Red Hat Summit 2018
Open Source, community and young people
[9th May, San Francisco]
I’m really honoured that Red Hat invited me to America to present a keynote at their Red Hat Summit 2018 as part of their Expanding the Universe of Open Source series. After a month of preparation which involved weekly Skype calls with the creative team and an 11 hour flight, we finally arrived in San Francisco ready for the week ahead. On arrival, we were met by a taxi and taken to the Marriott Hotel on Market Street where we were to stay for the next 8 days. It was right next to the Moscone centre where the Summit was held, but before it started we had 3 days to explore the city.
The day after we arrived, a Saturday, we decided to explore the amazing line of piers along the San Francisco bay. We got on a bus to the Ferry Building, a massive market hall with a pier along side it, and we walked up to Pier 41, on the other side of the pier front. We didn’t realise how big a walk it was, and it took us the whole day (it felt like it). We also stopped off at Pier 39 where we saw the Sea Lions and had Clam Chowder for Lunch. On our way back to the hotel we got on the cable car.
On Sunday we decided to go to the Muir woods on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge. We took a Ferry across to Sausalito and then a shuttle through rolling valleys to the woods. The ancient Redwood trees were beautiful and majestic in their great height. We ended up walking around for almost 2 hours before taking the shuttle and the ferry back to San Fransisco.
On Monday, the day before the beginning of the summit, we started the day by going to Upper Haight Street to get my younger brother, Alex, a skateboard and then we trekked through the Golden Gate park and caught a bus back. It was really interesting. After that we went our first activity which was on poetry and building Raspberry Pi camera by Co.Lab, who run coding workshops for girls. There, we met the Red Hat Creative team, which was great to meet them in person. They were all really cool. Jacques, one of the Creative team members, showed us the stage I would be speaking on. It was massive. I’d only just memorised the twenty slide Keynote and when I practised it, Jaques said it came out as a rehearsed speech so I needed to let go and just be genuine and connect with the audience. That night we also went for a dinner to celebrate the Women in Open Source Awards 2018. It was a great dinner and we networked with some really cool and important people from Red Hat like the Chief Marketing Officer Tim Yeaton and the Chief Technical Officer, Chris Wright.
On Tuesday, we entered the Summit. It was great to see what it was all about after seeing all of the posters and billboards across town. After a small introduction, with a cool DJ set (at 8.30am in the morning) we were meant to attend a small workshop. However we entered the main expo to try and do a 15 minute roundhouse trip ‘Swag’ hunt but it ended up turning into 2 hours. Lots of people wanted to talk to me. So we took part in the later workshop by another Open Source Stories leader, Sara, from Jewel Bots. She had created an interactive friendship bracelet to introduce young people into coding. It was a fun and interesting session and at the end we were able to take two back to London to show our community.
Wednesday arrived, the big day! This was the day I was to give my talk to over 1000 people. But before my talk I had a practise session and it was great to feel what the stage was like properly before my keynote.
Only two hours later came the big talk. I was nervous but once out there I rocked the stage. I was one of just two talkers, in the whole Summit, to get a standing ovation. After the talk I had so many people come up and congratulate me. It was so amazing. That evening I went to the premier of the new RedHat film ‘Citizen Scientists’. There was also a raffle and the winner actually gave me his prize. A SNES.
Here is the link to my Keynote:
Afterwards I met up with the Chief Executive of ARM technologies to talk about a Cyber Security initiatives for kids. I then went for an ice cream at the amazing Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory with the Co.Lab girls.
Thursday, the final day of the event, was blast. I ran a workshop in the morning for Co.Lab and in the afternoon talked to people whilst competing with others at the game opposite our stand, I got the highest score on the leader board. After the event there was a big party, however I couldn’t go as I was under 18 but instead I attended a Diversity and Inclusion with my mother. After that I went for a famous ‘In&Out’ burger with Co.Lab group. Even though the event had finished, that wasn’t the end of my trip.
On Friday I went to Raspberry Pi Foundation in Oakland where I met Christina and Andy. It was great to meet with them and to see all of the work they were doing in the US and discuss plans for future visits.
After that we returned to Pier 33 to Catch our boat to Alcatraz. It was a very cool island with lots of history. It was a lot more than just a prison and we spent a great 3 hours there, exploring the prison and its life as well as the Native American takeover and the naval fort it used to be. After catching a boat back we travelled to GitHub in San Fransisco where we met Joe Nash who we have done work with, in England. It was such a cool space to work in and we had an awesome chat as well as taking home some cool swag.
Saturday, our final day, was World Scratch Day. So we spent a day in Tiburon, just past Angel Island. In the local library over there was a CoderDojo which we took part in. We met some cool kids with great ideas and are working on new projects together. On the way back from Tiburon it was really choppy and lots of people came running inside soaking wet. After getting back to the hotel we were taken to the airport and left on our 11 hour flight back to England.
Overall it was a great experience, I’ve been invited already to do keynotes in Dubai and Prague. I really hope to go back to San Francisco some time soon.
What did I learn from this experience? Well, it was amazing to work with the Creative team at Red Hat, to understand the Red Hat community, Open Source and the audience that I was presenting my Keynote to. It took weeks of preparation. We learnt so much along the way about ourselves as a community – South London Raspberry Jam. It was great to have the opportunity to fully engage and network whilst in San Francisco and we were able to take back so many new ideas back to London. It was also great to learn about what Red Hat and what their Open Source products were about. On the day, I was nervous but I was also well prepared. I actually used the auto-cues to give me confidence and it helped me to overcome my anxiety about looking directly at the audience. I somehow did both at the same time. I really enjoyed being able to walk around the stage – release all that nervous energy and the audience appreciated that I gave my attention across the whole room. Afterwards it was awesome having so many people come up to talk to me and tell me about what they were doing.
It was quite sad to leave San Francisco but I think it was a case of a job well done.
Please support our Young Coders MeetUp Crowd-Funding Campaign – launching on Saturday 9th June at Microsoft Reactor Space, London.
My latest project is to set up an inclusive Young Coders community and network through developing an ‘Open Organisation’ for monthly MeetUp for young coders (10 – 16 yr olds) and an outreach programme to engage more young people from under-represented groups. Here are details of the Crowd-funder. We need to raise £25,000 to run a 6 month pilot, write a blueprint handbook for others to use and to collect feedback and analytics so we can apply for more formal funding for the next phase.
Young Coders Conference Website: https://youngcodersconference.wordpress.com/about-us/