The Year That Was 2018

A white woman with purple-pink hair, teal glasses, and dark lipstick smiles at the camera.

I’m grateful when I have these to refer to, and I find them intimidating to write, but hey, it’s still January!

Just the Stats

Conference talks35
Conferences attended w/o speaking8
Meetups
6
Podcasts (See the bottom of the page)3
Webinars6
Workshops5

DevOpsDays NYC

I got a drawing of my talk! How cool is that?
Choose Your Own Deployment Adventure, 30 minutes
Devil’s DevOps Ignite, 5 minutes

Also, I went to my first Broadway show (Come From Away).

LinuxConf Australia

I turned around in less than a day and left for the sunny beaches of Sydney, to attend LinuxConf Australia.

Printed: LINUX EVENT
Please Do Not Move
Handwritten: quickly or make loud noises
80 minute workshop from LinuxConf AU

I also went to the Maritime Museum and the Botanical Gardens. It was a lot warmer than Minnesota in January. I visited our customers at Atlassian, and I threw a meetup.

Mangrove stand at the botanical garden
View down into a green, lush area with a winding footpath
This was so much green for my snow-spangled eyes

I went to see some friends in Melbourne, and went bushwalking and to Fern Gully, and did the Fitzroy walking tour and bought fabric. Hosted another meetup.

Home for a week, and then off to PyCaribbean!

PyCaribbean

Cityscape with midrise buildings, looking toward a clouded ocean

At this point in Minnesota, it was, well, winter.
Choose Your Own Deployment Adventure, 30 minutes

IndexConf

I went home, executed another quick turnaround, and headed to the Bay Area for IndexConf and a meetup at Sentry and a wave at the home office.

The Spirit in the System: How We Can Reduce Risk by Embracing Failure

Sentry Scouts Meetup

A rustic tablecloth with a paper fire, a tackle box full of gummi fish, and some Girl Scout Cookies
SentryScouts – Chloe themed everything

A few days at home and then off to New York for Software Architecture!

O’Reilly Software Architecture

I gave my talk “Y2K and Other Disappointing Disasters”

A card with my picture and name on it so people could come ask me questions.
Meet the experts table tent

The Lead Developer Austin

Zip to Austin for The Lead Developer. By this time I had completely lost my voice and delivered my whole talk in a creepy whisper!

The Death of Data: Retention, Rot, and Risk. 26 minutes
Custom-decorated cookies with the conference name, a bat, a cactus, and a taco.
Edible speaker gifts!
(Not pictured, but appreciated: Cold care bundle the organizers went out and got me.)

Next-day turnaround to go to Seattle for a Microsoft MVP meetup and presentation. I lost my phone! It was very unnerving.

Midwest PHP

March really got started by me getting to speak at a hometown conference – Midwest PHP. I even got to go to my kid’s Quiz Bowl match! I also got to go to the Minneapolis DevOps meetup this month.

I gave the Y2K talk again, but there’s no recording.

DevOpsDays Baltimore

DevOpsDays Baltimore experienced tribulations, but managed to, on no notice, move their whole conference by a day. It was an impressive feat! And I got to debut a new talk!

Disaster Resilience The Waffle House Way: Flat-tops and Feature Flags
The harbor in Baltimore, with blue skies and cool architecture
There was a lot of snow here, and then there wasn’t

When I got home, I got to do some speaker mentoring AND eat ice cream, so that was a good day.

I spoke at the NDC Minnesota pre-conference teaser, which was interesting, and it was cool to get to wander around the Xcel.

Fear of the Bus. 20 minutes

Cisco DevNet Create

I started off April by going out to Oakland for a team event (baseball) and the team after event (tiki drinks). Then I went to Cisco DevNetCreate at the Computer History Museum, which was super cool. I gave an interview, a talk, and two workshops, which is a lot.

Choose Your Own Deployment Adventure
Interview with The Cube
Smores kit, gas flames, wooden table and chairs
We all got smores kits, which included instructions!

DrupalCon

I zipped across the country to DrupalCon to give (and get recorded), my talk about kids and internet security. Then I eyed up the weather report and left Nashville early to beat the blizzard home.

The Kids Are Going to Be 200OK. 64 minutes
A stained-glass decal on a window in the Nashville conference center
The branding on this conference was magnificent.

RailsConf

I shoveled out in time to go to Pittsburgh for RailsConf, which was FABULOUS, and to give a workshop at Google. I got to have dinner with the >Code people!

Minute 55: Sticker lightning talk
A conference center like a very beautiful airport hanger
I think Pittsburgh has one of the prettiest conference centers around.
Sweeping architectural lines

I flew through Minneapolis, and waved, on my way to DevOpsDays Vancouver.

DevOpsDays Vancouver

The Devil’s DevOps Ignite
Y2K and Other Disappointing Disasters. 26 minutes

Came home and went to Minnewebcon, and then left again for Seattle to do a Write the Docs meetup and DevOpsDays Seattle. I also went out to my parent’s place to clean out their rain monitor. This is my role in life.

A field of yellow daffodils stretching off into a nightlit city
Burnaby in the spring

Made a quick stop in Oakland to see the team, take high tea at Lovejoy’s, and bug npm for stickers.

Write the Docs! One of my first conferences, and I love it so much. Portland is lovely in May.

Write The Docs Portland

Sticker Lightning Talk, no slides.
A bunch of people seated at tables in an old style dance hall.
Write the Docs Portland

I didn’t linger, though, because I needed to get back home to NDC Minnesota.

NDC Minnesota

The Death of Data. 44 minutes

ChefConf

After a quiet week, it was off to Chicago for ChefConf.

Y2K and Other Disappointing Disasters
Graphical posters that say "Different is Purrfect"
These posters proved so popular they now give them away as swag

Right after that, I took the Badger Bus to Madison for Wiscon, a feminist science fiction convention, which is exactly as nerdy and wonderful as it sounds.

The last stop of May was DevOpsDays Toronto.

DevOpsDays Toronto

Choose Your Own Deployment: Interactive Feature Flag Adventure. 32 minutes

The first stop of June was LaunchDarkly HQ to crush down on our Feature Flag book for a day.

I was actually around for my 20th college reunion!

June and July

Happy white woman in a bike helmet, jersey, and hydration pack
It was super hot this day, and I loved it.

I took these off, mostly. I stayed home, my wife went on vacation. I went on a lot of bike rides and organized some closets, and napped a lot. I went on local bike tours.

A setting sun over a lush green field and pond, with a sliver of bike path showing
My happy place

In mid-July I went to DevOpsDays Minneapolis.

A crowd watches a presentation on a main stage.
@littleidea has the mic!

DevOpsDays Indianapolis

In late July, I spoke at DevOpsDays Indianapolis.

A complicated presentation slide.
One company’s DevOps Journey

No video, sorry. But I did the Choose Your Own Deployment talk and the Devil’s DevOps Ignite.

We went up to the family cabin. There were cousins, and mosquitos, and wine coolers, and hammocks.

A firepit surrounded by various chairs.
We are still discussing what is actually suppose to be burned

I got back on the road in mid-August. First I went to touch base with everyone in Oakland, then I went to Irving, Texas, to speak at an internal Verizon event.

Me squinting in the sun and it's 96 F out.
Yup. It’s Texas in August.

From there I went back to San Francisco to attend ReDeploy! (It was amazing.)

Write the Docs Cincinnati

Next up was Write the Docs Cincinnati! It was a fabulous time and I got to take the Underground Cincinnati tour! I don’t have video, but I do have slides+speaker notes for you, since it’s a one-off.

The Man Behind The Curtain: White-labeling, automated generation, and the new variable

A mural of a classical roman temple painted on the side of a brick building
Cincinnati has great murals

Straight back to MSP, and from the airport to the DevOps meetup.

I went to the Minnesota State Fair, which I love, unironically.

Crop art that says "Bean Counter. Literally. Blaha for State Auditor"
She won.

SRECon EMEA

Over the sea to Amsterdam, and from there by train to Dusseldorf, for SRECon EMEA. Do not ask me about the reverse process. Suburban Germany is full of people willing to help the hapless, which is good.

A 6 foot tall inflatable unicorn supervises a talk on capacity planning.
Everyone knows unicorns love capacity planning and SRE in general.

I did get most of a day in Amsterdam, though, which was glorious, and I want to go back!

A canal fronted by tall houses. There's a tour boat in the foreground.
I took the 100 facts tour. It was great.

Back home for September, and the start of school.

Mid-September, back to Oakland, then Portland for DevOpsDays Portland.

DevOpsDays Portland

Disaster Resilience the Waffle House Way. 31 minutes
Stick it to ME? The Sticker Ignite
Glass and steel triangle roof.

Made time to see my parents, a really great production of Richard III, and then my bag and ipad and TO-DO LIST got stolen, so that was a bummer.

Home again, and to the MSP DevOps meetup.

Went out to Boston for DevOpsDays Boston a day early for my sister’s birthday. She was surprised!

DevOpsDays Boston

Tinkertoys, microservices, and feature management: How to build for the future. 27 minutes
A round room with girders overhead.

Home for a few days and then Velocity New York! I also had a great Equalit-tea, a client lunch, and a great adventure in the garment district.

A bulldog is spreadeagled on the floor in front of bolts of fabric
The shop dog at Mood Fabric

O’Reilly Velocity

I gave the Waffle House talk!

Home again, for a bit, and I got to go on one of the prettiest rides of the year, the Mankato River Ramble.

A full river winds through autumn forests.
Fall in Minnesota

DevOpsDays Hartford

Every Scar A Story: A Talk About History

For my birthday mid-month, I went to DevOpsDays Hartford and did a new story!

A couple days at home, and I went to DevOps Enterprise Summit in Vegas. Truly a standout event. Even though I hate Vegas in general.

A very large illiuminated 3-story chandelier
It sure was shiny

In late October, I packed my bags for the longest (I think) trip of my year. First to London, for O’Reilly’s Velocity and Software Architecture.

O’Reilly Velocity and Software Architecture

No videos, but I did All The World’s A Staging Server (new), and The Death of Data.

All The World’s A Staging Server – Slides

Reverse soot art right next to the conference hotel

I took a couple days to appreciate historic Bath, and then DevRelCon and then API the Docs.

A large neo-Palladian building called the Crescent, with a giant expanse of mown lawn in front of it. Not pictured, but present, a ha-ha
Yes, this is the Royal Crescent, and you do recognize it from movies.
View from the QE2 conference center - Parliment and the London Eye
The view over Westminster from the QE2 conference center.

I spent Bonfire Night in a warm open-air pool with a view of the fireworks in all directions.

I took Eurostar from London to Paris, and promptly got pickpocketed in the Paris Metro on my way to the TGV. Very authentic! I made it to Bordeaux, but it was a bit stressful. In Bordeaux, I got to do an onsite visit and training with a customer!

A structured canvas tent with raw-wood interior walls and cast-iron chic furnishings. The bed at the center is made up in natural linen.
Glamping in Bordeaux. Just out of frame, the adorable but poorly-vented wood stove and the more practical electric heater.

DevOps D-Day

After that, it was off to Marseille, for DevOps D-Day and one of the most invigorating cab rides I’ve ever been on. The conference was great! It was super interesting to get that experience of not being the dominant language.

Everything is a Little Bit Broken ~or~ The Illusion of Control
A landscape view looking down and across a Mediterranean city, with islands and a rainclouds over the bay in the distance.
Looking down from the Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde. One of those islands is Ile d’If, from Man in the Iron Mask!

I flew back from Marseille to Paris, but there was weather, and I missed my connection home, so I stayed in Paris a night. Did I do anything exciting? The heck I did. I stayed in and went to bed early.

NoFluffJustStuff Tech Leader Summit

Megan (my wife) and I went to the Tech Leader Summit in Clearwater Beach. I have never had such a hard time paying attention to a talk I was giving as when there are beautiful white sands right outside the window. It was a fabulous location. I gave 3 talks.

A picture of the ocean, taken from a glassed-in patio. The sun is just setting.
This was idyllic

We came back, and I put on some less Florida clothes and went to Seattle for KubeCon. I didn’t make it to any programming, but the experience of talking to everyone was amazingly great.

Looking up a set of escalators. At the top is a sign that says "Ahoy! You made it!"
The vaguely nautical theme embraced by the Kubernetes community is charming.

I popped down for one last meeting in Oakland, which meant I got to actually see the end of a Moonshots week. That was cool. I taught another workshop, this time at Google HQ.

Home for the rest of the year on December 18.

A stack of flannel pajama pants.
My well-earned reward

Podcasts

Greater Than Code: Episode 95: Cleaning House with Heidi Waterhouse

Screaming in the Cloud: Episode 1: Feature Flags with Heidi Waterhouse of LaunchDarkly

Parent-Driven Development: Internet Privacy and Kids

Heidi Waterhouse

Heidi is a mercenary technical writer and travelling salesperson of better process and product thinking. She loves writing herself out of a job and teaching people to save themselves from future pain.

Upcoming appearances

Full Stack Conference London
DevOpsDays Minneapolis
Write/Speak/Code
DevOpsDays Chicago
Texas Scalability Summit
Velocity Berlin