A few weeks ago I had a whirlwind two days, attending the Denver Business Journal 40 Under 40 awards ceremony Thursday evening, then flying off that night to Droidcon San Fransisco where I spoke on Friday! It was epic, but I got lucky with minimal flight delays and plenty of coffee.
Denver Business Journal 40 Under 40 Awards
At the DBJ awards event I really enjoyed spending time mingling with other winners, and was so excited to meet Carrie Wallis, another woman engineer! She is currently working on a really amazing project for the I-70 east corridor here in Denver. The whole night was filled with phenomenal people, doing some really groundbreaking and impressive work in Colorado. I was completely humbled to be listed alongside them.
Not only was the company great, but the views were spectacular! Even though the snow was blocking what I’m sure was a great view of the mountains, I couldn’t get enough of this view of Denver’s iconic cash register building. Check out that crane, too. Can’t go a block in Denver these days without seeing one. It is an exciting time to live in Denver; I love seeing these surface parking lots turn into beautiful skyscrapers.
I left the party and headed straight off to DIA to catch my flight into San Fransisco. I was super scared the snow would delay an already late flight, but I only ended up arriving 1 hr late.
— Kelly Shuster (@KellyShuster) March 18, 2016
Droidcon San Francisco
I awoke bright and early the next morning, excited for the first conference session. I had watched a short talk by Christina Lee online a few weeks ago about using React Native concepts but writing your app natively in Kotlin. She gave a longer 40 minute talk at Droidcon SF, which was really great.
— Kelly Shuster (@KellyShuster) March 18, 2016
Yigit Boyar gave an excellent talk about designing apps for offline. I really appreciated his comments about designing for the user first and foremost, even if it adds a little overhead to your code.
— Romain Guy (@romainguy) March 18, 2016
This tweet set off quite the discussion in the twitter-verse, but I totally stand by this comment. I really do think developers sometimes get lost in the technical details and lose sight of providing the best UX. Obviously you don’t want a crashy app with loads of tech debt. But we have to remember that really at the end of the day, the whole point of the app is to provide something to the user. Without the user, our app is meaningless!
I was really excited to give my talk “Android Internal Library Dependency Management”, because I had rewritten over half of it (with more code examples) since I gave it at Big Android BBQ, and I liked this new version better. When I walked into the room I was going to speak in, I couldn’t believe that it was a real auditorium, with a real stage. It was so so cool. While giving a talk after lunch is kind of a bummer because people are sleepy, I was grateful to have tons of extra time to set up before people arrived.
I used to do a ton of theater, and its been almost 10 years since I performed on a real stage. I was a bit caught off guard at how awesome I felt being ‘back’ on stage. There is a certain sound your shoes make as you walk across the stage, and a certain kind of feeling you get standing in the wings. It is hard to describe, but I didn’t realize how much I really missed it until that moment.
Life is funny, you know. Deciding to not pursue the arts as my career was pretty hard thing to do. I had several moments in college, sitting the second basement windowless lab alone, debugging a circuit at 2am, wondering if I’d made the right choice. It is so awesome that in technical speaking I’ve found a way to combine so many of my passions. <3
I proceeded to give my talk, and I have to say it went really well! I had practiced a lot so my timing was pretty solid, and I got a lot of great questions at the end. I also had several people come up to me after my talk, to discuss the finer details. There are just a few small things I will change for next time. Yay!
— DroidSmith (@devunwired) March 18, 2016
— Amanda B. Hill (@mandybess) March 18, 2016
— 5280 Mark (@5280mark) March 18, 2016
— Siena (@sienatime) March 18, 2016
There were a lot of great booths setup everywhere, but since I was only there for one day I didn’t get to check them all out. I did have some fun in the Facebook upside down room though! Too bad the gravity on my hair gives away the illusion a bit haha.
After the conference, a bunch of us wandered out to some food trucks and enjoyed some delicious Señor Sigsig and beers. It was a perfectly relaxing way to end a fast-paced couple of days.
Thank you Denver Business Journal, for selecting me as a 40 Under 40 award recipient! And thank you Droidcon San Francicso for having me as a speaker!