Programmer Insecurity and the Genius Myth

Ben Collins-Sussman (Google, Inc.), Brian Fitzpatrick (Google, Inc.)
People
Location: Exhibit Hall 3
Average rating: ***..
(3.88, 16 ratings)

A pervasive elitism hovers in the background of collaborative software development: everyone secretly wants to be seen as a genius. In this talk, we discuss how to avoid this trap and gracefully exchange personal ego for personal growth and super-charged collaboration. We’ll also examine how software tools affect social behaviors, and how to successfully manage the growth of new ideas.

Photo of Ben Collins-Sussman

Ben Collins-Sussman

Google, Inc.

Ben is a member of Google’s Open Source Program Office, working on projects to promote the spread of open source software both inside and outside the company. He is a technical lead for Google Code’s open source project hosting service, and helped port Subversion to Google’s Bigtable technology, which now runs across numerous machines and serves over 90,000 open source repositories. Prior to Google, Ben spent five years with Collabnet as one of the original designers and founders of the Subversion project. He is still active in the Subversion community and is also a co-author of the O’Reilly book “Version Control with Subversion”. He received his B.S. in Mathematics from the University of Chicago, and enjoys speaking with Brian Fitzpatrick at various conferences on topics both serious and irreverent.

Photo of Brian Fitzpatrick

Brian Fitzpatrick

Google, Inc.

Brian Fitzpatrick started his career at Google in 2005 as the first software engineer hired in the Chicago office. Brian leads Google’s Chicago engineering efforts and also serves as engineering manager for Google Code and internal advisor for Google’s open source efforts. Prior to joining Google, Brian was a senior software engineer on the version control team at CollabNet, working on Subversion, cvs2svn, and CVS. He has also worked at Apple Computer as a senior engineer in their professional services division, developing both client and web applications for Apple’s largest corporate customers. Brian has been an active open source contributor for over ten years. After years of writing small open source programs and bugfixes, he became a core Subversion developer in 2000, and then the lead developer of the cvs2svn utility. He was nominated as a member of the Apache Software Foundation in 2002 and spent two years as the ASF’s VP of Public Relations. Brian has written numerous articles and given many presentations on a wide variety of subjects from version control to software development, including co-writing “Version Control with Subversion” as well as chapters for “Unix in a Nutshell” and “Linux in a Nutshell.” Brian has an A.B. in Classics from Loyola University Chicago with a major in Latin, a minor in Greek, and a concentration in Fine Arts and Ceramics. Despite growing up in New Orleans and working for Silicon Valley companies for most of his career, he decided years ago that Chicago was his home and stubbornly refuses to move to California.

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Comments

Picture of Tucker Bradford
Tucker Bradford
07/23/2009 8:35am PDT

Fantastic talk guys. This is a topic that I’ve been thinking about lately, specifically copping to failure as a way to avoid making the same mistakes twice, as well as to build credibility. You’ve really done a great job getting at the moral without moralizing.Thank you so much!

Picture of Shirley  Bailes
Shirley Bailes
07/22/2009 6:00pm PDT

@alexander… slides are now posted above

Picture of Alexander Vincent
Alexander Vincent
07/22/2009 2:38pm PDT

I’d love to get the slides for this – a very good talk.

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