Over the last couple of years I have attended Goto conferences and always thought they were one of a kind. I always came back with a lot of things I didn’t know and a lot of new thoughts on things I already knew. I will of course go again this year. Looking through the program, it struck me that there is actually a basic pattern that goes through all Goto conferences. I think I have deciphered it and unlocked the secret code of the Goto experience.
Like a good recipe you have to start with good raw materials and Goto always have class a speakers from all the most interesting companies. The same is the case here. They have speakers from Netflix, Uber, Pinterest, New York Times. They also have people who invented the stuff and wrote the textbooks, like Martin Fowler, Devlin Kenney, Jez Humble and Tim Bray.
At goto conferences we always find something provocative. This year Tim Bray asks “Does the browser have a future?”. It reminds me about 10 15 years ago when I saw a comedian asking the question “Is TV here to stay or is it just a fad”. We were all laughing our guts out (or ROFL as it would later come to be known) because it was so evident that TV, was here to stay. But asking provocative questions sometimes is an eyeopener. Consider asking the same question today? It could even be the theme of a serious op ed in New York times. No one would be laughing. So, try to control your ROFL and listen to the provocative questions.
It is no secret that agile has always been at the heart of the goto experience whether it is continuous delivery, scrum or kanban. In later years much of the agile interest has turned towards the lean start up movement (as I documented a couple of years ago). This is also the case this year where the lean enterprise is in the program.
Something about UX
One thing that I have enjoyed a lot on Goto conferences has been the uncompromising focus on user experience and usability. This year Chris Atherton has an interesting talked called “UX for mobile: It’s all about attention” which I am looking a lot forward to. She combines a software design with cognitive neuroscience, which is another thing you often see at goto conferences: the courage to dig a bit deeper and look at cognitive, physical or neurological foundations of what is a basic computer problem.
Something about massive scaling
There is no denying the geeky heart of goto. One year for example it was about the data collection at CERN. This year we have Architecture at Uber to satisfy quench the scaling thirst.
Something incredibly nerdy about new languages or frameworks
A couple of years ago Anders Hejlsberg chose the goto conference for the international announcement of Typescript. There is always stuff about the most obscure and up-and-coming new languages and frameworks at the goto conference. One example this year is “Idioms for building distributed fault-toleratn applications with Elixir”.