Next Conference

This week I spoke at NextDoor. I don’t have a verbatim record, but this is what I said, as close as I can recall. I spoke about Thinking like a Tester and being strategic about where we look for bugs. I was wrapping up by pointing out that our biases create blind spots that we need to compensate for, to find the bugs that affect people who are different from ourselves, to make our apps better for everyone. Then I took a deep breath and went off-script…

This room is full of guys. I know you didn’t find women interested in this conference and take away their tickets, but you have a responsibility to bring diversity to the next conference.

It could be as simple as telling someone you’re coming to the conference. They might just need to know that they’ll know someone at the conference, someone will eat lunch with them. And if you don’t know someone who’s underrepresented in tech, maybe that is your next step.

If you do know someone, ask them what would help. Maybe it’s financial. You probably can’t fund someone’s entire cost yourself, but maybe your local meetup could pool together to set up a scholarship.

Maybe your responsibility is to talk to your manager, and make sure that everyone on the team is getting to go to conferences.

To make great apps that are usable by everyone, delightful for everyone, we need to bring diversity to conferences.

Applause broke out. I realized I was starting to cry, and didn’t want to resume my original talk. I clicked past the last couple points, invited folks to attend a testing lab at AltConf the next day, and said “I’m done.” In the hallway, a man approached, and thanked me for both the testing talk and the challenge at the end.

So what will you do?

I watched his face as he seriously considered my words.

You don’t have to answer me now, but next time I see you at a conference, I will expect an answer.

Pro tip for everyone stumbling home from WWDC, NextDoor, Layers, or AltConf: Unpack promptly and start some laundry. But give your brain a day off!

Pondering UIKit on macOS: If Apple were working on a touchscreen Mac, we would all suddenly need UI elements and layouts that are optimized for the size of fingers and a lack of hover.

People who have been to the new Apple campus: does the store have any women-shaped t-shirts? (I still haven’t gotten around to modding last year’s “unisex” tee to accommodate my curves.)

I have reached “Inbox Zero” on iOS notification badges for the first time in…ever since notification badges were added to iOS? Still lots of emails technically in my inbox, though.

To all those reading WWDC survival guides—it’s okay to feel a little nervous. There are lots of “right ways” to experience the conference(s), and I hope you have a great week. Alcohol is totally optional and anyone who makes you feel otherwise is a jerk.

Generated about 4 cubic yards of debris trimming the hedge with my dad today. Will have to keep the yard waste bin full for a few weeks.