Monki Gras 2017 Conference Recaps

Some of our 2017 Monki Gras attendees shared their thoughts about the event. We’re gathering their write ups here for convenient reference. Enjoy!

Documentally – Monki Gras 2017

If you want to get a multi-media feel for the conference, look no further than the amazing coverage of the event by Documentally. Video, photos, text and tweets all combine to richly tell the story of the conference.


Rodney – A Day of Knowledge and Laughter at Monki Gras 2017

Rodney provided an excellent recap of Day 2 of the conference. Some of his highlights include:

    – “treat your code as a luxury product”
    – “Metaphors dictate how we think, how we behave, how we perceive, and how the conceptual system is built. We understand argument is war (i.e. “his criticisms were right on target”). But what if we changed this? What if we understood argument as dance?”
    – “Products are never perfect, so what happens when something goes wrong? They (typically) get recalled. However: (1) what warrants a recall? (2) How are owners notified? (3) Who’s responsible? … the noticeable difference between physical products and commercial software is that we refer to recalls as ‘updates’ and this often causes confusion since there is no distinction between software that is simply being updated and software that is being recalled.”

Rodney also shared some lovely thoughts about overcoming nervousness at the conference. He was worried about meeting new people and concerned about his technical qualifications. As someone who recently had (and still occasionally has) these fears, I am empathetic to these concerns; it’s refreshing to see them discussed openly and honestly. I know I speak for all the RedMonk team when I express gratitude for our community and the work they do to help newcomers to the industry feel comfortable.

I also loved Rodney’s aside about Roslyn Scott’s talk: “On a side note: as a diversity scholar, it was inspiring to see a black woman give a talk at such an event, and I hope there is more to come!” Me, too!

Bybreen Samuels – My 5 Takeaways From Monki Gras 2017

Bybreen shared some great lessons from the conference, including:

    1. Power to the Consumer: “Having a firm handle on the meaning of the value proposition and the needs of all types of customers is imperative. Because creating elegant code and product design must always be in service of consumer satisfaction.”
    2. Storytelling: “Storytelling is an ideal way to explore the technological landscape to provide meaningful consumer engagement around a product or service.”
    3. Distribution: “Micro content platforms are effective mechanisms that improve experiences for both creator and consumer. They are democratic landscapes because everyone has easy access as there is no cost of entry.”
    4. Developer Framework: “Whether you’re building open source, commercial or cloud software, there are common features to bear in mind. The five key areas are; documentation, diagnostics, default, delivery and delightful.”
    5. Event Planning: Bybeen shared some kind remarks about the conference overall. She focused on the various ways an event can help people feel included, from the diversity scholar program to the code of conduct to the vegan meal options. “If you’re looking to attend a high quality, expert peer led tech conference, then I highly recommend Monki Gras 2018. See you next year!”

Jennifer Riggins – Convenience: The Innovative Way to Package Your Startup Branding

Jennifer provided a fantastic recap of Claire Giordano’s talk, Gone Girl With The Dragon Tattoo On The Train. The talk focused on how convenience has disrupted the written word, including:

    1. The e-reader: E-readers have made it much more convenient to consume books, as “now everyone can carry as many books as memory and battery can hold.” It also democratized the publishing process.
    2. Snapchat and The Economist: How does a 173 year old publishing platform increase its brand awareness with new audiences and adapt to changing technology? Through experimentation. “The magazine is experimenting with different forms of content — also including virtual reality — in order to find out how best to reach their future audience, while still maintaining message and standards. This data-rich experimentation — because it’d be a waste if they weren’t measuring it all — is something we all could learn from and mimic.”
    3. Twitter and Instagram offer new ways of storytelling: Using Marcin Whicary’s delightful experience at the typewriter museum as an example, Claire shows how “a slow reveal in a serial way” via new mediums can create powerful storytelling.

Jennifer closes with a summary about how these lessons in storytelling translate for software. Good storytelling goes hand-in-hand with packaging and convenience. “With everything you do in growing your startup, remember to package it in a way that makes it easy for your customers to find delight in it.”

ioanavasilescuspotlight – Spotlight at Monki Gras 2017

“While some industry events have a very corporate feel about them these days, Monki Gras was like a breath of fresh air: less pitching and more content!”


Matt Reid – Three Conversations I Had At Monkigras 2017

Matt captures three interesting conversations he had at Monki Gras:

    1. David Pollack: “There are 2 types of thinking in programming. Accounting and holistic. In the accounting model (which comes from banking) everything has to be counted in and counted out, there is no room for mistakes and your programs must reflect that. With the holistic approach we don’t worry about the little stuff.”
    2. Kiyoto Tamura: “Don’t hire a marketer as a start-up. Finding your product market fit can only be done authentically by the founder. Hire as many marketers as you like after that.”
    3. Pablo Sande: “If you think you can build something better than someone else is already doing, go out and do it.”

Arianna Aondio – Lessons learned at Monkigras2017

Arianna shared seven fun insights and takeaways from the conference, directly quoted below.

    1. When crossing a road you should first look right and then left(this is number 1 because it’s a survival tip)
    2. Tin cans have been invented in 1811 and can opener has been invented 1855: weird
    3. Open source software is free like getting a free puppy: you still have to take care of it and feed it and clean up after it!
    4. Bubble wrap was originally intended to be used as wallpaper
    5. In software there are no recalls, just updates(naming is essential here)
    6. Don’t take your metaphors literally. Juliet is my sun does not mean she will also give you skin cancer
    7. In Italy we don’t put pasta into packaging, we put it in dishes: Dish As A Service

Credit: all quotes and photos are attributed to their respective authors. Please visit Documentally, Rodney, Bybreen Samuels, Jennifer Riggins, ioanavasilescuspotlight, Matt Reid and Arianna Aondio to see their full reviews.

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