The Sweet Spot
On software development, engineering leadership, machine learning and all things shiny.

Recap: QCon SF 2014

Blurb sent me off to QCon SF 2014 for three days.


I took a series of notes each day in attendance:


  • Big trends in continuous delivery and deployment – deploy more often, smaller feedback loops
  • A lot of emphasis on event driven architectures + microservices. Lots of emphasis on DDD as a design tool.
  • Reactive systems with functional implementations were widely discussed as a scaling tool (backpressure-sensitive) and as a coordination tool between multiple async services.
  • Big data/realtime streaming talks were interesting – my personal experience with them is limited, but it seems there is a debate over the merits of existing Lambda architecture practice.
  • A lot of talk about microservice orchestration tools – acknowledging the pain of configuration and management of many services.
  • Scala got a lotttt of attention. Probably because of its presence in bigger companies like Netflix, Twitter, LinkedIn. Wonder what smaller startups are using.
  • Web Components were a big upcoming trend in frontend technologies. Strong modularization of views + behaviors in HTML documents.


  • If I could do a startup over again, would I begin an app in Rails? Where is the sweet spot for that sort of application architecture?
  • How can I design systems such that they can be extractible into focused components/services as early as possible?
  • How can we plan for failures (fault injection)?
  • How does one implement change in software engineering organizations? Bottom-up (organic initiatives bubbling up through management) vs top-down (management/software leaders direct org to implement).
  • How are we doing with encouraging women and minorities who traditionally are underrepresented in our industry?
  • What are places in our hiring funnels that, unbeknownst to us, may be turning away or detracting women and minorities?