Why You Should Short Dropbox and Box

I recently got a new computer. As I set up my new machine, I decided that this time, I would save myself the hassle of storing anything locally by setting up a Dropbox account and storing all my documents in the cloud.

In principle this seemed like a great idea! In practice? My documents are in Google Drive. My email is Gmail. My photos? Well, I publish them on Facebook. Wait, what am I storing on my computer anyway?

The problem with Dropbox (and it’s major competitor, Box) is that their business model is centered around the core assumption that consumers have files. As we move towards cloud-based services, consumers create fewer files. The need to store files – either locally or in the cloud – becomes unnecessary.

Couple that with the explosion in use of mobile devices and tablets. How many files do you save on your iPad? Instead, consumers are becoming accustomed to interacting with apps, and that is extending to their laptop experience with machines like the Chromebook.

The final remnants of local storage will be photos and music. But even these are moving in the direction of “as-a-service.” Companies like Spotify and Pandora are changing the way that we consume music. And photos are instantly shared and stored on online services like Facebook, Flickr and Instagram.

If you believe, as I do, that in the future consumers access everything via the web or apps, what becomes of Dropbox and Box?

On MongoDB Raising $150 Million

On Friday, MongoDB announced that we’d raised $150 million dollars in funding. It’s an exciting and humbling experience to be part of such an innovative company at the forefront of the New York City technology community.

When I joined MongoDB nearly four years ago, we were eight people with no customers sharing office space with another startup. Many people ask me if or how the company has changed in that time. Of course it’s bigger, more functionalized, and is now a global organization. But much has remained the same. We’re still building innovative technology that developers love, we’re still obsessive about customer success, and we’re still committed to fostering community. And because our customer and user base is growing rapidly, there are still many challenging problems to solve, all at rapid pace.

As our CEO Max Schireson explained in his post on the funding round, relational database technology has a huge head start on us. Relational technologies have been in development for decades and there is a large, robust ecosystem around them. This money will be used to close that gap.

For me the round is particularly exciting because I spent my first 3+ years at the company talking to developers and getting them to adopt a new technology. Now, working on the team that makes MongoDB Management Service, we have a different challenge: building the tools and services that allow people to easily operate MongoDB at scale. This round enables continued development of MongoDB, but also of MMS with the goal of making MongoDB as friendly for operations as it already is during development.

I’m looking forward to continuing the adventure. If you want to join for the ride, we’re hiring.

Fitbit Flex and Fitbit Tracker Compared

As my friends and colleagues know I am obsessed with fitness and I treasure my Fitbit for analyzing data on my activity level. (Perhaps it’s probably a good thing that I now work on the team that makes monitoring tools.) I recently upgraded from a Fitbit tracker to a Flex and wanted to share my opinion on the gadget.

  Tracker Flex
What It Looks Like
Wearability Clip to your pants, your belt, or your bra. For someone active like me, I was always transferring it from outfit to outfit, which is one of the main reasons I decided to get the flex. Wristband, comes in multiple colors. You can update the settings to wear on your dominant or non-dominant hand. It’s waterproof so you can wear it in the shower (or during a Tough Mudder).
User Interface You get a more robust interface on the tracker. You can see your step count, stair count, and the time on the device. There is even a little flower that grows when you are more active! Less detailed interface. There are five lights on the tracker. You set a daily step goal (e.g. 10,000 steps) and when you tap the tracker, it lights up a number of dots representing the percentage you are towards your goal. To view your stats, I usually sync via bluetooth to my iPhone.
Battery Life My tracker could go weeks without needed a charge. Needs to be charged every 5 days or so.
Accuracy Still investigated… see the Flex column! I observed that without changing my activity my step count went down when I switched to the Flex. I need to do some experiments comparing to MapMyFitness data to determine whether the Tracker was overcounting or the Flex undercounts.
Cost  $99.95 $99.95

Any Fitbit is a great device if you want insight into your fitness level and motivation to increase your activity. Go get one!

Applying Lessons from Enterprise Software to SaaS

One of the main reasons that I was excited to take on a new role at 10gen was the opportunity to learn a new business model: Software-as-a-Service.

As an early marketing employee, I had the opportunity to help build our enterprise software business from the ground up. This was a fascinating process, and it involved building demand gen programs, working closely with the salesforce, and implementing marketing automation tools.

But enterprise software has long, high-touch sales cycles. Would anything I learned in enterprise software be applicable to the low-touch, buy-online SaaS model? Luckily, there have been some parallels:

Always talk to your users

In any business, understanding your audience is critical. In order to craft product message, build campaigns, and grow the user base you have to know what your target market wants. One of the first things that I did with the team was administer a survey of our MMS user to get an understanding of our demographic. I’ve been joining as many customer calls as I can. If you are using MMS I want to talk to you! This is not unlike my role in community, where I often attended meetup and events and constantly talked to MongoDB developers to understand their needs.

Metrics are key

In SaaS, we’re optimizing for online conversions, looking at the steps in the web funnel that each visitor passes through before they make a purchase (in this case, our goal is to sell them hosted MongoDB backup). This isn’t all that different from when we built a model around our subscription business to understand the number of leads that we need to generate the required marketing qualified leads (MQLs) for sales, the number of MQLs that convert to sales opportunities, and then the percentage of opportunities that sales ultimately wins. Once you understand your baseline funnel, it’s all about optimization the conversions.

Freemium models work

10gen’s business model could be called a “freemium” model – the software is open source, and customers pay for subscriptions. MMS is no different: monitoring is free, and we offer backup as a paid service. This model is a win-win: for the user, they get a free service while building a relationship with the product or company; for the company, they have an inexpensive path for acquiring sales prospects.

Overall my new adventure is already fun. In conclusion I thought I would share two articles that I found particularly interesting for getting started with SaaS:

From Community to the Cloud – My New Role at 10gen

I’m embarking on a new adventure, and I’m very excited that I can have the next adventure at 10gen, a company where I love to work.

When I joined 10gen three and a half years ago, I never could have imagined the amazing growth that we would experience. As an early employee and the first marketing employee, I had a unique opportunity to learn first hand about so many things: developer marketing, community building, events, open source, marketing operations, lead generation, and so much more. I became a manager and was able to build a team that I think is fantastic.

A few months ago, Eliot suggested that I think about doing marketing for our cloud services business. At the time, the only product that we offered was MongoDB Monitoring Service, and there was a small team working on a backup service. It looked interesting but it was hard for me to see the possibilities at that stage, and I wasn’t ready to part with my team to work on it.

Fast forward a few months. Andrew Erlichson, who had amazing success launching our online education business, took over as general manager for cloud services. We hired a director of engineering for the cloud team, and engineering was ramping up fast. MongoDB Backup Service was released, and I was part of a cross-functional group that worked on the launch.

I was starting to see that working on cloud services was a really interesting opportunity: it was the startup-within-a-startup. I could help build something from the ground up again, as I had done with the MongoDB community and the community team. It was a hard decision to make though, because I would have to give up managing my team, which I really enjoy.

After a lot of thought, I decided to make the move. Things are still in transition as we backfill my role, so in the interim I am doing my best to work on both!

How I survived a Tough Mudder (with my FitBit intact!)

This weekend I went to Pennsylvania with seven of my colleagues to participate in Tough Mudder, a 10-mile challenge involving 20+ muddy and wet obstacles. The idea emerged from a conversation at our all-company meeting in Miami in February. I signed up thinking, well, June is a long time from now, I’m sure I’ll have plenty of time to get ready :)

The race was a ridiculous, fun, silly and exhausting way to spend a day with my co-workers. In order to complete many of the obstacles, you need help from your teammates. At the very beginning, each participant had to jump a sizable wooden wall to enter the starting area, and I needed some assistance to get hoisted over! There are no race times or winners in Tough Mudder – the focus is on completing the challenges and working together. I loved the sense of camaraderie on the course, even among strangers.

The most challenging part of the race for me wasn’t the obstacles. It was running in the hilly terrain in the very hot sun! By the time we reached a muddy obstacle, I was eager to jump in just to cool off. So hilly, in fact, that my FitBit recorded that I climbed 300 flights of stairs on race day.

Yes, it’s true, I took my FitBit Ultra with me on the race. I very much wanted to record the race, but I was extremely concerned about getting it damaged as it is a prized possession and not waterproof. I was up the night before the race in a panic about it! Ultimately I decided to take the risk of loosing or breaking it: I wrapped it in a sealed Ziploc and stuck it in my sports bra. It survived the Arctic Enema, a 15 foot drop into 11 feet of water, and several other obstacles in which I was completely submerged. There was one scary moment during the Funky Munky (monkey bars) when I fell into the water and felt the plastic bag floating near me, but I quickly fished it out. It was a close call! I think it’s time that I order a FitBit Flex – those are waterproof.

The most memorable moments of the race included:

  • Carbo-loading at an Italian restaurant the night before the race with the team
  • Jumping 15 feet off the “Plank” into cool water, overcoming my fear of heights!
  • Carrying my colleague Jordan on my back
  • Climbing from waist deep water over mud hills
  • Jumping into the freezing cold “Arctic Enema” behind Graham, and screaming for him to “Get the f@#$% out!”
  • Watching Jerzy tough it out through the race after dislocating his shoulder – twice
  • All of the amazing costumes, including one runner in a full suit, two men in thongs, a team in tutus, and everything in between
  • Drinking a cold beer after crossing the finish line
  • Cheering on Sarah as she climbed Mount Everest
  • Getting to see Wisdom, Justin, Danny, and Sarah go through the Electric Shock Therapy before they crossed the finish line

Oracle has a sailing team. 10gen has a Tough Mudder team.

The team at the beginning of the race. Post-race photos are pretty muddy :)

The team at the beginning of the race. Post-race photos are pretty muddy :)

Open Source Community and Corporate Culture – Are they any different?

As 10gen has grown as a company, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about our corporate culture and the parallels between building great community and building great corporate culture. A healthy corporate culture will share a few of the key qualities of a vibrant open source community.

1) Transparent

Open sources communities are definitionally transparent by making source code available for review and modification. Similarly, a positive corporate culture thrives with open discussion and debate, within the limits of reasonableness. Obviously there will always be certain things, such as sensitive / confidential customer information, that cannot be shared across the company, but the overall vision and goals for the team should be as clear to everyone as the project roadmap is in an open source project.

2) Collaborative across geography and cultures

Open source contributors and users are often distributed geographically and comunicate using a variety of tools such as forums, IRC channels, bug trackers, and wikis. Similarly, a healthy corporate culture encourages the exchange of ideas and methodologies, discourages departments from working in silos, and encourages employees to create internal knowledge sharing tools.

3) Developing talent

A healthy open source project will put in place mechanisms to encourage users to become contributors and ways to acknowledge key contributors. Existing, active contributors often take a mentoring role with new users and contributors. Great companies recognize talent, nurture people, get them training, and help people develop in their careers. While a large portion of this culture has to come from management since they will approve budgets and headcount, the employees can contribute to the culture as well by recognizing the strengths of their peers, mentoring teammates, and maintaining a positive work environment.

What can you do?

Here are a few concrete ways that you can develop a transparent, collaborative culture that develops talent.

  • Organize tech talks, lunch and learn series, or hackathons that bring different departments together to learn what others in the organization are working on, or to work together and collaborate on projects.
  • Host “cultural exchanges” where certain employees work from different offices for an extended period of time. For example, at 10gen, we have support engineers from our Dublin and Australia office do month-long stints in NYC so they can sit with the core server team.
  • Build collaborative knowledge-sharing tools, such as wikis, where staff are encouraged to share information.
  • Set up forums for discussion on important company topics, such as town halls, mailing lists, or all company meetings.
  • Embrace video conferencing! We have a virtual “water cooler” at 10gen that points a camera at each of our international offices.

What other ways can you make your company more like an open source community? Feel free to add suggestions in the comments.

How to run a tech conference part 7: The Day Of!

This is the seventh post in my series on running a tech conference. In today’s post, I’ll outline what you need to do on the day of your event.

  1. Getting Started: Goals and Vision
  2. Choosing a Venue
  3. Budget and Sponsors
  4. Finding Speakers
  5. Event Logistics & Timeline
  6. Promotion of your Event
  7. The Day Of!
  8. Post Event

Being Prepared

Before the event starts, you should expect that things may go awry. Every event brings a new adventure and sometimes you can’t anticipate what the issues will be. From experience, I will tell you a few things that you should be prepared for but sometimes it’s impossible to know what the universe will bring. At MongoDB London this year, we had a terrible problem with door wedges. Yes, door wedges — the venue didn’t have enough, and there were several spots where we were desperately improvising door jams or stationing staff at the doors so they wouldn’t slam during talks. Maybe next time I’ll pack a door wedge in my conference kit, but even if I do that I know that next time there could be some other unanticipated issue so I’ll just have to be ready for it.

The Walk Through

The day before your event, assemble your staff of volunteers and walk through the space and your staff assignments. Make sure that everyone knows who is responsible for staffing registration, who is responsible for each speaking room, the expo hall, and any other areas. It also helps to have a “floater” who can jump in in case there are gaps or if someone doesn’t show on the day of the event. We also have staff designated to greet press and high-profile speakers.

At Open Tech NYC, the night before the event my co-organizer suggested an exercise that was very useful. We walked through the event, but then we also discussed all the different ways that things could go wrong and how we could possibly mitigate those issues. It was really helpful for identifying different logistical problems.

Final Rehearsals

The first several events that I organized were fairly small and we had no process for formally preparing speakers. As 10gen has grown, we’ve taken presenting more seriously as a skill set that needs development. We try to organize several prep meetings for each presentation before the event, and we’re experimenting with office hours for our external presenters as well. On the days leading up to the event, a final run through, particularly in the space where the talk will be delivered, is a great way to ensure a good experience at the event. These can be difficult to schedule, especially with set up happening in parallel, but they can make a huge difference in the quality of your presentations.

Set Up

If at all possible when booking your venue, I recommend getting the space booked the night before so that you have the prior day to set up. Sometimes this isn’t possible from a cost standpoint, but logistically it’s extremely challenging to do set up at 5am and then be on your feet all day for an event.

The key things that you need to do include:

  • Posting directional signage, banners, and any other conference branding
  • Printing, inserting, organizing and setting up name tags in your registration areas
  • Stuffing your give-away bags (here is my article on how to efficiently stuff swag bags)
  • Getting your vendor hall labeled and set up
  • Testing your A/V equipment and wireless connection
  • Doing any final presentation rehearsals or run throughs

A few small details that you should always remember:

  • Mac adaptors and slide advancers for each room
  • Random supplies such as paper, tape, scissors, Sharpies, etc. in case you need to make signs
  • Bottled water for your presenters so they aren’t parched
  • Extra blank name tags in case someone’s badge didn’t get printed

The more that you can pre-stage and set up in the days leading up to the event, the happier you will be.

Registration

There are several options for printing nametags, which I enumerated in detail in the blog post on budget and sponsors. For the day of the event, I recommend purchasing trays to organize your name tags and easily find each person. For every 100-150 people expected to register per day, you probably want 1 person on registration at peak hours. (So at MongoSF this year, which was a 1-day event with roughly 1,000 attendees, we had roughly 10 people on registration during the 8-9:30am peak hours.)

Make sure that you set up you clearly label registration with signage, and consider positioning a greeter at the entrance if the direction isn’t obvious. Be wary of creating bottlenecks at any point in the registration process!

Once people have their name tag, you may also want to check them in using an app such as Eventbrite check-in or Marketo check-in, or an old-fashioned printed list. We use iPads at our events to quickly sign people in. Usually one person finds the badge and the other checks them in, and the process takes about 30 seconds. Once they’ve checked in, an automated email is sent to the attendee with information about the event, the venue, and further activities during the conference.

Breakdown

Usually we’re so excited about the event wrapping up, that we forget about the hard work at the end of the conference. It helps to have a detailed inventory of the items that you brought with you to the event and the places that you’ve stored them. If you had boxes that you packed things in, keep them handy for the end of the event with shipping labels at the ready so that you can quickly get everything boxed up. Ideally you’ll have a small breakdown crew that can get everything organized and then the rest of the team can go to the bar or social event with the conference guests.

Have Fun

In my experience, the most stressful part of conference organizing is the hours leading up to the start of the event. Once we’re through registration and the first talks have started, that’s when it starts to get really enjoyable for me. I can interact with the guests, attend a few talks myself, get feedback on the conference, and learn from our partners. Events are a lot of work and effort, but also very rewarding.

The Evolution of the 10gen Office

This week, 10gen moved into our new office in at 229 W 43rd Street. In three and a half years at 10gen, this is the fourth office that I’ve worked in, and in many ways, it felt like the culmination of our transition from startup to enterprise software company. The first three offices that I worked from were in areas populated by startups (first in Union Square, then in SoHo). The new office is in midtown with many of our large, established enterprise customers in financial services and entertainment. As an early employee I thought I’d share a few memories from each of the offices.

17 W 18th St

When I joined 10gen at the end of 2009, we were renting desks from our AlleyCorp cousins at ShopWiki in a joint residential/commercial building. We had one and a half rows of desks in their open layout. While there was a lot of energy in the office since we were paired with another startup, it was crowded and there was little privacy for customer meetings or interviews as we started to grow over the course of 2010. I managed to find this slightly blurry iPhone photo of the office, which includes co-founders Dwight and Eliot, the authors of MongoDB: The Definitive Guide Kristina Chodorow and Mike Dirolf, and Lead Kernel Engineer Alberto Lerner in the background looking pensive.

18 W 18th

134 5th Ave

At the end of 2010, it was clear that we needed our own space. We started looking to sign a short term lease when Eliot noticed that there was a “for-lease” sign on 134 5th, ShopWiki’s previous home around the corner. He knew the landlord and space well, so we jumped at the chance to move in on a short-term lease. The space needed a paint job, a new kitchen, and some carpeting, but little construction since it had been built out a few years prior for ShopWiki. We were directly above a nail salon but at least it was our own office!
Main room
When we moved in, we all thought it was huge. We had a large open area where everyone sat. As hiring accelerated, we moved my team into one of the conference rooms. Our reception area became desk space. The coat closet became our recruiter’s desk. Pretty soon, we were down to a single conference room and Elyse, our office manager at the time, would only allow it to be reserved for more interviewing! The sales team was taking phone calls on the stairwell (the fumes from the nail salon must have been lucky), the execs would have private conversations on the fire escape, and I would plan any meeting possible at City Bakery around the corner.

578 Broadway

Moving to SoHo felt like a huge upgrade. We had graduated into a new neighborhood, in the Prince Building, which housed three other extremely hot startups: foursquare (a major client of ours), Thrillist, and ZocDoc. We again had an open layout with lots of conference rooms for meetings. We started to add fun innovations like the virtual “water cooler,” a web cam pointed at all of our offices so that you can visit with your colleagues around the world.
Panorama1
Mayor Bloomberg’s visit to the 10gen office at 578 Broadway

Like 134 5th, 578 Broadway soon started to feel crowded. The marketing team moved across the hall into a temporary space to make more desk space, and pretty soon finding conference room space became a challenge. It never got as bad as 134 5th, though I did take a few phone calls in the storage closet :)

229 W 43rd

While every office prior has been unique and interesting, this is the first office that has truly felt like a long-term home. We’ve signed a multi-year lease with the option to expand into the building and have invested significantly in the build-out of the office. The facilities team did a fantastic job making the space fun, functional and professional. We have a kitchen/cafe with a ping pong table that can double as seating for lunch, for example, and lots of social areas that people are using for meetings instead of taking up valuable conference room space. The office is equipped with white boards everywhere, enormous brightly colored beanbags and adjustable-height standing desks.

Champagne toast the morning we moved into the new office

Champagne toast the morning we moved into the new office

It’s been a long journey but I’m happy to settle into midtown for awhile. Hopefully we won’t outgrow this space too quickly, though I’m concerned when recruiting immediately used white board space on one of the pillars to post the note below! Did I mention we are hiring?

Top jobs, posted in the office

Top jobs, as posted in the office

Open Tech NYC Recap

After several months of preparation, yesterday we held Open Tech NYC, a conference dedicated to exploring how open source and open technologies are powering the New York City innovation community. I organized the event with my colleague, Justin Dunham, and partnered with the Coalition for Queens, a local non-profit that is fostering the tech ecosystem in Queens.

The Sessions

When we were planning the conference, Justin and I spent a lot of time talking with Jukay, Ben, and David from Coalition for Queens on what audience we wanted to attract and how technical we wanted to go. While we wanted to draw a fairly technical audience, we also wanted to keep the sessions high-level enough that those that were new to open technologies could be introduced to this world.

For a single-track event, I was thrilled with the diversity of people, experiences, and topics that were covered. It’s tough to please everyone in a single track event but overall I was happy with the balance that we struck. Here is an overview of what was discussed at Open Tech NYC.

Sumana Harihareswara introduces you to your Open Tech neighbors

The conference kicked off with Sumana Harihareswara of the Wikimedia Foundation providing a broad overview of all of the interesting open source, open hardware, open data, and open culture happenings around the city. Despite a lingering cold, Sumana’s charisma, humor and energy shone through and was the perfect way to begin the day. This morning Sumana summarized in a blog post 50 links to institutions and events in the city, which is a great collection of resources for those of any background interested in getting involved in the open tech community. Below are some of my favorite moments from Sumana’s talk.

Joel Natividad on Open Data and Open Source: The Wonder Twins of Civic Hacking

Joel Natividad, the founder and CEO of Ontodia, presented on open data in the context of New York City’s Open Data Law, which mandates that the city’s various agencies provide access to their data. As citizens, we produce all sorts of fascinating information through our actions: metrocard swipes, 311 service requests, parking tickets, graffiti, and on and on and on.

With this data open and available, Joel explained that we can challenge our traditional view of government as a “vending machine” in which we put in money and receive services. We can start to participate in the conversation by building applications that take advantage of the information that is produced. There are, however, challenges to working with this open data. As Joel explains, each city agency has been collecting data over time in a silo, and there is no standardization across agencies. His company, Ontodia, aims to address this challenge by helping to do the data wrangling and normalization so that anyone can manipulate this powerful data.

Alan Hudson on 3D printing and open source at Shapeways

Alan Hudson, the Director of 3D Tools at Shapeways, talked about the 3D printing process, Shapeways’ factory in Long Island City, and the open source software that they use. Alan explained how open source enabled startup velocity, not only for Shapeways but for the designers that upload designs on their site to print. For example, he showed how the Steampunk iPhone case went through 9 different designs and $6,000 of sales over the course of a year. In parallel, Shapeways itself maintains over 2 million lines of code and relies heavily on open source to enable iterative development of their product.

Jon Gottfried on the History of the Hackathon

Jon Gottfried is a Developer Evangelist at Twilio, where he goes to hundreds of events and hackathons to talk about the Twilio API. His talk gave an overview of the different types of hackathons, from community-focused open source hackathons to brand-focused hacakthons with prizes. He cited my favorite hackathon, hackNY, which brings students from around the northeast to New York City to work with local startups and receive mentorship from the local tech community. Jon’s call to arms at the end was to focus on why we come together for these types of events, emphasize the community aspects of hackathons and celebrate the art of building.

Vanessa Hurst on Developers for Good

Vanessa Hurst explained how, while working as a programmer for a financial institution she was looking for a way to apply her technical skills in a more fulfilling way. She started an organization called Developers for Good to connect non-profits with people who have technical expertise. She explained that many non-profits benefit from open source since most don’t realize that most of their needs are solved by open source tools such as WordPress. She further explained that for her, helping a non-profit was often the motivation that she needed to learn a new technology. After the event, I felt inspired to join the Developers for Good meetup group.

Michael Li visualizes NYC using foursquare’s check-in data

Michael Li‘s talk generated a ton of conversation and excitement. He presented several fascinating data visualizations based on the foursquare check-in data set. For example, he showed us a moving map of color-coded New York City check-ins by time of day, showing how the city wakes up and moves from the outer boros and burbs into midtown for work, then shifting to lunch and shopping destinations and eventually to night life spots. He presented a graph that demonstrated that for every degree increase in weather, people are 2.1% more likely to buy ice cream. He also showed us the graph of check-ins to popular places like Grey’s Papaya, which had a clear 3am post-clubbing surge in check-ins :)

After all of this “data porn” Michael showed the underlying technologies that foursquare leverages as well as the machine learning principles that he applies to determine venue recommendations.

Andy Parsons on the New York City Startup Stack

Our final talk of the day came from Andy Parsons, the CTO and Co-Founder of Happify and serial New York City entrepreneur. Andy began his talk with an anecdote about a startup that he was part of during the late 90’s that had a major outage. While the majority of the stack was .NET, a forward thinking engineer had suggested that they use Postgres, an open source database. During that outage, the only part of the infrastructure that didn’t go down was the database — because he was able to see the underlying source code. That experience gave Andy the insight that using open technologies was a more pragmatic approach.

Andy also talked about the importance of community. He referenced a dinner for entrepreneurs that he and I frequent where the organizers says “If you leave without helping someone, you’ve failed.” Andy encouraged everyone to give back to the community, whether it’s through contributing code, open sourcing a project, or sharing knowledge in a blog post or talk.

The Event Overall

Overall, I enjoyed all of the presentations and learned something from each of the talks. When we started planning the event, we decided to start with a smaller, single track event to see what the response was to make sure that we didn’t take on more than we could handle. I’m glad we went with this approach, because with 180 registered, the event was intimate enough that we could do Q&A during each session and have good conversations during the breaks and at lunch.

The venue was also amazing, with rooftop space and an amazing view of the city that everyone enjoyed. We lucked out with incredible weather on one of the first beautiful days of spring. Everyone could sit in the sunshine between talks.

The Next Event?

Now that the first Open Tech NYC is complete, I’m already thinking about what to do next with the event. Justin wants to organize a second event this year, which is both exciting and daunting. For those of you who were at the event, I’d love to hear in the comments your thoughts and feedback on the conference and what we can do better next time.

Thanks

Thank you to all of the amazing speakers: Sumana, Joel, Alan, Jon, Vanessa, Michael, and Andy

Thank you to Jukay Hsu, Ben Wei, and David Yang at the Coalition for Queens for partnering with Justin and me on the event.

Thank you to Joyride for the coffee, StackOverflow for lunch, Send Tech for the wireless, Team Bubbly for the video production.

Thank you to everyone who came to the first event, and special thanks to volunteers Andrew Morrow, Ian Whalen, Dan Crosta, Andy Dirnberger for helping with set up and registration.

Thank you Justin for motivating me to do this!

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