Recap GOTO Amsterdam Conference 2013

Right at my arrival the weather in Amsterdam was great – what might be bad for a typical developer like me , who tends to get a sunburn in seconds (if I´m not crumbling to dust, after working in darkened rooms solving coding issues over and over again).


Amsterdam has a lot to offer and is a great location for an international conference for developers. About 300 found their way to the venue “Beurs van Berlage” close to the main station. The conference was well organized and everything from coffee to food was provided. The exhibition area was packed with developer oriented companies like Atlassian (Jira) and Neo Technologies (Neo4j).

But a conference is not only about the breaks and exhibitors, it´s about the speakers and their content. And the line-up was promising with speakers as Linda Rising and Erik Meijer just to mention a few. And my expectations have been exceeded! Already the very first talk by Linda was very entertaining and informative: Now I understand developer motivation and incentives much better! Most of the talks have been great and did show that computer science and coding do not have to be dry boring: The speakers did use very visual descriptions – even for complicated things!

To me it was a big honor to speak right after Martin Fowler, one of my computer science idols. Right before my talk I realized to my shock, that I have done a session at this place ten years ago, which went awfully wrong (it turned accidentally out to be very much like slapstick cause I tumbled over a few obstacles on the stage over and over again). But this time my session went very well and I had much fun explaining hard things easy (you know, I work in a big enterprise where some people think things only have a sellable value if they are complicated).

But there have been downsides as well. First it´s hard to choose a track if there are so many interesting talks in parallel. I prefer leaving a session I do not like over missing a session which was probably awesome – this is even bad for the speakers if therefore only a hand full of people attend their talk. And second: Why the hell must this conference start at 8:30 in the morning? Hey, we are developers…

Anyway, the conference was worth a visit. In particular if you are interested in code, computer science and agility. In case you missed it, the next one will be in Berlin very soon.