogiri (Video) (Slides)

The history of a successful OSS project, along with humorous stories and lessons learned. This talk, given multiple times, is presented here in its final version from GoGaRuCo 2013.

And Some Things are Pretty Esoteric

2016-03-20: Making a Useful C++ Buildpack

In which I smash together C++ and the cloud native vision of "here is my source code / run it on the cloud for me / i do not care how"

2010-03-09: Stupid XML Tricks

Introduction to OSS projects Loofah, Lorax and McBean to modify, compare and transform HTML and XML documents. Presented at NYC.rb.