Published April 04, 2019
March 28th was an exciting day as I prepared to head to Miami for my first North America GDG Summit. I had no idea what to expect but it turned into a fantastic weekend full of meeting and learning from amazing people in the GDG community.
I’ve been helping co-organize the Atlanta chapter GDG since early last year so I received an invitation for the summit. It’s hard to pass up a trip to Miami in the spring so I was more than happy to accept. I was keep to learn all I could about better ways to run an existing GDG, as well as ways to start a new chapter when the time comes (looking at you Savannah).
Awesome location aside, there were a wide variety of sessions that kept me engaged and informed not only from a community perspective, but a technical one as well. I really appreciate the balance the organizers struck in the sessions. It kept me engaged and attentive across two packed days of content.
The sessions on the first day provided a glimpse into the current state of the different Google developer organizations as well as their future plans. The day started with an overview of the developer ecosystem. It’s great to see how much the community has grown over the past year, and the plans Google has to support the new chapters and organizers into the future. This kind of support and disclosure is crucial for new organizers to achieve success with their groups.
There were also presentations on what’s in the future for the GDG program, from the Global Summit to the new schedule for DevFests. The Women Tech Makers Ambassador program was also discussed. It’s great to see how much those folks are helping make a positive impact in the community. And last, an overview of the GDE program was provided, along with ways that a GDG group can leverage the experts as speakers. These talks provided invaluable advice that I’m looking forward to applying at my local GDG chapter.
The second day introduced more technical talks. My favorite talks had to be the ones that focused on machine learning. There was a fantastic overview of TensorFlow 2.0 and all the cool new things you can do with it. The API is much cleaner and friendlier for new folks to use. This info tied in well to the following talk about the different machine learning offerings from Google Cloud. It’s clear that Google is really taking AI-first to heart with the continued push to improve TensorFlow and make it easier for developers of all experience levels to leverage its power.
The other areas the sessions focused on were personal improvement. There was a public speaking workshop that looked at how to get listeners to remember what you say, as well as how to get them to pay attention through story telling. I’ve heard a good bit of advice like it before, but I really enjoyed how it was presented.
Another talk focused on how to nail the tech interview, something that is supremely useful for everyone. The speaker broke down everything into steps before, during, and after the interview. Some of the statistics mentioned really put the difficulty into perspective, but after listening to the talk I feel much better equipped for success in the future.
The last talk that I remember detailed how and why a GDG chapter would want to record or live stream the meetups. I’ve looked into recording talks before so it was nice to hear confirmation about my though process there, but the live streaming portion was new to me. The presenter brought up a lot of good points to consider before streaming that I never would have thought about. While GDG Atlanta is a little ways off doing a live stream, I’m confident we could handle it in the future with the information presented.
While the sessions were great, I truly think that the networking was most valuable to me during the summit. The amount of experience available from the veteran organizers is truly impressive and I tried my best to soak up all that I could. I loved hearing from organizers from all over the country and from Canada. Hearing how folks have found success is great and even hearing about their difficulties is helpful.
At the end of the second day, a breakout session was held for each region. The organizers talked about the biggest issues that their groups face and we brainstormed ways to improve. It’s so comforting to hear that other groups are having the same issues and I look forward to continuing to learn from and help my fellow organizers in the future.
This was my first time attending the North America GDG Summit and I really hope it is not my last. I’ve learned so much from the other organizers in just a couple days that I’m looking forward to trying out. More importantly, I find myself inspired to try my best and make GDG Atlanta the best it can be. If you get the chance to attend one of the GDG summits I cannot recommend it enough!