A chat with our keynote speaker, Joanne

Joanne Cheng is a RoR developer, eurucamp fan, creative programmer, and this year's keynote speaker. We're thrilled for her to join us and to kick off the conference. We're so excited, in fact, that we sat down with her (via email of course) and asked her a few questions about what she has planned for us and her first ever keynote:

How did you react when you were asked to be the keynote speaker for eurucamp?

I was really excited! I've never given a keynote before, and I felt incredibly honored to give a keynote at my favorite Ruby conference. It's a lot of pressure to try to set the mood for the entire conference.

Can you give us any insight into what you're going to talk about?

I'm going to be talking about one of my favorite topics, which is bringing code into our other passions. I haven't finished the outline for the talk yet, but I'm planning to share a lot of examples of people (myself included) combining passions and code in unusual ways. I'm hoping it'll resonate with the audience.

How do you prepare for a talk? Do you have any pre-talk rituals?

I practice a LOT. I've tried to do a talk from an outline, but I get flustered easily so I end up writing out parts of my talk. I contact a lot of local meetup groups to see if I can give my talk anywhere, or I ask some of my coworkers to listen. I give a lot of live coding talks, so I practice the code I'm going to write a lot. I'm more comfortable in front of a keyboard coding than I am speaking! The day before the talk, I'll go over the parts of the talk I mess up a lot, but I try to relax and enjoy the conference.

What's your favourite Ruby method?

I really like Object#tap.

Are there any talks that you're really looking forward to seeing?

I'm really excited to see Joseph Wilk's talk about using code as a live performance. I'm unfamiliar with live coding as a performance so I'm excited to learn about it. I'm also excited to see Amy Wibowo's talk about the fold-and-cut problem, and Terence Lee's talk about mruby for command line tools.

Last but not least, what do you think makes eurucamp so great?

There's a great balance of technical and non-technical talks. I love the break in the middle of the day to go out and explore Berlin. It makes it easier to have discussions about the talks and meet new people. The conference tries incredibly hard to be as inclusive as possible which makes it very comfortable for all the attendees. I always leave with new friends after eurucamp, feeling great about being part of such an awesome community, and so lucky that I chose programming as a career.

Thanks for answering all of our questions, Joanne, and see you soon!