Back speaking again

I have two conferences coming up shortly that I’ll be speaking at, both which are conferences in their first year

First, is Distill, happening August 8th and 9th in San Francisco. I’m excited to be showing a new talk, “Four Web Technologies you should be looking at now!”, where I talk about the emerging patterns in web application development and where the story is going. It’s a great lineup of thought leading speakers that I’m privileged to be a part of. You can register for the two-day event for $500, or $300 if you are a student.

Next is in September, where I’ll be a part of the Web and PHP Conference happening September 16th thru 18th. If you miss Distill, you can check out my “Four Web Technologies you should be looking at now!” talk there as well, along with another round of “Hack your team, your department, and your organization for the greater good” where I talk about how to make a difference and bring about change in an organization, even if you aren’t in the right role to do so. It’ll also be the first time I’ve gave this talk in the US, so I’m excited to deliver it to a new audience. And the best part? The main conference registration is free!

Looking forward to both events, as well as many others coming this fall.


A few more conferences I’ll be at soon…

I’m excited to announce two more conference stops for me this spring!

First, is my return to POSSCON in Columbia, SC, at the end of March on the 28th and 29th. I’ll be doing a great talk and live demo on building an application on the Sugar platform, but the big draw for this show is to see our very own CEO and Open Source legend Larry Augustin keynoting on ‘Open Source – Now and in the Future‘. He’s a great speaker and comes with amazing insight from someone who helped coined the term back in the 90’s. Plus, as a conference POSSCON is top notch, with a great array of speakers representing the best of open source catering to making it work in the business world.

Then, I’ll make a trip over the pond in mid April for the inaugural Whisky Web conference in Edinburgh, UK. I had a chance to meet the organizers back at PHPBenelux in January, and I must say they won me over with the promise of free whiskey ;-).

But seriously, for a one day conference the content and speaker list is excellent. I’m grateful to be one of them, debuting a new talk on “Lessons Learned From Testing Legacy Code”, where I’ll hopefully give some good advice on making that crazy legacy app you’ve been thrown into not fight you from trying to make it testable.

Look forward to meeting up with friends and colleagues at these two events upcoming, as well as meeting new faces as well.

Learn more about honing your business skills in this Saturday’s Day Camp 4 Developers virtual conference

I’ve talked a lot on this blog about life and career in this blog recently, as to help developers become more productive members of a functioning business team. It’s a topic that is near and dear to me, and one that is essential for anyone looking to progress their career.

But if you want to really dig deep into this topic, then drop a mere $40 and check out the Day Camp 4 Developers conference. One day and you’ll hear some great talks such as these:

  • Lorna Jane Mitchell: Time and Money
  • Jacques Woodcock: So you want to be Self Employed
  • Thursday Brahm:  Planning Your Business for the Long Term
  • Tara Aaron: Put It In writing: Why good clear written agreements are important for developers and their clients
  • Paul M. Jones: Career and Life Management

And one from your’s truely as well…

  • John Mertic: Is it good for the company?

Loving what you are seeing? Curious on how to take your career from developer to manager? Then definitely sign up today at

Working successful outside the cube, a redux

It’s been a few weeks since I was in Belgium for the excellent 2012 PHPBenelux Conference, which brought together beer, chocolates ( at least for the wife ) and PHP together for an excellent two days of fun and community. And I did a new talk, Working successfully outside the cube, which was a new talk for me that I got great feedback from.

But, from reading the comments, there’s two points I didn’t really hit on well during the talk, so I figured I take the time now and try to answer them here.

What is the cost to my employer to be remote?

There isn’t a hard and fast answer to this question, and it depends upon your organization’s structure and policies along with what technologies they already have in place. Generally speaking, you’ll need this:

  • A computer that is portable enough to take between home and work. This is a laptop for most people, but if you have one of those ultra-portable desktops that would work as well. But anymore, the cost between a desktop and laptop isn’t very much. Even if you don’t work remote having the convenience of being able to take your laptop to meetings, over to your boss’s or co-worker’s desk, or out to a customer site, far outweighs the minor additional costs.
  • Tools to communicate with co-workers. This usually means IM or IRC for quick messaging, Skype or a soft phone for talking directly with someone, and Gotomeeting or WebEx for doing screen sharing. Most organizations I know of have these sort of tools already in place for their marketing, sales, and/or support teams, and if not many of these are free or low cost to use.
  • A way to access servers and other resources in the office remotely. This is most likely a VPN or other secure connection, which chances are good already exist if you salespeople or other executives that are outside of the office working with any frequency.

It’s probably best to investigate this first with your boss to see if there are any hurdles you need to get past, but chances are good the infrastructure is already in place.

What are some best practices for collaboration tools for remote workers?

While everyone’s organization is different, here’s what I find that works best for me:

  • Got a quick question? Use IM or IRC for this, unless you don’t need an answer right now, then use email
  • Want to chat an issue over with someone? Use Skype, or perhaps Gotomeeting/WebEx if you need to show your screen to someone.
  • Need someones attention now? Direct IM, text message, or email works best here.

As for soft skills in effective communication, check out a blog post I did about respecting other’s time a while back for some good points on effectively planning meetings and learning how to make sure your interactions are productive with others. And next weekend I’ll be doing a talk at the virtual Day Camp 4 Developers conference around how to navigate the business world, which should also help you out in your quest to better plug into your organization and be productive while a remote worker.

Hope this answers everyone’s lingering questions from the talk. Thanks again for all the great feedback, I hope to do it again soon…


Where I’m speaking at next…

I have a number of exciting talks coming to a conference near you…

  • Next weekend I’ll be in Antwerp for the 2012 PHPBenelux Conference. This has grown to be a favorite conference of mine, as you can’t go wrong with a combination of PHP, great people, great chocolate ( just ask the wife ), Belgian Beer, and Belgian Fries. In fact, I’m so much a fan of the show that I’m having my company, SugarCRM, be the platinum sponsor for the event. We’ll have a booth and a hacking lounge there, where we will bribe developers with free t-shirts and other prizes for hacking on the codebase and building new integrations between Sugar and various other frameworks, applications, and services. I’ll also be debuting a new talk, Working successfully outside the cube, where I’ll be talking about how to become a successful remote employee and how to become a more remote friendly employer.

  • Then, the following week I’ll be a part of the The Virtual Git Summit hosted by php|architect on February 1st. I’ll be doing a talk entitled “Subversion to Git: A Sugar Story”, where I’ll be talking about how we at Sugar moved to git and GitHub, including why we did it, how we did it, the challenges and successes of the move, and what we can do now that we are using git. With a great lineup of speakers, it should provide a great overview of using git in real life.

  • And then in March, I’ll be a part of another virtual conference Day Camp 4 Developers #4: Business 101. A great conference for those looking to move out into doing your own gigs, my talk entitled “Is it good for the company?” will center around helping developers learn the ins and outs of corporate culture, learning how to deal with it in order to grow you career. It’s a packed conference with some of the best and brightest minds in the community that have real world experience with building a career around software development.

Hopefully you can make one or more of them 🙂

Speaking at OSCON 2011

OSCON 2011

I’m excited to announce I’ll be back speaking at OSCON this summer with a new talk, “Making Your PHP Application Easy to Customize“. This talk will center around the types of strategies we done at SugarCRM to make it very customizable, giving you tips you can take back with you.

OSCON is one of my favorite conferences to be a part of ( mostly because of the great city of Portland that hosts it ) and one that anyone interested in Open Source and technology should be a part of. O’Reilly has given me a special code to use during registration that will give you a 20% discount, just enter “Mertic” as the discount code in the registration form to receive this discount.