FutureStack14 Hallway Track: Informal Education at Its Best

FutureStack14 had all the big keynotes and deep dives into technology that any user and technology conference needs. But this year we wanted to do more to bring attendees into the process, so we bolstered the main Keynote and Technology Track and New Relic Track with the Hallway Track, a sort of unconference featuring topics suggested and presented by attendees.

Online submissions opened five days before FutureStack14. Speakers could also register their suggestions in the Hacker Lounge on site at Fort Mason starting on the first day of the conference.

The Hallway Track offered FutureStack14 participants an innovative way to learn more from their peers on topics in a fast-paced, casual setting.

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Presenters could choose to present in a variety of formats including Individual Talks, 5-minute (lightning) talks, and 30-minute Birds of a Feather sessions.

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The 19 presentations covered everything from performance tuning and testing tips, unusual looks at tech culture, and engineering how-tos for New Relic and other products, such as Swift development. There were also introductions to new concepts like Marketing Engineering along with demos presented by New Relic staff and partners.

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Among the highlights:

Alon Girmonsky of Blazemeter gave a great talk on “Performance Testing with a Million Concurrent Users,” where he drilled into building and managing test infrastructure for a large customer base.

Australian Luke Toop of Sportsbet presented “Integrating Swift in Existing Applications”. Luke explained how integrating Swift could help future-proof your code base and improve the speed and quality of development.

Phil Weber of New Relic revealed the “Secrets of the APM Ninjas,” which looked at some of New Relic’s lesser known features, such as deployment tracking, server monitoring, notes, and custom dashboards.

Engineers of Marketing” by Isaac Wyatt and Baxter Denney was a fresh new take on the role of the marketing engineer, the person who figures out how multiple interactions all work together. “Marketing engineering isn’t a job title or a position,” Isaac explained. “It is a way of thinking about managing marketing technology, its automation, and the people who create the most value for prospects, employees, customers, and the company.”

Hack ALL The Things (including your badge)!” by Matt Haines of Electric Imp was by far the best-attended session. Throughout the hour-long workshop, Matt walked us through the basics of hacking with Ardiuno and Electric Imp, and then shared a few sample projects to try out with the cool interactive FutureStack badges. You can view Matt’s slides and check out his instructions for hacking your badge here.

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Noelle Daley, who ran the Hallway Track and manages New Relic’s Community Events had this to say about the program, “The Hallway track was an awesome addition to FutureStack. Aside from the talks, it was a great place to hang out with the New Relic community and talk about what’s going on in the world of software.”

The great turnout, speakers, and range of topics made the Hallway Track a fun way for conference participants to see how other people were tackling their technical challenges. The hands-on workshops were especially fun and their popularity is already giving our team ideas on how to serve up more fun next year.

Joy was the managing editor for the New Relic blog. She remains a word nerd. Her experience includes leading content strategy and content development for tech companies. She has been managing publications ranging from magazines such as Electronic Entertainment, manga such as Naruto, and websites including aNewDomain and Dell's Tech Page One. View posts by .

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