Conference Talks

There's nothing I love more than sharing what I've learned with a group of developers. 

Want me to talk at your next conference? Get in touch. 

What People Are Saying...

ian douglas on Twitter: %22The social experiment at @BoulderPython during @editingemily's talk was hilarious and encouraging.%22 2017-06-14 14-33-29.png






VIrginia beach, va | June 1-2

Dr. Seuss Guide to Code Craftsmanship

I have a two-year-old daughter who adores Dr. Seuss. And as I was reading Cat in the Hat for the 214th time, I realized Dr. Seuss had it all figured out.

His words are odd. The cadence confusing. But there’s a gem hidden in all his children’s rhymes.

You see, Dr. Seuss would have made an excellent engineer.
Because great code isn’t about choosing the perfect method name or building out 95% test coverage. All that is great, but it doesn’t make great code.


It likely never feels that way. There’s a rhythm to software development that goes something like this:

  1. “Easy. I’ve got this.”
  2. “Uhhh, maybe not.”
  3. “HALP! I have no idea what the f*ck I’m doing.”
  4. “How did I not think of that before?!”
  5. “I AM A GOD.”

This process is okay if you’re comfortable having a mild psychotic break every sprint. I’m not.

We’re going about it all wrong. Putting ourselves — our egos — above our code. No judgement. I do it too. We’re human. It’s okay.

But I think we can bypass our egos and the emotional ups and downs it produces. This talk will focus on common pitfalls along the development lifecycle and distill Dr. Seuss’s excellent advice into concise steps developers can take before they write a single line of code.

In the words of Dr. Seuss: "You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.



Charleston, SC | MAY 18-19

Humpty Dumpty + DevOps  

I’m convinced Humpty Dumpty is a story of DevOps gone wrong.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king's horses and all the king's men
Couldn't put Humpty back together again.

First, who asks a horse to do surgery? Hoofs can’t hold scalpels. Second, either the king’s men are inept or they’re not communicating. Two kindergarteners with some Elmer’s could have done the job.

You see, Humpty is a deploy. He was fine in staging but shit the bed in production. Now the site’s down and your boss is threatening everyone’s jobs.

IT is saying the code is broken. The developers are saying it’s a server issue. Meanwhile, Humpty is bleeding out. And your customers are complaining on Twitter. Which means a customer service rep has entered the #incident channel to tell you the site’s down. Yea, no shit, Tom.

Sound familiar?

DevOps is the new Agile. Everyone “does it” but few fully embrace it. This talk will focus on common pitfalls and how to ensure your entire team — ops, IT, sysadmins, SREs and developers — stop blaming each other and work together.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
Couldn’t put Humpty together again.

Boulder Python

Boulder, COlorado | Apr 11

Pythons + Vipers: Empathy in Tech

Pythons and vipers are far from friendly. They’re scaly, try to kill you and are kinda associated with Satan. 

But they have a lot to teach us about empathy. 

We all know there’s a diversity problem in tech. It’s literally been beaten into our heads. What we haven’t heard is a solution. And I’m not talking about hiring pipelines. 

Some of you are the oldest engineer on your team. Or the youngest. Maybe you’re the only woman or person of color. Perhaps you have depression or anxiety. You’re married. Single. Have kids. Care for an ailing parent. Gay. Straight. Transgender. 

We’re all different. And I think that’s pretty awesome. But sometimes — often — our differences divide us. 

This talk will focus on empathy. And how we can use it to make our jobs, and each other, more awesome.

We’ll cover the evolutionary forces that make our brains desire conformity, look at Solomon Asch’s study on social pressure and discover how one simple change can open our eyes and help us start solving diversity in tech.



DevOpsDays Madison


Humpty Dumpty: A Story of DevOps Gone Wrong


NordicAPIs Platform Summit

Stockholm, sweden | Oct 24-26

Humpty Dumpty: A Story of API DevOps Gone Wrong  


javaDay Kyiv

kyiv, ukraine | Oct 14-15

Humpty Dumpty + DevOps


Denver Startup Week

Denver, CO | Sept 12-16

Periods, Airbags and Artificial Hearts | Diversity in Tech

Abstract: Hiring and retaining a diverse tech team is critical to your product development. Did you know Apple’s HealthKit was released without a function for women to track their menstrual cycle — something women have been doing for millennia. Airbags were designed for a 6-foot-tall man weighing 200 pounds and killed hundreds of women when they hit the market. Artificial hearts are too big for women’s chest cavities, even though women make up roughly half of heart disease patients. Products targeting minorities, the elderly or the poor are often overlooked and underfunded.

We know there’s a problem. Now it’s time to find a solution. A diverse panel of software engineers will discuss how companies can better attract and retain women and people of color as employees. We’ll cover how to build a more inclusive company culture as well as factors that lead diverse employees to leave a workplace.

Emily Dowdle, Ryan Johnson, Marla Brizel, Jim Ray, Jorge Téllez

Emily Dowdle, Ryan Johnson, Marla Brizel, Jim Ray, Jorge Téllez



Denver, CO | Mar 8

Title: Recursion

Abstract: You don’t have to be a ninja to use recursion with Ruby. Don’t believe me? That’s probably because everyone who talks about recursion uses examples like factorials and the fibonacci sequence.

But I’m not a big fan of math, so there’ll be none of that at this week’s Denver.rb beginner track. Swing by anytime after 6:00 for some fun with recursion. You’ll walk out having written a recursive method. Which, let’s face it, means you’re a badass.