Being Formidable:

Talks and presentations that inspire the work of Formidables.

Inside Formidable, we encourage collaboration and bold, well-researched ideas. Some ideas stick with you longer than others, and continue to inform you work, either directly or indirectly. Here are some that keep the creative fire burning for members of our team:


“The idea that creating things freely and in the open, sometimes leads to things you never thought possible”.

I learned development via open source but got lost in proprietary systems somewhere along the way. This reminded me of it’s importance.


Rich Hickey emphasizes simplicity’s virtues over easiness’, showing that while many choose easiness they may end up with complexity, and the better way is to choose easiness along the simplicity path.

This presentation is beautifully articulated and really inspires thought around architecture. He explains some very technical concepts in a relatively casual nontechnical way


[John Cleese on Creativity]

I highly recommend watching John Cleese’s lecture on creativity in its entirety; it is an insightful, engaging talk from one of your favorite professors.

​Learning the high value of play and humor came as a much-needed insight during a time I was considering my predisposition to extract playfulness from my colleagues to be, at best, a distraction; a reduction in the quality of their thinking and problem solving. To arrange for a space where creative ideas are more likely to sprout, it turns out playfulness and humor is exactly the sort of behavior that encourages a relaxed, expansive, contemplative mode.

“​Creativity is not a talent. It is a way of operating.

MacKinnon [a researcher on creativity] show that the most creative had simply acquired a facility for getting themselves into a particular mood (**a way of operating**), which allowed their natural creativity to function. MacKinnon described this particular facility as, “an ability to play.” He described the “most creative” when in this mood as being “child-like.” For they were able to play with ideas, explore them, not for any immediate practical purpose, but just for enjoyment. Play for its own sake. “


[Let’s be mainstream! User focused design in Elm — Evan Czaplicki]

Functional programming has been around for a very long time and there are dozens of papers and opinions pieces extolling it’s benefits. If functional programming is so great, then why aren’t we all using it? In this talk Evan Cazplicki, the creator of the Elm programming language talks about the disconnect between programming professionals and the academic community how we, and perhaps Elm in particular can bridge the gap and usher in the next era of programming. (edited)

I love this video in part because it’s not just pandering to an audience that already agrees with him. He explains how we might one day soon have something so much better and does so in a very pragmatic and lucid way.


[Package managers, graphs, and one million vertices — Andrei Kashcha]

(from last year’s CascadiaJS)

Lots of talks will show you something new, but this was the first in awhile that left me surprised and delighted with what is possible.

Thoroughly enjoyable, and made me want to build something :)


[ The best stats you’ve ever seen — Hans Rosling]

You’ve never seen data presented like this. With the drama and urgency of a sportscaster, statistics guru Hans Rosling debunks myths about the so-called “developing world.”

This piece is a collaboration of team members at Formidable.

We Are a privately-held, bootstrapped firm based in Seattle, WA. Developing complete web apps, embedding experts in clients’ teams, leading technology-specific training — we tailor our offerings to our customers’ needs, be they startups or Fortune 500s. We’re pushing the bleeding edge of the modern web by advancing the open-source software we use, teaching and learning new technologies, and pursuing opportunities and growth.

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