I wrote a version of this post in 2012. Nine years later, I have a seven-year-old son, my career has grown in ways I never could have imagined, grotesque income inequality is increasing at a staggering pace, and stupid internet fights about women in tech rage on. All of that has found me reflecting again, and in new ways, on the journey that got me to where I am today.

Me confidently demonstrating my computer skills at the local mall, my sister with her hand on her hip, and an elementary school friend following along.

I got into computers when I was unequivocally a girl. It was 1982. I was five years old.

Back then, my dad made eyeglasses. My mom stayed at home with…

My job as an engineering manager requires a lot of reading. Every day, my browser gains a few more tabs as I open internal documents that people share with me in the course of our conversations. In sharing those documents, people are seeking to provide me with more detail, background, and context about a topic we’re discussing. At the end of a day or week, there can be a whole lot of documents competing for my attention.

My job also requires a lot of writing. The written communication that my team and I generate is likewise an implicit request for…

Camille Fournier wrote a post a few months back about the challenges of product ownership for internal platforms. Her observations resonated with me a lot after four years working within an internal platforms organization at Indeed — how hard it can be to establish viable success metrics, how easy it can be to overestimate your understanding of your customers, how challenging it can be to serve a plausibly captive audience.

The post wrapped up with this (emphasis mine):

Great platform teams can tell a story about what they have built, what they are building, and why these products make the…

A friend reached out to me the other day to tell me how he had encouraged someone to submit a talk to a certain programming language’s flagship conference. The talk had been accepted, but the conference, by default, doesn’t cover the cost of a speaker’s travel, accommodations, or conference ticket. The speaker could request “financial aid,” which, if approved, would cover some unknown portion of those expenses.

I continue to be flabbergasted by these stories. I am happy to accept, in the spirit of “open source,” that community conferences do not pay speakers a fee for speaking. …

This post was originally published at rmurphey.com, but with the conference season heating up, I thought it was a good time to re-post it here with some minor changes.

When I’m having a conversation with a prospective conference speaker, one topic that comes up again and again is how to write a talk description.

If you think about it, conference organizers don’t have a whole lot to go on when they’re choosing talks, unless they already know who you are. Even if your name is well-known, though, organizers may still not know who you are — lots of conferences are…

Speaking at conferences has changed the course of my life. Conferences are where I’ve met some of my best friends; they’ve taken me across the country and around the world; they’ve given me access to a network of people that means I’m never wanting for work or for guidance.

They’ve also given me the chance to see a whole lot of talks by other speakers. Allow me to let you in on a little secret: less-than-stellar public speakers give talks at conferences all the time. They go way over time, or way under. They mumble or whisper, or say “um”…

Rebecca Murphey

Engineering Manager @ Stripe. Based in Durham, NC.

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