I don’t write enough blog posts and I should work on that. But at least this time I have a good excuse - events. SO MANY EVENTS. And not one free weekend.
So let me warn you - this is going to be a long post.
Zagreb - March 11th
We begin this journey on a Saturday morning at Toptal Speakers Conference in Zagreb. It was a whole day workshop on improving public speaking skills and everything that comes with it. There were a couple of good talks but I especially enjoyed Public Speaking Is Your Legacy by Tomaž Zaman. He presented great reasons on why we should do talks and how we can use them to boost our credibility. I learned a lot on this event and I look forward to more events like that in the scope of Toptal Speakers Network.
Wrocław - March 13-20th
2 days later I embarked on a journey towards Wrocław, Poland where I would spend a week with my teammates. I recently acquired a new car1 so I opted for a road trip instead of a plane ride. Because it’s quite a long drive2 and I love coffee I decided to make a stop in Brno and visit my friends at European Coffee Trip.
The last part of the trip was the most exciting3 - Polish highways. They only drive at 2 speeds: either they tailgate you at 180 km/h or you’re behind a truck going 80 km/h4. I decided that my trip back will be avoiding highways if at all possible.
The next couple of days I was running around5 Wrocław, tasting the food, coffee, and generally enjoying the city. I even got to meet the 2016 World AeroPress champion Filip Kucharczyk. But the most important part was working together and spending quality time with my teammates and other coworkers from Toptal.
Remote work has many advantages but it can get a bit lonely and you might get the Cabin fever. About a week long team-wide get-togethers are a perfect blend of work and fun to counter that. You get to spend a lot of time just with each other and no one else. It gets very intense but in the end it’s totally worth it. It’s like a condensed version of office life - you get to know your colleagues incredibly well in a matter of days.
I highly recommend visiting Wrocław. It’s a beautiful city with nice architecture, great food, and awesome night life. Also, everyone is super nice and speaks perfect English.
wroc_love.rb - March 17-19th
The real reason we picked Wrocław as a place to meet was the wroc_love.rb Ruby conference. The conference was rather peculiar - it started on a Friday at 17:006. I don’t know whose idea it was that after a full day of work people will enjoy 3h of conference talks. Also it was weird that all the speakers were male given that the crowd was more diverse than usual. What I really liked was that every day ended with a round of 10 impromptu lightning talks. More conferences should do that. It exposes you to many different topics in a very short amount of time.
Little Karst Marathon (Mali kraški maraton) - March 26th
The next weekend I drove to the West of our small country7 for the first half marathon race of the season. MKM8 is the traditional running season start event. The course is rather hilly9 and this year it was extremely windy as well. However the winter trainings paid off - I ran my personal best: 1:39:14.
RubyConfBY - April 2nd
Come next weekend it was time for my biggest speaker gig to date: Belarus Ruby Conference. I mean, look at this:
I got to present on the same conference as Ruby and Rails core member Aaron Patterson10, co-lead of JRuby Charles Nutter11, and RuboCop author Bozhidar Batsov12 amongst others. I first saw Aaron deliver a keynote at RailsConf 2013 in Portland. If someone told me that 4 years later I’ll be giving a talk on the same conference as him I’d ask them to seek professional help.
My talk was the last talk of the day and I spoke about Flame Graphs. According to Speaker Deck I became interested in them in December 2014 when I had to find out why a certain page was super slow. After reading many blogs posts and videos and figuring out how to read them I made an internal presentation for my coworkers. Over a year later I made a lightning talk at our local meetup13. The responses were really good so when I got asked to fill-in for a speaker about a month later at RubyC 2016 I picked this topic as well. Then in November I got invited to do that same talk in Israel on DevconTLV X. Every time I did it, I added some things, removed some things, improved other things. So the one I gave in Belarus is the best one to date. Here are the slides and the end result:
Sure there are tons of things I could still improve but I had a feeling it went well. And yesterday I got the confirmation of that - the organisers sent me all the feedbacks of my talk that they gathered. Pasted unedited:
- Miha rocks.
- Entertaining but the same. (I am also biased here.)
- Inspiring to wide usage of Flame Graphs
- I was tired by the end of the day, but this talk was very interesting to listen to. - Very clear and accesssible
- Not often you need to read flame graphs, but it is good to remember it. Useful. - thats awesome
Not too shabby.
London Coffee Festival - April 12-15th
As you know by now - coffee is a huge passion of mine. Which is why I went to one of the biggest coffee festivals in Europe - London Coffee Festival. Now I knew that London coffee scene is huge, but I had no idea how massive it really is. To give you some perspective: Lloyd from The Coffee Roasters14 gifted me a booklet called The London Coffee Guide 2017. It’s the definitive guide to the best independent coffee venues in London15. And that booklet alone contains 245 venues. 245!!! And for every one of them there’s a detailed description of what espresso machine(s) they have, what grinder(s) they use, a little back story,…, absolutely incredible.
Anyway, back to the festival. This thing was endless - there were over 250 stalls on 3 floors and every one of them was meticulously crafted. They were so well designed and fully stocked, everyone was so nice and friendly, it really was a magical experience.
WebCamp Ljubljana - April 22nd
The last crazy weekend was at WebCamp Ljubljana. It’s a yearly get-together of all the local developers. Every year I look forward to it more and more since I get to see faces I know from the online world but rarely see in the real world. Many of us work remotely or in offices all over the world16 so we don’t get to see each other that often. And on top of that - Jure & Co. always manage to get great speakers and organize the whole event flawlessly. And this year was no different. The talks were a stark contrast to other conferences I’ve been to over the past few weeks. Very diverse - not just speaker-wise, but also content-wise. Everything from deep technical talks, soft talks about depression, to LGBTQI+ talk panel. They went above and beyond this year. And I can’t wait to see what awaits us next year.
So yeah, crazy weeks indeed. But I had fun, tons of fun. And I’ve met so many amazing people from Toptal, from IT sphere, from coffee sphere,…, from everywhere. I’m very excited for where I am in my life right now and for everyone who helped me to get here17 and I can’t wait to see what adventures awaits me.
125 kW TCT Alfa Romeo Giulietta (2012) ↩
exhausting and terrifying ↩
overtaking another truck going 79,9 km/h ↩
both figuratively and literally ↩
5 PM ↩
insert a joke about Slovenia being so tiny that one part of the half marathon goes through Italy ↩
as it’s commonly referred to ↩
according to my phone I gained 132m of elevation ↩
Use referral code
miha.rekarto get a discount ↩
Emphasis theirs ↩
And we’re lazy and unorganized ↩
I know this sounds super cheesy, but I really mean it! ↩