Keynote: Catalyse Change

Dave Thomas
Pragmatic Programmer turned Publisher

In 1889, the Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius, defined activation energy as the minimum energy required to start a chemical reaction. A lighted match supplies the activation energy to gasoline, and then the gasoline takes over and supplies the rest. The lower the activation, the easier it is to start a reaction. This is the job of catalysts.
The same thing happens when people approach a new language or programming ecosystem: developers have a limited amount of energy they are willing to invest in order to have a successful reaction with the new ecosystem. The amount of energy available depends on many factors, not all of them rational. And if they don't see a net benefit—if they don't see the energy they supply multiplied, they move on.
Today's computing environment demands distributed, functional approaches. As a community, we solved many of the problems this entails years ago. And yet the general population of developers continues to reinvent the wheel. The result—lots of small fires that flare up and then go out. All that energy is wasted.
We need to find ways of lowering the barriers into our world. We need to reduce the amount of energy people have to invest before they start seeing the benefits that we already enjoy. In this talk, José and Dave will discuss ways we can all help people come to us. They'll learn something, and so will we. 

Dave Thomas is a cornerstone of the Ruby community, and is personally responsible for many of its innovative directions and initiatives. Dave is a programmer, and now he is an accidental publisher. He wrote The Pragmatic Programmer with Andy Hunt at the end of the '90s, and that experience opened a new world for them. They discovered a love of writing that complemented their love of learning new things. Dave is one of the authors of the Agile Manifesto, and he is probably responsible for bringing Ruby to attention of Western developers with the book Programming Ruby. He was one of the first adopters of Rails, and helped spread the word with the book Agile Web Development with Rails. He enjoys speaking at conferences, running public and private training. But most of all, he loves coding.

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