The Liberal Arts Programmer

I’m doing a talk about the value of looking outside of traditional development and agile communities. First up is Agile Day Chicago on October 23rd. Then I travel to Lithuania to do Build Stuff 2015 on November 18-20.

Both promise to be very good, though I’m particularly excited about seeing some old buddies (along with some extra special badass talks) in Lithuania. Greg Young has piqued my interest with talk of beaver stew.

See the abstract below. Hope to see you there!

The Liberal Arts Programmer

At a certain point software was everything in my life. Learning new languages, architectures, design patterns and acquiring skill in practice – my raisons d’etre. After a while things clicked, and I started leading teams of other programmers.

“The People Problem” presented new and foreign challenges. There’s nothing quite like working with others on real products to transform egocentric practice into empathic pragmatism. My search for a new bag of tricks led me back to my earlier studies in the humanities. Suddenly my liberal arts education, formerly regarded as tangential even if interesting, felt applicable to more than cocktail party conversation.

In this talk we’ll look at disciplines outside the purview of software development with an eye for how borrowed ideas can yield not only inspiration and analogy, but real innovations and breakthroughs. I’ll share examples from fine art, psychology, history and literature: examples that continue influence my approach and the work of others.

My sincere hope is that you’ll walk away from our time together with a heightened appreciation for how looking outside software development can enhance your journey within software development.