Talks

We would like to give a huge thank you to our speakers, the talks they deliver are the reason we have this conference.

Business Day Interview: New Media Labs

Paul Cartmel
Managing Director
New Media Labs

While leading NML Paul has led his team through many twists and turns. We'll talk to him about growing a successful, independent consulting business with one eye (and sometimes two) on productising the work they engage in. We'll touch on how he believes you could structure a business to increase the probability of success and discuss the real world impact internal decisions and external forces have shaped the road they've walked.

Paul is the Managing Director of New Media Labs. He has adopted the Jack Dorsey definition of CEO/MD – which makes him an editor. He edits their ideas, the story they tell the public, their strategy and make sure it is on course. Some would say a CEO controls the vision, but NML’s vision is a composite of each individual that works there, so he just gets to edit it. Keeping an incredibly talented team close is his real goal – a talented team sells itself. To achieve this he strives to make New Media Labs a place the team want to spend their working life at. He sees employing people as an honour.

Business Day Interview: Garmin

Franz Struwig
Senior Manager
Garmin

At iKubu they help people see what they can't, using computer vision and radar systems. We'll be talking Franz about the journey iKubu has been on over the last seven years from inception, growth to sale and what it took to realise the potential of a group of highly skilled engineers.

Franz is passionate about people, technology and business. As an Engineer and an MBA, he was privileged to be a part of establishing iKubu – a radar and computer vision company with a heart. After crowdfunding the world’s first bicycle radar called Backtracker in 2014, iKubu was acquired by Garmin. He's still learning and growing!

The video for this talk is available on youtube

Business Day Interview: WooThemes

Mark Forrester
Co-Founder
WooThemes

WooThemes is not just any old WordPress theme maker. They are responsible for WooCommerce - the fastest growing ecommerce platform online. We'll be talking to Mark about where his creative inspiration comes from, how he has applied that to helping shape and manage the organisation and navigating the twists and turns of a maturing platform.

Mark is a web designer turned online entrepreneur, now managing an international team spanning 16 countries, dedicated to helping businesses succeed through innovative WordPress themes and plugins. Proudly a Capetonian, husband, and dad. Avid sports fan and wannabe surfer.

Business Day Interview: Graphflow

Robert Elliott
Co-Founder
Graphflow

Follow @greenafrican

Graphflow are passionate about small business and believe that even the smallest store should have access to the same technology the big guys are using. They created a tool that allows them to get the edge over the competition by plugging into the power of Machine Learning and Big Data technologies. We'll be talking to Rob about product ideation and realisation in the context of a small but expert team and the experience of being part of a local incubator.

Robert is passionate about user experiences at the confluence of ecommerce, design and data science. He obsesses over flow, usability and simplicity. Pirate of Good Hope.

The video for this talk is available on youtube

Business Day Interview: Takealot

Willem Van Biljon
Co-CEO and Chief Technology Officer
Takealot

Willem brings a unique perspective to ScaleConf given his vast experience in companies small and large. We'll be talking to him about his multi-decade journey in the industry and getting his thoughts on the challenges and joys of growing of technology business both in South Africa and internationally.

Willem is a seasoned technology entrepreneur, having co-founded Mosaic Software, the creators of the Postilion payment system, and was one of the leaders that built Amazon’s EC2 cloud service and Nimbula. In June 2014 he joined South Africa’s fastest growing online retailer takealot.com as Co-CEO and Chief Technology Officer.

Upgrade your database: without losing your data, your perf or your mind

Charity Majors
Production Engineering Manager
Parse / Facebook

Follow @charity

Upgrading databases can be terrifying and perilous, and for good reason: you can totally screw yourself! Every workload is unique and standardized test suites will never give you enough information to evaluate how an upgrade will perform for your query set. We will talk about how paranoid you should be about various types of workloads and upgrades, how to balance risk vs engineering effort, and how to safely execute the most challenging upgrades by capturing and replaying real production workloads. The principles apply to any db, but we’ll go particularly deep into war stories and tooling options for MongoDB and MySQL.

Charity is happily building out the next generation of mobile backends as a service at Parse. She enjoys free software, free speech and single malt scotch.

To 5 million... and beyond!

Matty Cohen
Chief Product Officer
WooThemes

Follow @mattyza

Matty will explain the evolution of WooCommerce, the world's fastest growing eCommerce platform, and how they managed to scale the product to over 5 million downloads (and growing) with 3 engineers maintaining the codebase.

Matty is the Chief Product Officer at WooThemes, a market leader in premium WordPress products, helping folks to be successful in online business. This means he manages the engineering team and a growing team of product managers.

The video for this talk is available on youtube

Scaling your Front-end

Donovan Graham
Software Engineer
Samewave

Donovan Graham is a full-stack engineer at samewave.com and a humble technology enthusiast. He is an agile and UX practitioner, who has been a scrum master and product owner in previous lives.

The video for this talk is available on youtube

Banana for Scale

Albert De Jongh
Software Architect
Visa

Heavily loaded transaction processing systems, struggling clients... Albert and Chris have been faced with scaling challenges like these, and would like to share their experience. They will present some lessons learnt and they’ll explain why bananas were not suitable for scale.

Albert is a software architect at Visa, and has often found himself in war rooms about performance problems. He has stared at way too many thread dumps, trying to make sense of things that just could not have happened.

Banana for Scale

Chris Oloff
Building stuff in software
Uber5

Heavily loaded transaction processing systems, struggling clients... Albert and Chris have been faced with scaling challenges like these, and would like to share their experience. They will present some lessons learnt and they’ll explain why bananas were not suitable for scale.

Chris' goal is to write efficient and well-performing code for small and not-so-small-any-more challenges, since 1994, with existing or news teams. He gained experience in diverse industries like metals, money and energy, and is still learning daily. Chris holds an Honours Degree in Computer Science and Economics from the University of Mannheim, Germany.

An AppDev approach to scale

Alex Koller
Developer
Google Cloud Platform

Alex and Hiren share their experiences and ideas of building and scaling the award-winning MyCiTi app, which helps users in Cape Town use public transit. Alex and Hiren will walk you through the challenges they faced, such as hacking NFC, overcoming twitter API limits and preparing the solution for scale.

Alex is an Android developer devoted to understanding the bigger picture behind the software he builds. He has led the development of some of South Africa’s most successful apps (22seven, MyCiTi Cape Town and BitX Bitcoin Wallet). When he’s not coding or conceptualising, there is a good chance he will be talking to others about Android development.

Before focusing on Android development, Alex co-founded and was involved in various startups after studying Computer Science at Rhodes University. He now lives in Cape Town and can usually be found climbing a mountain.

An AppDev approach to scale

Hiren Patel
GDE
Google Cloud Platform

Alex and Hiren share their experiences and ideas of building and scaling the award-winning MyCiTi app, which helps users in Cape Town use public transit. Alex and Hiren will walk you through the challenges they faced, such as hacking NFC, overcoming twitter API limits and preparing the solution for scale.

Hiren is a software developer writing web apps and web clients powered by the Google Cloud Platform. Formerly a systems administrator in the linux/unix area for ten years, he transitioned to a developer role, until moving onto using Google App Engine as his platform of choice.

Hiren enjoys working with both web and android. He spends the majority of his time using python on Google App Engine, but also closely follows innovations in the rapidly changing cloud space, including Google Compute Engine and Google Container Engine.

Hiren has run the Google Developer Group of Cape Town for several years, inspiring the local community to use technology, and trying to help local non-profit organisations along the way.

Hiren lives in Cape Town, South Africa, where he enjoys the beautiful coast and the mountains, and hikes around the area regularly.

Scaling Learning

Sam Laing
Co-founder
Growing Agile

To succeed in todays world you need to be continuously learning. Along with that comes the time pressure of todays world - so when and how are you learning? Sam and Karen have been doing in person training for many years and recently stepped into the world on online training. Training at scale. How do you make online training as valuable as in person training - is it possible? This talk is about their adventure into the online education world, what they learned, what surprised them and how it has affected their company.

Sam works as a coach and trainer helping teams and individuals adopt agile and work more effectively. Although her background is as a software developer, she uses agile techniques with many different industries and teams. Her goal is to make the process from idea to execution more rewarding for everyone involved.

Scaling Learning

Karen Greaves
Co-founder
Growing Agile

To succeed in todays world you need to be continuously learning. Along with that comes the time pressure of todays world - so when and how are you learning? Sam and Karen have been doing in person training for many years and recently stepped into the world on online training. Training at scale. How do you make online training as valuable as in person training - is it possible? This talk is about their adventure into the online education world, what they learned, what surprised them and how it has affected their company.

Karen believes the best way to engage people at work is to make sure they are having fun, making a difference, and getting better at the things they do. She helps people build great teams and deliver great software.

From Horses to Unicorns - Practical DevOps tools and tips on AWS

Shaun Norris
Head of Solutions Architecture - ASEAN
Amazon Web Services

Shaunn is Head of Solutions Architecture - ASEAN at Amazon Web Services and works with AWS customers in the ASEAN region. He has been in the IT industry for 16 years in technical and management roles for a variety of e-commerce and IT security companies in Canada, UK, Switzerland and South Africa. More recently, Shaun led the AWS Premium Support team in Cape Town, South Africa prior to joining the AWS team in Singapore. Shaun is also a certified Scrum Master and Project Management Professional.

The video for this talk is available on youtube

Large Scale Data Processing

Nick Pentreath
Co-Founder
Graphflow

This talk will give an overview of the MapReduce approach to large-scale data processing popularised by Apache Hadoop, and then move on to introduce the Apache Spark project and the basics of working with Spark. Apache Spark is a fast and general engine for large-scale, distributed data processing. It offers high-level APIs in Java, Scala and Python as well as a rich set of libraries including a SQL engine, stream processing, machine learning, and graph analytics. Spark is currently one of the most exciting and fastest-growing Apache open source projects.

Nick is a cofounder of Graphflow, a big data and machine learning company focused on recommendations and customer intelligence. Nick has a background in financial markets, machine learning and software development. He has worked at Goldman Sachs and as a research scientist at online ad targeting startup Cognitive Match in London, and led the Data Science and Analytics team at Mxit, Africa’s largest social network. He is passionate about combining commercial focus with machine learning and cutting-edge technology to build intelligent systems that learn from data to add value to the bottom line.

The video for this talk is available on youtube

Sharding Take Two, the Logical Edition

Maggie Zhou
Software Engineer
Etsy

In this talk, we'll go over the pains and perils of sharding databases and how we solved some of the problems in Etsy's second take on sharding, what we call logical sharding.

Maggie works on the Core Platform team at Etsy where she builds infrastructure to manage scaling challenges in data storage and the web stack. She reads books, rides bicycles, and drinks too much coffee in Brooklyn NY.

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