10 Aug 2016

NDC Sydney: Developer Tools Down Under

I was honored to speak at NDC Sydney last week on “Faster and less risky releases with feature flags”. Just for clarification, NDC is “Norwegian Developer Conference”, which is so popular that they now have a London and Sydney event. NDC focuses on Microsoft technologies (.Net/Azure) and Agile. Attendees were a great crowd of Australians from Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and all over, as well as many international speakers. The talks were a good mix of practical (Damian Brady‘s demo on Octopus Deploy) to the theoretical (“What is Technical Debt?”). Adam Cogan had seen me speak at Microsoft Build and suggested I apply, and I was happy I attended.

At my talk on feature flagging, attendees were split between those who were already feature flagging and wanted tips on how to get better, and those who wanted to incorporate feature flagging into their development process. There was general buy-in that feature flagging was a valuable tool to help reduce risk and iterate quicker.

NDC Sydney did a good job of mixing in networking with talks. There was a Sydney Harbor Boat Cruise, as well as PubConf, with Ignite talks. The talks were so funny I wished I could have tweeted them, but organizer Todd Gardner said they were off the record.

I even managed to feature flag myself in Sydney. At a conference happy hour, I tell the group I’m here to speak about feature flagging:

IMG_8173 (1)

Sydney Flagged for Olympics

Guy: “Feature flagging? That’s the way all development is going.”
Me: “Yep! Absolutely”
Him “Do you think feature flagging as a service will take off?” he asks the group around us. Everyone jumps in with an opinion.
Him “There’s a company in Silicon Valley doing feature flagging as a service, can you believe it?”
Group weighs in with thoughts.
Then the guy pulls up a phone and shows everyone – the website of our company. LaunchDarkly.

At this point, it’s far more interesting to me to hear everyone else’s thoughts on feature flagging. It’s a loud bar at 7 pm, which is 2 AM my time. I’m jet lagged and soaking in candid feedback of the merits of feature flagging/toggling.

About 20 minutes later, I go talk to the original guy.

“Just so you know, I work for a feature flagging company…LaunchDarkly”.

Him: OH!

(more feature flagging geekery)

10 minutes later.. him – “So, the CEO of LaunchDarkly is a female.”

Me “Yes, that’s me”.

Him “!!!”

In short, I’d recommend NDC Sydney for any developer who wants both practical as well as cultural talks, as well as anyone who wants to connect with friendly Australian developers.

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Edith Harbaugh
CEO & Co-Founder at LaunchDarkly
Edith is CEO & cofounder of LaunchDarkly. She has more than 10 years of experience in product, engineering and marketing with both consumer and enterprise startups. She was Product Director at TripIt, where she launched TripIt for Business and ExpenseIt. She holds two patents in deployment. Edith earned a BS, Engineering from Harvey Mudd College and a degree in Economics from Pomona College. She enjoys trail running distances up to 100 miles.