Lunch for you, dinner for me.

Like many people during the pandemic, I have missed human interaction. I have participated in multiple virtual attempts to recreate community in the virtual world, but it is not as enjoyable for me. Maybe I have not found the right app for the job. Just because it is not as fun as it once was is no reason to deny oneself of a digital community and interaction.

When I lived in London, I could effortlessly go to two or three tech events a week. It is a great way to learn, much easier for me than reading. I justify this by telling myself humans have been listening and looking more than reading books. I love reading books and blogs, but listening is my preferred way to learn, so I lean more towards tech events, videos and podcasts. In recent years I have helped organise a tech event, so I don't tend to go to other tech events as frequently as I once did.

Saturday 27th February 2021, I attended C000000DE; I wasn't entirely sure what I was getting myself in for. But I received an email announcing, "Thank you for your interest in C000000DE. This is meant as an encouragement for underrepresented minorities to speak in the tech space, to celebrate Black History Month, but is ultimately open to all. A maxim of ours: open doors like open source™."

It sounded good to me, I have attended many tech conferences and tech events during my career, and I am often the only black person in the room, even in a city as diverse as London. So the opportunity to be around Black tech professionals is excellent, and the chance to learn something new is even better. Only this time, it would be virtual and conducted on zoom.

Henri Helvetica organised the event C000000DE. I met him at jsconf EU 2019, where he gave a talk and followed him on Twitter ever since. I am not sure how we started talking at jsconf, but we spoke about our mutual interest in running. He was at a javascript conference dressed like he was about to go for a run. Once again, in the zoom call, he looked dressed to go for a run.

The event started with R'n'B music, an unconventional start to a tech event but very enjoyable. I found myself repeatedly googling song lyrics and adding them to a Spotify playlist. The music soon faded out, and the event began. There was a code of conduct at the start that was nice to hear and indicates the attendees were in good hands.

photo of a white board filled with post it notes

The first talk was from Adekunle Oduye UX Engineer, Mailchimp. The talk had a good structure. It centred around a comparison between the reality TV show "The Profit's, host Marcus Lemonis three P's of business; people, process and product. Adekunle argued that these three P's also could be used as a strategy to build a successful design system. Adekunle spoke of his first experience building a design system, and described it as a failure. He gave examples of sound open-source design systems and spoke of his current work's success on a design system at Mailchimp. I took notes frantically as I am currently working on a design system at work which isn't going as well as I'd like.

The second talk was from Youri Wims Sr developer at 1Password, who gave a brilliant introduction, I was so impressed how she introduced herself, her ways of working and ways of interacting with people, it resonated with me, and I look forward to rewatching it again. Her talk was about the various methods of testing applications. It reminded me how amazing it that our industry shares information so freely. The talk was excellent, clearly presented and well pace.

"Don't point your teams to docs but encourages a learning culture by carving out time to learn together" This is something we kinda do in my current team at work but something I would like to encourage more of, especially when trying new technologies.

Then there was Houssein Djirdeh, Engineer, Google. I recognised him as I have seen his videos online before. He spoke about the work of his team with framework authors to bake in features to help performance. He spoke of javascript frameworks having a reputation of giving poor end-user experience, highlighted loading external resources as a significant issue. Third-party scripts, images and font loading have a reputation of causing performance issues and how some frameworks have recently added new features to improve the end-user experience.

Aaron Turner, DevRel/Engineer at Fastly Aaron introduced us to WebAssembly, what it does and what it can offer. I have seen multiple talks about web assembly since it's early inception, following it's progress to the present. This was by far the most engaging. Aaron pace was at points fast, but this was the direct result of talking about something he was passionate about, and I could not help but be engaged by his enthusiasm about the topic.

slide from presentation

Aaron briefly introduced us also to his project Wasmboy, which was a game boy and game boy color emulator written in, WebAssembly, his goal was to learn. Writing WebAssembly in its pure form is uncommon, and instead, you would choose another language to abstract away from the code. Aaron decided to use Assemblyscript, a typescript-like language. He is an experienced javascript developer who wanted to make something but didn't want to learn a whole new language. I am currently trying to learn typescript, and this could be a fun way to do so.

Ben Ilegbodu, Principal FE Engineer, StitchFix Ben gave the fifth talk of the event. He is someone I already follow on Twitter. His talk was about how typescript can help you catch bugs and improve code quality. I am familiar with this, but it's always great to hear Ben talk as he's a good speaker.

Unfortunately, I had made evening plans, so I couldn't stay for the entire event. Thankfully it was all recorded, and the slides will be shared. I missed out on the last talk from Brian Douglas.

I would love to see this event flourish and become more popular; it would be cool if we ever all got to meet in person one day. I am curious about how we can facilitate networking at such an event, but maybe I missed the networking as I didn't stay till the end.

After the event, I felt 'these are my people', not in a racial way, but more in the sense that this is a group of passionate tech people. I found the event inspiring, and it left me wanting to apply to talk at the next C000000DE event. I just need to identify what I will talk about.

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