Highlights from the BuzzConf BA 2018 conference. April 26th, 2018
Buzzwords as the Motivation for a Conference
As google promptly help us define, buzzword is…
a word or phrase, often an item of jargon, that is fashionable at a particular time or in a particular context.
In the world of software, these words come and go all the time. While they’re on the spot, everbody talks about them. That means the amount of information spread with everyone talking about them is minimal. You get lost in so many articles, videos, tweets, etc. and it’s hard for anybody to really understand the subject and learn about it.
That’s where BuzzConf comes in. The organizers (including Iñaki Garay and Facundo Olano from our Supply Engineer Team) created a conference that, in one day, covered most of the buzz-word-worthy topics that are around today. We had talks about Space, Cryptocurrencies, Diversity & Inclusion, Functional Programming, Machine Learning, Video Games, AI, Distributed Systems, Rust, Elixir and others. Each talk was delivered by someone that is actually an expert in the field and they all were everything but superficial.
The Minimalistic Conference
BuzzConf was a one-track conference, with 12 talks in quick succession. There ware no fancy introductions, no conference t-shirts, barely one or two banners with sponsor logos, no contests, no social media promotion, etc. The organizers specifically avoided all the superfluous stuff that abounds in other venues to focus on the most important parts:
- Great speakers, checked!
- High quality content, checked!
- Space and time for socializing and networking, checked!
- Cheap tickets so that anybody can join, checked!
- As much learning as you can fit in a day, checked checked checked!
For a conference with BuzzWords as its main subject, I think they did an amazing job trimming away all the noise and providing as much signal as they could.
From the 12 talks, I’ll briefly describe my favorites below. I encourage you to check the rest of them on BuzzConf’s GitHub Repo.
Cryptocurrencies / BlockChain
We had two talks on the subject of crypto currencies, blockchain and decentralized apps. I particularly enjoyed the talk by Santiago Palladino (from Zeppelin) in which he presented many applications of blockchain mechanisms (with examples from Ethereum) in a very objective way, providing pros and cons and paths to move forward. He managed to pack a lot of knowledge in a relatively short time and left us all wondering what else is out there for us to get our hands on.
Diversity & Inclusion
Diana Maffía gave a very enthusiastic talk about the role of women in science both in Argentina and the world, highlighting the work that ragcyt (Argentinian Network about Gender, Science and Technology) has been doing over the last decades (they started in 1999). One of their goals is to objectively understand the current situation and challenges that women face when attempting to pursue a career in science (particularly in Argentina) and provide advice and guidance for everyone trying to build a more inclusive world.
Even at a conference focused on new and emerging topics, we still had time to talk about the usual suspects. We had a talk about Linux Kernel and also an unexpectedly great talk about video games. In this talk, Juan Linietsky presented his framework: Godot Engine. Godot is a very advanced video game framework that allows you to develop 2D and 3D games with a lot of flexibility. It’s focused on teamwork and, the most important part: It’s 100% open-source!.
With examples in Elixir, but a presentation that spoke to everyone regarding of their favorite language, Andrea Leopardi introduced the audience to and promoted the usage of Property-Based Testing. This is not a new concept for some of us, but the amount of work in this area in the last few years is astonishing. In his talk, Andrea presented the basics of this technique and also showed many of the latest developments and future plans for Elixir in particular and property based testing in general. It was inspiring.
After the last break, everyone was ready to enjoy the closing keynotes. And we were not dissappointed! In the first one, Christopher Meiklejohn gave us a crash course into distributed systems and showed some of the most important challenges of this area today. Then he presented some proposed solutions to those challenges, involving tools like Partisan and his work on CRDTs. It was a very interesting talk that left us with a bright vision of the future of distributed systems, particularly those written in Erlang.
Finally, the last talk of the day was delivered by the always amazing Steve Klabnik. Of course, his talk was about Rust, but it was certainly not your usual introductory hello-world talk. While showcasing the main features of the language he created, he also showed some advanced concepts that left many of us looking for excuses to use this fantastic language in some of our upcoming projects.
For people in remote parts of the southern hemisphere, away from the places were most of the greatest conferences are organized every year, being able to attend a conference with high quality speakers giving great talks on relevant subjects is something unheard of.
Some of us, we have the fortune of working remotely for a company like AdRoll that allows us to travel up north and enjoy conferences like CodeBEAM. Yet everybody here would love to have more conferences and events in our home towns. That’s why we decided to take matters into our own hands and organize our own events, either in person or online. This movement is growing and the community is growing with it. With accessible conferences like BuzzConf that give you a lot of great content for a more than fair price, everybody wins!
Are you interested in working with a team of enthusiastic developers in a remote-friendly globally distributed team? Roll with Us!