Keynote: Collective Problem Solving in Music, Science, Art, and Software

(originally titled: “On the Origins of Opera and the Future of Programming”)

Blog write-up


There’s a story to tell, about musicians, artists, philosophers, scientists, and then programmers.

There’s a truth inside it that leads to a new view of work, that sees beauty in the painful complexity that is software development.

Starting from The Journal of the History of Ideas, Jessica traces the concept of an “invisible college” through music and art and science to programming. Along the way she learns what teams are made of, where great developers come from, why changing software is harder for some of us than others, and why this is a fantastic time to be alive.

Past public deliveries

Keynote: From Puzzles to Products

Blog post: From Puzzles to Products


What will help you grow as a developer, skills or understanding?Which internal software has negative business value? When does correctness matter?Oh, and – can software save the world?

Jessica looks to her own career and to the history of Cybernetics for answers — or better, more interesting questions.
Follow her through solving puzzles to growing products and beyond. From Cold War rationality back to Enlightenment reason.Learn new ways to think about your career in software and a new way to talk about your systems.

Past public deliveries

  • VelocityConf, San Jose, June 2019. Video <- link
  • Southeast Ruby, Nashville, August 2019