Category Archives: Conferences

Life at a Start-up : Structuring teams for growth (NDC Oslo Talk Video)

As well as being the head of development for Buying Butler and RightIndem, part of my role is speaking at technology conferences around the world. I speak about many subjects around technology, but I do this as a representative of the company, which helps us spread the word about what we are doing.

In June I went to Oslo in Norway for the NDC conference where I spoke about restructuring teams using techniques that were first described by Spotify. We have tried to adopt something similar in our company, but as with everything Spotify’s technique is not one size fits all. The main message from my talk is that you have to adapt the model to fit your own companies structure and requirements.

In the talk, I discuss how Spotify have done it, and also how we have tried to implement it.  The key difference is that Spotify is a B2C (Business to Consumer) company and we are a B2B (Business to Business) company.

I am thinking of writing a more in-depth article on this, but for now, I will leave you with my talk from the conference. It is the first time I have done the talk, and it seemed to go down very well with people. I had lots of people come and see me afterward to ask me about it in more detail.

Fun and Games at NDC Oslo

Over the past week, I have been very lucky to be speaking at NDC Oslo again. I have the privilege to speak and many fantastic conferences, but NDC Oslo is by far one of my favorites, and this year did not disappoint. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the conference, and as well as learning, this conference was all about celebration with speakers, attendees, and partners partying together.

I had a busy schedule for NDC Oslo this year. I had my main talk, a fun talk at the party, and recording 2 live Pluralsight Play by Play courses.

Fun and Games at NDC Oslo

Fun and Games at NDC Oslo

The Monday and Tuesday were the pre-conference workshops. I wasn’t involved in these, so I flew into Oslo on Tuesday ready for the start of the conference on Wednesday. I attended many great talks, including one from my Pluralsight colleague Scott Allen who was talking about building resilient applications in Azure.

On Wednesday evening there was the speaker dinner which was a cruise on the Norwegian Fjords with a shrimp, salad and pasta dinner. The weather was absolutely perfect for the cruise and we were out from 7.45pm until gone 11 pm, where it was still pretty much daylight. The beer was flowing and so was the conversation. I made lots of new friends on the cruise alone, and I hope to bump into them at other conferences around the world.

Fun and Games at NDC Oslo

Fun and Games at NDC Oslo

I can’t even begin to explain how beautiful Norway is, as these 2 photos above and below show. The picture of the sunset below was taken at nearly 11 pm where it was still very light outside. Luckily the weather for the cruise was really nice and at that time of night on the water, we were still warm. When I went last year it got quite cold by the end of the night.

Fun and Games at NDC Oslo

Fun and Games at NDC Oslo

The next day, after a lie in, I headed back to the conference to watch some sessions. A particular favorite of mine was by Scott Helme, who was talking about emerging HTTP standards and HTTPS adoption. I met Scott on Tuesday when I met up with Troy Hunt, so I had already been out for a few beers and pizza with Scott.

Fun and Games at NDC Oslo

Fun and Games at NDC Oslo

On Thursday afternoon, I was scheduled to record 2 Pluralsight Play by Play courses with my good friend Lars Klint. First up was a course where I was the subject matter expert, which was on Social Engineering. The 2nd course was where Lars was the expert, and this was on Holo Lens and engaging realities. The recordings went quite smoothly, although it was very hot in the room with all the lights. As ever it was really good fun, and I hope to record some more in the future.

Fun and Games at NDC Oslo

Fun and Games at NDC Oslo

After we finished the recordings we headed to the NDC Party. In one of the rooms was a series of talks called spectacular failures. This was hosted by Lars, and I was also one of the speakers. These were fun 10-minute talks about failure. I did a talk about biting off more than you can chew when it comes to skills and opportunities. The talk got lots of laughs so I class that as a success 🙂

Fun and Games at NDC Oslo

Fun and Games at NDC Oslo

After the spectacular failures talks, there was a band called LoveShack. They were a metal band that does 80’s covers. They were really good. The crowd was going crazy and the music was loud. I don’t go to many gigs these days, but this was definitely up there for really good concerts. On Friday I attended more sessions throughout the day, and in the afternoon was my talk Scaling Agile using the Spotify Model. Agile talks can always be a little controversial, but the audience was engaged, I had some good questions throughout the talk and at the end, so I was very happy with the result. The talk also scored well in the ratings.

After the conference officially ended, there was an after conference called PubConf held in a local bar. This event has lots of short talks by other speakers from the conference. The talks are comedy talks and the speaker gets 10 minutes and 20 slides to tell their story, Ignite-style. To make it even more challenging, the slides move to the next slide after 15 seconds. The talks were great. My favorite was “How to code like an arse hole” by Damian Brady. The beer was flowing and so was the conversation. It was a great night. I am so glad I stayed the extra night and had a flight late afternoon on Saturday so I could get rid of the hangover.

It was an amazing week at NDC Oslo and I feel very privileged to have spoken there again for the 2nd year. I hope I can get in again next year.

Speaking at Techorama in Antwerp

In the week of the 22nd May 2017, I had the good fortune to speak again at the Techorama Tech conference in Belgium. This year the conference moved from its original venue in Mechelen to the city of Antwerp. I spoke at Techorama last year and really enjoyed the experience. For the venue, they hire out a huge cinema, which means you are presenting on stage with huge cinema screens behind you. This is perfect as a venue because a cinema is perfectly equipped for audio and visual projection.

Techorama Conference in Antwep

Techorama Conference in Antwerp

Once I arrived at Brussels airport, I had to get the train to Antwerp. This journey took about an hour and once I reached Antwerp, I was greeted by the most amazing train station that was architecturally fascinating, as you can see in the photo above. All the speakers this year were staying at the Lindner hotel just behind Antwerp Central station. The hotel was about a 15-minute drive from the conference venue, so the organizers arranged transportation to take us all to and from the venue.

Techorama Conference in Antwerp

Techorama Conference in Antwerp

The stage setup, as you can see in the photo above, is excellent. Easily the best stage I have ever presented from. This year I was presenting my Rollercoasters fun talk. This talk is about software design patterns and abstractions, but instead of just reeling through design patterns and boring the audience, I picked another industry to talk about which is Steel Rollercoaster design. In this talk, I break a rollercoaster down into a series of abstractions and design patterns. Ultimately the talk is about the importance of abstractions, patterns and shared terminology in a team. It is a good fun talk and is ideal for the last day of a conference where everyone’s brains have turned to mush from all the great technical content.

Techorama Conference in Antwerp

Techorama Conference in Antwerp

The talk seemed to go down well and I got quite a few laughs from the audience at all the right places. What was really cool was the talk I show a couple of First Person Perspective rollercoaster videos and they looked AMAZING on the large cinema screen. So much so, as they were playing I said to the audience that I need to come and sit in the front row to watch it. So I sat there with the audience whilst I narrated what was going on. It was all really good fun.

Techorama Conference in Antwerp

Techorama Conference in Antwerp

I had an amazing time here again at Techorama. It is a very well organized and run conference and having spoken here last year, it was as consistently good as last year. I hope I am lucky enough to get to speak here again, as I will definitely be applying again.

Speaking at SDD Conference in London

The summer has so far been very busy for me with speaking at many great conferences.  On the 15th May, I headed down to London to talk at the SDD Conference hosted at the Barbican Centre. It is the first time that I have spoken at SDD, so it is great to get to experience a new conference setup.

SDD Conference

SDD Conference

We were staying at a hotel called the Hoxton in Shoreditch, which I have to say is the most hipster place I have ever seen in my life, and this is a good thing.  The hotel had loads and loads of character and it was good that all the speakers were staying there so I got me meet up with lots of old friends and make many new ones.

I was doing 2 talks at this conference. First was my talk on what product manufacturing can teach us about software development. Essentially it is a talk about Lean Software development and it seemed to go down well. My second talk was more of a fun talk about Rollercoasters. This talk is about software design patterns and abstractions, but instead of just reeling through design patterns and boring the audience, I picked another industry to talk about which is Steel Rollercoaster design. In this talk, I break a rollercoaster down into a series of abstractions and design patterns.  Ultimately the talk is about the importance of abstractions, patterns and shared terminology in a team. It is a good fun talk and is ideal for the last day of a conference where everyone’s brains have turned to mush from all the great technical content.

SDD Conference

SDD Conference

 

Whilst I was there I also got to see some other talks in between having to work from the speaker’s lounge. Two of my favorite talks were actually by Jeremy Clarke. The first was on Async and Await, and the 2nd was a soft skill talk about being introverted and how to interact with people as a developer.

SDD Conference

SDD Conference

Overall I was very impressed with this conference. It was well organized and well run. I will certainly be applying to speak there again next year. I feel very fortunate with the events that I get to speak at as they are a great way to meet new people and interacting with the audience after a talk is always so much fun.

SDD Conference

SDD Conference

What was really cool, was that some new speakers that I met were also speaking the following week at Techorama in Antwerp, which I was also speaking at, so a lot of the speakers tend to go to similar events, so some conversations were picked up the following week. How cool is that…

Speaking at Code Europe in Krakow Poland

Last week I had the pleasure of being invited to Krakow in Poland to present at the Code Europe conference. The conference organizers first got in touch with me a few months ago to ask me to speak, and I was invited to present my cryptography talk,.NET Data Security – Hope is Not a Strategy. This has been a popular talk of mine over the last 18months, so I was delighted to travel to Poland to deliver the speech.

Code Europe Conference in Poland

Code Europe Conference in Poland

The conference itself was hosted at the Krakow ICE Congress Centre, which was a fantastic venue. The building is less than 3 years old, and it looks very modern and new. I am a big fan of architecture, and this building didn’t disappoint. Before being invited to Code Europe, I had not heard of this conference, but I must say it was very well organized and as speakers we were all well looked after. Our hotel was next to the arena, so it was very convenient to get to the event. This particular event was a 1-day show, with 2 following days in Warsaw later in May.  Even though it was 1 day, I decided to stay out an extra day so that I could see a bit of the city.

Code Europe Conference in Poland

Code Europe Conference in Poland

My talk was at 11.30am and seemed to be well received and I had a full room, which I estimated to be around 150 people. Once I had finished my talk and had a walk around the conference, I did a bit of sightseeing with my good friend Filip Ekberg from Sweden. Krakow is a beautiful city and I spent a fair bit of time walking around the old town. The weather wasn’t the best as it was raining a lot, but I made do and still got a lot of sightseeing done.

Code Europe Conference in Poland

Code Europe Conference in Poland

Overall Code Europe was a great experience and I hope I get the opportunity to speak at this event again. The conference was well organized, everyone was very friendly and helpful and Krakow is a really nice city to look around.

Hacking Humans : A Talk About Social Engineering

Back in January I did a talk at NDC London about Social Engineering. This was a new talk and I very much enjoyed doing it to an almost full room. The conference organisers have now published all the videos from the conference. You can see this talk in the video below.

Here is the official talk description:

Social engineering is one of the biggest threats to our organisations as attackers use manipulation techniques to coerce people into revealing secrets about our companies to allow attackers to gain access to critical systems.
In this talk we will look at some of the techniques used in social engineering and look at how to guard yourself against them. We will cover subjects like pre-texting, elicitation and body language as techniques for manipulating people.

Speaking at NDC {London} 2017

Last week I had the pleasure if attending NDC {London} again as a speaker. The NDC conferences are such an amazing experience and they are run by the awesome people at programutvikling. This is my 2nd time speaking at NDC {London} and like last year where I spoke about Cryptography, I was keeping the security theme going by talking at Social Engineering and Human Hacking.  I was fortunate enough to spend the entire in London for this conference, which included the 2 workshop days before  the main conference.

The reason I wanted to attend the workshop days is because I would like to plan a workshop, so I wanted to sit in part of one to see how they are run. Troy Hunt was kind enough to let me sit in his Hack Yourself First Workshop. I learnt a lot here, not only about security, but the mechanics of running a workshop, including the introduction, pacing, slides, and style etc. This was very useful and I am now ready to plan a workshop of my own.

Stephen Haunts at NDC {London} 2017

Stephen Haunts at NDC {London} 2017

During the first 2 days in London I got to spend a little downtime walking around London with Lars Klint. This was quite relaxing as we caught a train to Tower Gateway and then walked from the Tower of London down the Southbank, through Trafalgar Square and around other parts of London. We easily did 18km that day. My feet were killing me, but was great fun. It was the first time Lars had been to these areas, and for me, I hadn’t walked around those parts of London since I was a kid. Continue reading