RubyConf Rundown Pt. 1

Brandon Weaver
4 min readDec 12, 2018

Wherein we take a look at some of my personal favorite talks of the conference. This will be part one of a few posts recapping RubyConf, and more parts will come out as I have time to watch other videos.

With that being said, shall we dive right in?

Reducing Enumerable — An Illustrated Adventure

Now granted I’m biased, as Reducing Enumerable was my own talk. That said, it was quite a bit of fun to deliver.

Join Red the Lemur on his journey to discover the power of Reduce in the land of Enumerable in this completely illustrated adventure. 200 hours of work and tons of lemur voices make this quite a fun trip through Functional Programming.

Trash Talk

PeterQuines’s “Trash Talk” was a really amazing experience. Good story, great illustrations, and magnificent humor in a talk on Garbage Collection. Definitely a classic, and one I intend to share in the future.

He uses cartoon raccoons (noticing a theme here?) to tell the story of how garbage collection works in a pick-your-own-adventure story.

The Case of the Missing Method

Nodunayo’s “The Case of the Missing Method” is a great story exploring how Ruby “class methods” work in a story / mystery form. Always a sucker for a good story well delivered, and she does just that.

If you’re looking to understand some of the underpinnings of singleton classes and how “static” type methods work in Ruby, this is a good place to start.

Designing an Engineering Team

@jackdanger ‘s “Designing an engineering team” is a great look into creating great teams, addressing the hiring bar, and giving some really crucial insights into hiring practices.

We should really be more aware of cookie-cutter style hiring and how much it can damage our teams. The points of there being no such thing as a “real engineer” were especially important.

Cats! The Musical

@haubertdashery ‘s “Cats! The Musical.” is exactly the type of whimsy and silliness I do so love in the Ruby community. You get an entire talk of her making cat noises and playing with song generation in Ruby. It’s a real treat, and a classic.

I’m looking forward to seeing what else she does with this. I had the pleasure to see one of the original runs of this talk and she keeps on making it more and more awesome as she goes.


@thejonanshow ‘s “WaffleBot” was an electronic field trip that quite frankly left me wanting waffles and wanting to try and build my own contraptions. Beware, servo vendors! Well delivered, great humor, maybe not so great actual waffles.

This is definitely one of those talks which inspires you to go out and do bad things to poor household electronic devices, and that’s awesome. More please!

How to Build a Magical Living Room

@saronyitbarek ‘s keynote, “How to Build a Magical Living Room”. Saron is insanely funny, quick witted, and tells an amazing story about inclusiveness. I can’t do it justice in text, so you’ll just have to watch the talk.

Personally I look forward to any of her talks which come out as they’re always an amazing experience.

Opening Keynote

@yukihiro_matz ‘s opening keynote. Always a good time to get key insights on the future of the language, and he really sets the tone for the entire conference. Looking forward to pattern matching in 3.x!

Maybe if we’re lucky we may even see it in the next few years before 3.x comes out. There’re certainly the code branches for it :)

Eiffel’s Tower

@nmeans ‘s “Eiffel’s Tower” is a great look into workplace politics told through the story of the Eiffel Tower’s construction and surrounding discussions and deals being made. Definitely a must watch for people trying to be more effective at work.

We can’t escape politics at work, nor should we. This is an especially relevant talk for those seeking to become tech leads of managers. Politics are a constant, and this talk shows how they might be used to build some truly amazing things.

Humans aren’t APIs

@jtu ‘s “Humans aren’t APIs” is a talk I’d recommend to anyone as an introduction to team interactions. So much of your early career is learning this the hard way, even into later career. This talk gives those lessons clearly and accessibly.

Communications and ways of communicating more effectively are so pivotal to growing as an engineer, and often a subject that’s not taught except via hard won experience.

Branch in Time

@tekin ‘s “Branch in Time” was another story themed talk, and what a story it was. It really digs into how a bad day can echo well into the future, and the importance of git messages and workflows. Definitely suggested for new engineers.

Also, please do take lessons as far as naming commit messages. Future you will be thankful too.

Building a Memex

@hyfen ‘s “Building a Memex” is a trip through data aggregation applied to a fascinating query system. It really shows some of the amazing things you can do with data, and sets a high bar for side projects.

Ruby is the best Javascript

@kkuchta ‘s “Ruby is the Best Javascript” is a mad hackers dream talk, so naturally I’m recommending it for responsible Rubyists who won’t put it into production (ever). Bad ideas abound in this fascinating delve into Ruby magic.

Wrapping up Part One

Now there are still several more talks I want to get through, but this gives a nice start of some talks to take a look into. Looking forward to watching the rest of the talks over the next few weeks on vacation!