SRCCON in Minneapolis, MN

A fun few days in Minnesota at SRCCON 2015 (lovely pictures on Instagram). Wasn’t sure what to think going into the conference, but whatever preconceived notions I had DID NOT MATTER. It was unlike any conference I have been to. Instead of a list of industry leading professionals talking at you from behind a microphone, we spent 2 days in front of microphones talking about the Techno-Journo industry and how we can all make it better through process. Tons of rich discourse, experiments and hacks happened each day. Here’s my reflection from each of the talks I attended:

Day 1 – Reflections

Become a Better Programmer Through Mundane Programming (2/5)
Daniel Nguyen, Geoff Hing

  • Dan and Geoff presented concepts on how to filter task normal done in Excel and developers talked about fails. Look into using curl and wget to scrape sites. could be a interesting way to break out boring tasks or data into fun side projects

Everyone Is an Illustrator: Making Your Own Art When None Exists (4/5)
Arjuna Soriano, Kavya Sukumar

  • Kavya (Knight Fellow at Vox) and Arjuna (front end dev) walked through exercises from Linda Barry’s Syllabus. Draw for 8 minutes a day. Think about the setting (who, what, why) in order to construct a narrative. Put unlike object together (tattoos on bridge, binoculars on rats) and show humor in simple ways (unsuccessful projects end up on your head).

Building Strong Journo-Tech Networks—Internationally (3/5)
Anika Gupta, Gabriela Rodriguez

  • A short session on Journalism abroad and the struggles to retain connections with community. Anika and Gabriela. Both strong journalists and developers. Fun to discuss what makes a successful news org and hear the trend that veteran news folks are becoming entrepreneurs in China, as well as internationally.

Taking Web Accessibility Beyond Assumptions (3/5)
Ryan Murphy

  • Ryan Murphy led a conversation (with no real answers) about accessibility within organizations. Is it an after thought? Should we provide more business value to it? How do we make it a line item? How do we create empathy for the user instead of just getting in their shoes. Include them. Ask more specific screener questions that ask: Would you consider yourself disadvantaged?

Recruiting and Hiring People Not Wishlists (3/5)
Erika Owens, Helga Salinas, Ted Han

  • Fun way to end the day. Three folks led the conversation about Hiring Managers vs. Applicants. What we’d like to see. How to make the process better? Overall a clear and jargon-less process is crucial. Along with an understanding of the role for any applicant would be best. Where as the hiring manager also considers process, but thinks about crudless development.
  • Talked with Ted from DocumentCloud about CP RE: how they interact with certain data.

Lightning Talks (5/5)

Day 2

Let’s Act Out Code Concepts to Help Teach Them (4/5)
Matt Waite

  • After asking what concepts would be beneficial to teach n00bs to development, Matt had us break out in to groups and come up with way—or skits—to act out those concepts. Here’s the result: https://github.com/mattwaite/programming-skits

Let’s Stop Worrying and Let Our Reporters Make Their Own Graphics (4/5)
David Yanofsky, Becky Bowers

  • RUN, FIX, KILL. After being show a chart, we were asked in our groups if we’d run it, fix it or kill it. A fun way to talk about how visual charts should be instantly understandable and if they aren’t we should talk about them. There was also a lively debate between myself and Becky about the merits of the “block chart”
  • More at: Bit.ly/yano-bowers

What (Front-End) Tools Do You Use? (5/5)
Alan Palazzolo, Justin Heideman

Surviving the News Business: Self-Care and Overcoming Burnout (3/5)
Alyson Hurt, Tiff Fehr

  • A little bit of “Love Thy Neighbor” and having empathy go a long way to prevent Lost “Puppies” or Curmudgeon-y “Barnacles”.
  • A great way to judge yourself 1.) try 360 reviews if you dare, or 2.) https://www.flickr.com/photos/livlab/3056828148/

After the Altar Call: Maintaining Momentum, Community, and Inspiration Beyond Conferences (2/5)
Kaeti Hinck, Millie Tran

  • Great conversation about staying in touch with your community. Let’s do more of that.
  • Follow the #nerdlist channel on Slack for more insight.

We didn’t lose! Queue the Prince…oh no, let’s go…get beers and watch women’s soccer!

Also, if the above is insufficient and you still need more, I recommend the brief from David Yanovsky (@YAN0) of QZ: http://data.qz.com/srccon-daily-brief/

And the official Etherpad: https://etherpad.mozilla.org/SRCCON2015-onward