7 Days of PASS – Day 6

nikocrazyIt’s my 2nd and final day on the Blogger Table and also the 2nd day of the Summit proper. This time I am seated at the opposite end of the table to the day before and soon after sitting down I am greeted by Chris Yates (web|twitter) who turns out to be a really nice guy and a pleasure to sit with. This time the keynote focuses more on the logistics of PASS growth and their finances more than anything else. After an all too long discussion on those points we finally get to the ever brilliant Dr David DeWitt and Dr Rimma Nehme who talk about IoT. I’ll be honest and say that I didn’t find much (personal) value in this discussion but that is probably because I am more interested in technical nitty gritty rather than more generalised discussion, but there is no doubting those two are not only brilliant individuals but are an incredible team together. Sad then that the real stand out announcement of the entire Summit Keynote sessions for me was their shock news that they would not be working together after this Summit due to David retiring and Rimma moving onto other things. The result was a couple of tears in my eyes and a standing ovation from all those present. I’ve been watching these guys present (especially David) since my very first Summit, and this feels like an end of an era to all concerned.

I hang around in the Conference Center and head to the coffee shop in order to seriously try to nail my lightning talk in between waiting for the Women in Technology Luncheon. Yes folks, don’t try this at home, because sessions should be completed way before heading off to major conferences and if you don’t, you will only end up hating yourself for it. This last couple of years has provided me with some understandable excuses for the situation I find myself in (I’ll speak about that in the future), but whilst I hate being in this position, I cannot change what is done and try to focus my energies on getting where I want to be. I had conceptually been planning on working in The Matrix film plot into my NOLOCK Chronicles lightning talk for weeks and months (even having bought a DVD for the stills), but so far had not managed to match the content. My obstacle was mainly because I kept wanting to have the entire story mapped to my content, but when I realised this was clearly ridiculous for a lightning talk, I decided to find the start point and end points and the rest fell into place.

My deck is 70% complete within a few hours, just in time for the Women in Technology luncheon and I make my way towards the Conference hall and some food.

Written entirely in BASIC, Football Manager inspired me to get involved with I.T.

Written entirely in BASIC, Football Manager inspired me to get involved with I.T.

The guest of today’s W.I.T luncheon is Angie Chang (twitter|web) who is involved with an initiative called HackBright, which aims to help Women enter into (and succeed with) IT careers. Her resume is quite impressive at such a young age, but something is slightly niggling me a little bit from the discussion and I’m not yet sure what it is. Upon the first round of questioning from the audience not a single person comes to the MIC which was a little unusual and resulted in me thinking that perhaps I should. While I am summoning courage to do so, a very small queue of people starts to line up while discussion recommences. Denise McInerney (twitter) is a great interviewer and I suspect she would do well with her own day time chat show.

During another break to questions I finally understand what was niggling me. I think many of these p.I.T (people in I.T) initiatives focus too much on addressing problems rather than getting at the root causes, and I think HackBright potentially falls into that camp. I feel that there are some social conditioning reasons why ladies are moving less and less towards Technical professions and rather than focus just on encourage older girls to start coding, perhaps we should also be looking at encouraging young girls to take their first steps with I.T. I ask Angie if she believes that the gaming industry is partially responsible for not providing enough games targeted towards girls and young women. I also made the point that I first started playing computer games at a very young age which made me then want to code them! I believe if people have a strong enough desire to do anything, then barriers will not be strong enough to prevent the charge.

I’m not sure I managed to get my point across as well as I’d hoped, for Angie’s reply was that there are games out in the market place (using Minecraft as the example), to which I replied that this example was the one and only game that my daughter was interested in. She seemed a little confused as to exactly the point of my question so I tried to explain that after noticing a drop off in female speakers at my own I.T Conference, I had asked one what exactly she thought might be the reason. She offered me the “not enough young girls playing computer games” discussion. I don’t think Angie really bought into this idea and responded that there are different reasons why that happens.

Editors note: Upon doing my own research after the W.I.T meeting, I was very surprised to find a huge amount of material regarding Women and the gaming industry, so I’d like to see more discussion in this area.

Despite being unable to get my point across, I enjoyed listening to Angie, and the younger perspective was a refreshing change to Women in Tech discussions. Not long after the luncheon is over I hurried back to my hotel room to continue working on my sessions for 3 hours or so. Things are moving along and I am determined I will get to where I want to be.

jensThere is only so much working from a hotel room that my brain can put up with before turning to Jello, so at around 4.30 P.M I head back to the Conference Center to see what is going down. I arrange to have dinner with Jens Vestergaard (web|twitter) and fellow “Swarm Pack” stalwart Kenneth Nielsen (web|twitter) but before I have chance to meet them I get a DM from SQLPASS twitter account telling me I’m late for the meeting….

I quickly realise that I had been invited to a Blogger Q&A with the PASS Board Of Directors, and I only really understand the importance of the meeting when I actually walk through the door to find a very small number of people (5) in attendance with the Board. I’m instantly humbled that I was invited to this discussion and that my opinion is sought and apologise for my tardiness. I will blog about this meeting in due course, but all I would like to say for now is that I was very grateful for being invited to participate in this meeting and happy that I could play a part in it.

Straight after the meeting I grab Kenneth and Jens and we head over to the Dragonfish Cafe (another place I have been wanting to visit for years) and proceed to consume inordinate amounts of Noodles and Sushi until our stomachs are ready to burst.

My intention is to work on my sessions for several hours after returning back to my room, but the reality is that as soon as I take off my shoes and lie on the bed, I instantly fall asleep (at 8 P.M.) and nothing bar an earthquake will wake me.

See also in this series:
7 Days of PASS – Day 7
7 Days of PASS – Day 5
7 Days of PASS – Day 4
7 Days of PASS – Day 3
7 Days of PASS – Day 2
7 Days of PASS – Day 1