El pasado 9 de noviembre del 2019 se realizó el Boyaconf, una conferencia de tecnología realizada en la ciudad de Duitama, Colombia. Fue una de las mejores conferencias que he participado y tiene un especial recuerdo para mí por ser la última conferencia siendo parte de Mozilla Techspeakers y antes de la pandemia global que tuvimos. Ademas que me enteré que iba a ser ponente muchos meses antes y pues esperaba con ansias que se hiciera.

Breve resumen del Boyaconf 2019

El evento constaba de un solo día con una variedad de charlas tanto nivel básico como avanzado. Ademas, los temas eran diversos así que había contenido para aprender sin importar que rama de la informática te gusta.

La calidad de los ponentes era chévere, con presencia de varios países de latinoamérica. El evento estuvo animado por Karolina Landino quien hizo un excelente trabajo presentando a los ponentes y animando a la audiencia entre charlas. Posteriormente, Jahir Fiquitiva nos dio una introducción/bienvenida al evento y los detalles como organizador.

Las charlas estuvieron excelente, se habló sobre Android, Javacript, complejidad computacional, Inteligencia Artificial, escalar sistemas para alta demanda, realidad virtual (excelente ponencia de Fabio Cortés), micro-servicios y mas. El hecho de tener contenido variado logró captar la atención de toda la audiencia y ser entretenida a lo largo del día.

Luego del evento procedimos a tomarnos fotos, recibir swag de los patrocinadores y compartir un rato entre ponentes y asistentes. Tuve la oportunidad de ver a varios de mis ex-alumnos de la universidad, pero ya egresados como colegas de la ingeniería.

¡Finalmente el evento cerró con un after-party excelente! Pero los detalles quedan ajenos al artículo 😄. Para mi fue excelente porque venía de estar casi un mes viajando por todo el mundo dando charlas y podía cerrar con broche de oro.

Mi charla sobre WebAssembly

Mi charla fue una introducción a WebAssembly con nueva incorporaciones de demostraciones y contenido para la fecha del evento. La charla era una de la versión en español de la dictada en BrazilJS 2019 y por esta misma razón quedo muy corta. Me di cuenta que cuando la dí en inglés tuvo una duración de 25 minutos, mientras que en el Boyaconf fue de 20 minutos porque mi español es rápido y tenía mas dominio del tema.

Recuerdo que hubo excelentes preguntas y el público estaba interesado. Había una cantidad notable de gente de mi ciudad natal (San Cristóbal, Venezuela), por lo que al nombrar de donde era ellos hicieron bulla para darse a conocer (no me ha pasado en ningún otro evento).

Luego de mi charla pude interactuar con mucho público. De todos los eventos que he participado en Colombia, los del Boyaconf 2019 fueron los asistentes como que mas pude interactuar, hablar y tomar fotos.

Fue una excelente experiencia, ojalá se repita y pueda volver a asistir. Al parecer los organizadores están buscando como hacer una conferencia similar para el próximo año, así que entra en contacto con ellos y trata de brindar tu ayuda para que se haga realidad.

La entrada Mi experiencia en el Boyaconf 2019 se publicó primero en El blog de Skatox.

It has been so long since I went to my last Fedora conference that to be honest, I was overwhelm. Having so many friends around who actually understand my love for open source and communities, was something that I needed. After 4 countries, I finally arrived to this lovely city that mesmerize me in every way. Budapest has become my favorite city in the world and I will take with me all my life everything that happened during FLOCK… I can literally say that my life changed here. I will try to make a resume of what happened at Flock, so please fetch yourself a drink and lets start.

Diversity and Inclusion: Expanding the concept and reaching ALL the community.

Timing not always seems perfect, but sometimes things work just as they should at the end. When I was named Diversity & Inclusion Advisory I didn’t knew that life would get in the middle and would ended up actually helping people after a bit more than 3 years. I’m glad I was able to catch up with this team who has been doing a fantastic job. I’ve been contributing with amazing people for years, and finally meeting my team, Amita, Justin, Jona and Bee, was like a dream come true.

Probably the best from FLOCK was to being able to record several members from our community who kindly accepted to say their names, the places where they come from and the language they speak, and create a small video showing how Diverse and Inclusive Fedora is. Produce a short 2min video in such a chaotic schedule is challenging enough, so after 3 hours of recording, and a rough 2:30hs of editing, I ended up finishing the render of the video just as I was plugin my laptop to the main stage… People usually don’t know how long it takes to do something like that, but I’m just glad everyone seemed to like it and that my laptop didn’t died in the process.

While working on the video, I was able to have small interviews with several folks from Fedora and got to ask them how comfortable they felt in the community. It was satisfactory to learn from them that the overall care we have take to make minorities feel more included has worked, however, it was a bit sad to learn how hard has been for our contributors to deal with burn out, how tired they are of putting fires out instead doing new projects and mainly getting a general sense of getting stuck into the same routine.

As our team says, our labor is not only to help with the diversity efforts for making everyone feel comfortable, but we also need to work more to include more effective ways to give people a sense of purpose, provide new challenges that put them on a fun path and give them the recognition they deserve. Fedora has always put a lot of effort into bringing new people to contribute, but I’ve seen that the old contributors are getting on a side because “everything is working” and we need to take care of that. They need the same attention (and I would dare to say that probably more) than new contributors do. At the end, is this amazing group of people who has to mentor new contributors. Feel free to reach me or any member of the Diversity and Inclusion Team if you feel that this words got your attention and you’re willing to share some thoughts. Anonymity is a top priority.

Marketing: You won't sell what you don't show.

I like to think that conferences like this have 3 parts: Friends, Knowledge and Memories. Meeting your old friends face to face or making new friends is what motivate us to enjoy this conferences. Knowledge is spread and connections between people from same and different projects are made allowing new ideas to flow… but Memories are what keep people motivated and active during the months or years before meeting again. In a world full of cameras and social networks, we sometimes forget that best moments are captured while people is concentrated in the first two items. If you want to get the real face of conferences you need to document it while people is not seeing, when people is making friends and sharing knowledge.

It was quite satisfactory to see the reaction of people at the Helia Conference Room once they saw the Flock resume video. Being able to show them how fun the last 4 days were, was a key point to conclude a fantastic experience. Filling the Social Networks with good quality pictures increased the attention into our community, and more people was willing to share their content so everyone could see the things we were doing. Having quality content is key to spread what we do. Having quality writers and proper localization will help us reach more fantastic people that will help us grow.

Lets never forget the importance of Memories. At the end, these are the ones we can look back and the best way to remind us why we contribute in projects like this. It’s not just the contributions we make, but also the connections we make.

Design: If it's not broken... build it from the scratch!

Who doesn’t like a bit of a challenge? After the “Survey no-Survey” (lets call it -interviews- so we don’t get into Legal) I did notice that there are several services that are working, but could be better. Meeting riecatnor and Tanvi was one of the highlights of FLOCK. Design team has always been a small group, but numbers aren’t exactly growing. Marie’s badges workshop ended up being a fantastic opportunity not just to check and close tickets, but brought a great discussion about how Badges are being used and where should we aim to. Having Renata there to conduct a small usability test with new and old contributors, help us identify some things that could be done better at Badges. We have no idea right now about the specifics, but I think great things will come for the Badges platform. Having friends at different team is probably what makes this community the best… so when pingou heard that we might do some changes to Badges, he and Xavier jumped in… we don’t even have a design or anything for it… but that’s when you realize that “is more fun (and productive) to build from the scratch instead just fixing old bugs”.

I’m trying to figure out if a badges simplification, both as in quantity and quality would be good for the overall behavior of the website, and probably going from pngs to svg’s and having a badge reduction could also make us have a faster website… so If you’re interested on helping us explore this ideas, come to the Badges channel (both irc and freenode) or just ping me wherever you see me.

Serious stuff goes here: Catching up with the new Fedora structure.

I used to knew the Fedora structure like the palm of my hand, but again timing isn’t perfect, and Fedora changed EVERYTHING as soon as I went into my maternity leave… I won’t lie that even if things look better on an organizational level, it has been harder than ever to get around how things work now. One of the hardest things I’ve always seen at Fedora resources is that we are so energetic into explaining how our process work, that we end up with more web pages explaining the same thing than we should. I hope someday this changes and it seems that we are on that path, but there’s still a lot of work to do there.

I wasn’t able to attend the Mindshare meeting since it collided with D&I, however, thx to telegram and an angel who helped me have a voice there, I was able to drop a couple of comments and get some answers. Time to divide the final part into sections:

– LATAM: It was really disappointing to learn that FUDcons stopped while I was on my break. Conferences like this are not just a fantastic opportunity to get things done faster since everyone is at the same place, but also a reward to the effort that our contributors put during a long year into having the community working smoothly. Latin America is a complex region due distances and that’s a fact, but it seemed a decision with no solid -communitary- arguments to just stop. LATAM people is worth the effort, and we will work on making them feel more included. Our diversity is awesome, recognition is needed but also guidance into taking the community to a level where we all feel like doing more.

– Burn out: Most of us who join a community do it for the challenge of doing new things and meeting new people who understands the geeky world we live in. But when you have to do the same thing for a couple of years (or even a decade), getting stuck into repetitive tasks tends to get you exhausted. I thought I was alone on that path, but seems that not. We did empathize on working towards helping our contributors into get new challenges that put them on that creative and joyful path once again, so a refreshment allows them to cope with the routine of supporting a community like Fedora. No easy task, but we can all make a good impact if we look to our sides and try to encourage our fellas.

Final thoughts

If you got here, thank you. Has been a long time since I had the opportunity to see my old friends, catch up with a community I love and learn everything that happened while I was afk being a mom. Sometimes I get the feeling that I’m jumping into things that might be done or already discussed, but if there’s something I’ve learn in so many years, is that new energy (even from old contributors), can shake things enough to make actual improvements.

NOTE: If you see yourself in a picture and want me to remove it or if you want to get a photo I took from you, just send me a message :)

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