We often hear engineers lament how hard it is to get anything done inside of a big company. The trick to overcoming this is to know the right people, understand how power flows in the organization, and, most importantly, what you can get away with and when. We’ll help you understand the human element of navigating companies both big and small through a series of (hopefully) amusing anecdotes.
Brian Fitzpatrick started Google’s Chicago engineering office in 2005, and currently leads Google’s Transparency Engineering team, which uses data to help protect free expression and free speech on the web. He also founded and leads Google’s Data Liberation Front, a team that systematically works to make it easy for users to move their data both to and from Google (e.g. via Google Takeout). He serves as both thought leader and internal advisor for Google’s open data efforts and has previously led the Google Code and The Google Affiliate Network teams.
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 first started contributing to open source software in 1998 and was a core Subversion developer from 2000 to 2005 as well as 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. He is also a member of the Open Web Foundation. Brian has written several books, numerous articles, and given many presentations on a wide variety of subjects from open data to version control to software development. He is the co-author of “Team Geek: A Software Developer’s Guide to Working Well with Others,” “Version Control with Subversion” (now in its second edition), and 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.
Ben Collins-Sussman is one of the founding developers of the Subversion version control system, and co-authored O’Reilly’s “Version Control with Subversion” book and more recently O’Reilly’s “Team Geek: a Software Developer’s Guide to Working Well with Others.”
Ben co-founded Google’s engineering office in Chicago, ported Subversion to Google’s Bigtable platform, led Google Code’s Project Hosting team, and now manages the engineering team for the Google Affiliate Network. Prior to joining Google, Ben was a senior software engineer on the version control team at CollabNet. He has been an active open source contributor for over twelve years, contributing to projects related to version control and gaming.
Ben collects hobbies which tend to explore the tension between art and science. He has given numerous talks about the social challenges of software development. He writes interactive fiction games and tools, and was the co-winner of the 15th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition. He has co-authored several original musicals and received multiple awards for musical theater composition. He has an Extra-class FCC license for amateur radio, and also spends time learning DSLR photography and playing bluegrass banjo. Ben is a proud native of Chicago, and holds Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Chicago with a major in Mathematics and minor in Linguistics. He still lives in Chicago with his wife, kids, and cats.
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