The birth of a Tech Conference in Montpellier

Benjamin DAVY
Jul 27, 2018 · 5 min read

With our Innovation HQ in Montpellier (South of France) we strongly support the development of the local Tech scene. It might not seem like it but Montpellier has a vibrant ecosystem and a great developper community: It was missing a Tech conference.

Photo credits — Aurélien Tyson

The 28th and 29th of June, 350 people gathered in Montpellier for a 2-day Tech conference called Sunny Tech. This event was imagined and organized by volunteers and backed by many local companies. Teads was one of the sponsors and also supported the event by having 3 Teadsians volunteering.

Great outdoor setup for a sunny lunch, credits — Aurélien Tyson

The conference featured 38 talks and 11 Workshops on 4 different tracks, covering a lot of topics ranging from UX practices to Data Science.

What’s nice about a tech conference in June is that you can spend some time outside. With such great weather, it would be a shame to pack everybody in a room at lunchtime.

Teads on stage

We had two speakers on stage for this first edition.

Jean-Baptiste Pettit talked about how Data Science can drive scalability. He reminded us that many industrial contexts are not a good fit for Deep Learning techniques. In latency constrained use cases, simple logistic regressions are great, and enable to compute a prediction in a few milliseconds.

Jean-Baptiste Pettit, credits — Aurélien Tyson

Jean-Baptiste presented the Throttling use case that we had already talked about in a previous article. It consists in predicting Bid requests relevancy in programmatic advertising auctions in order to filter requests that are not likely to be of interest for buyers.

This is a great example of Machine Learning delivering great value in hidden processes. By doing this we are able to save a lot of computing and network on our side but for our tech partners as well.

However, introducing Machine Learning at the core of a business critical component is non trivial. Jean-Baptiste detailed some precautions that should be taken as well as feedbacks after more than a year in production.

The second day, Xavier Bucchiotty presented how our Publisher feature team created interactive web UIs with React / Redux. During his talk Redux, beyond “Hello World” he explained the different patterns they tried to create reusable components, and efficiently manage their states.

Xavier Bucchiotty, credits — Aurélien Tyson

Xavier also discussed potential traps like the single source of truth concept interpretation in a flux architecture. For example, if you need to do routing in your web app you shouldn’t try to have only one global source of truth.

Quoting React’s creator Dan Abramov: “You don’t need a single source of truth for *everything*. Just make sure you have a single source of truth for any particular thing.”

Slides (in French):

Quick selection picked by our team

The opening Keynote by Arnaud Lemaire about Technical debt and software entropy (in French) received unanimous great feedback.

A former version of this talk had already been recorded during another great French conference — Courtesy of BreizhCamp

After a short introduction about technical debt and software entropy Arnaud precised how these two deeply affect the way we work.

He then covered a lot of Software Engineering topics with examples and anecdotes that resonates for both technical and non technical audiences.

Overall it was nice to take a step back and question our practices.

Many talks would be worth mentioning, here is our shortlist:

  • Kotlin Parsec, a great live-coding talk by Didier Plaindoux (Slides and repo). Starting from this paper, Didier showed how to use the power of Kotlin’s extension functions to combine parsers.
  • Ethereum, Aeternity and the distributed wonders, actually it was the French version of his talk that Luca Marchesini played during SunnyTech (video). Luca is a great story teller and has a refreshing way of introducing these concepts.
  • DIY Home Automation with Android Things and Google Assistant, a packed talk on how to quickly build home automation services by Gautier Mechling (video).
  • From JavaScript to Haskell by Xavier Detant, an interesting way of introducing Functional Programming concepts (video here in english).
  • A Google Machine Learning APIs demo by Laurent Picard where he showed us how many use cases can benefit from available APIs (Slides).

Overall this first SunnyTech was a success, we would like to thank the team, the speakers as well as the other sponsors that all made it possible.

We’re all looking forward to the next edition!

The organisers and some of the speakers, credits — Aurélien Tyson

Teads’ SunnyTech team: Hugo Gresse, Baptiste Haudegand, Xavier Bucchiotty, Jean-Baptiste Pettit, Tristan Sallé, Dorian Monnier, Clément Russo, Gregory Bougeard, Florian Inchingolo

About Montpellier

Montpellier’s tech scene has been growing a lot this last few years, driven by great successes and Tech startup exits. This energy is also bound to the tech community that is deeply involved and active (get on the dedicated Slack!).

We have a lot of Tech Meetups in Montpellier and even a non profit organization (Montpellier TechHub) that assists them with equipment and logistics.

In addition to companies setting up here, new waves of startups continuously appear, with many being supported by our public incubator, ranked as the World’s second leading startup incubator.

But that’s only some of the reasons why Montpellier attracts talents from all over the planet.

Welcome to Montpellier!

Teads Engineering

150+ innovators building the future of digital advertising