In 2019, 72 talks were given as part of Tech Weeklies
As my journey with Futurice is turning 2 years old in April and Tech Weeklies’ journey at Futurice is turning already 8 years at the same time, I wanted to share some of my favorite aspects of it. During these two years, I have started to take it for granted but lately bringing some friends to join the event and hearing their thoughts on it, I’ve realized we have something quite special going on here.
We consultants live in a constantly changing world and the ability to adapt into those changes is important. That’s why learning is a key part of our company culture. Tech Weeklies is one of the ways we share our knowledge inside and outside the company and learn from each other’s knowledge, expertise and experience.
1. From developers to developers
Most of the new initiatives at Futurice are started because someone working at the company wants to make something happen. The story of Tech Weeklies started in the spring of 2012 when one of our developers, Jarno, wanted to start a knowledge sharing session.
“I propose "Frontend Futurice Weeklies", each Friday, around 15:00 or so. Agenda would be fixed to 3 mini-talks (5 min apiece) and relevant discussions (5 min apiece). [...] Because we won't expect the presenter to be an expert on the subject. We're talking about recent events, so he/she probably has zero experience on it.” - Jarno
The concept has evolved a bit, now we aim to have two talks of roughly 30 minutes but we remain flexible: sometimes it’s a session for the full hour, sometimes it’s lightning talks and sometimes a bit more workshop-style approach.
Anyone in the company is welcome to share and during these years we’ve had hundreds of interesting talks. We have seen talks about different technologies or programming paradigms, hobby project showcases, stories and learnings from client projects or shared learnings from trips to conferences around the world. Every now and then we also go across competence borders and have designers sharing about their expertise to build a larger understanding.
And that’s what I like about our culture: many great things happen because people want to do something and we have a flexible culture that encourages taking initiative.
2. Opportunities for learning and personal growth
Tech Weeklies offers so many opportunities for people to learn and grow as professionals. Not only by listening to other people talk but also by sharing what they know. I personally believe that teaching is a wonderful way to learn. By giving a talk or hosting a workshop, you usually do a bit more research into the topic. This leads to a deeper understanding of the topic and approaching it from different perspectives than you might normally do in your day-to-day life. Second, you improve your communication skills which is another important skill for a software consultant in the world of 2020. We communicate with our team members and clients all the time and giving a talk in Tech Weeklies can help us gain more confidence in presenting.
"Tech Weeklies has worked for me really well as a platform for gaining more confidence in presenting in front of an audience. I have noticed that the best way to truly learn a topic is to have a presentation about it – it makes you have to figure it out yourself first before being able to talk about it." - Olavi
Some of our developers have started in Tech Weeklies, then shared those presentations on local meetups and now are speaking in international conferences so only the sky's the limit. Tech Weeklies is also a platform to practice new talks, do grand rehearsals before upcoming conferences or for those who speak a lot in different events, an opportunity to have a bit more fun in a relaxed environment.
Learning also happens on multiple different levels, not limited to the content or duration of the talk. It helps us build organizational knowledge of who knows about what topic. The follow-up discussions in Slack or in-person are less visible but very valuable.
For many of us Futuriceans, a big reason to join the company is to learn and grow and I’m happy we are able to provide one platform for that growth with Tech Weeklies.
3. Sharing internally and publicly
All of our Tech Weeklies sessions we stream across all our sites around Europe via hangouts. Anyone from any site can present and anyone at the company can join either at the office or individually from wherever they work from. We also record most of the talks (the speaker always has the final word whether they want to be recorded or not) and share them internally the same day or at the beginning of the next week.
Internally sharing experience and expertise is good for business but we also love sharing to the world. We share our talks via our Futurice Youtube channel and via our podcast so that everyone can enjoy Tech Weeklies presentations and learn something new.
Every now and then we also invite guest speakers to give talks and invite people to join to get a glimpse of our Friday afternoons. For example, this past January we hosted Azure Afterwork with Microsoft’s Jussi Roine sharing the lessons learned from 10 years of Azure and we invited community members to join us for an afternoon.
Some of my personal favorites of recent talks are James’s How to Improve Your Open Source Docs, Judith’s Who needs PDF generators? - Using the browser to print nice multipage documents and Axel’s io-ts – And Why You Should Want It.
My journey with Tech Weeklies
As I mentioned in the beginning, I joined the company roughly two years ago. During that time, I’ve given 7 talks myself and I joined the team running Tech Weeklies last year to help host the events, find and encourage people to give talks and also help our developers to find events and conferences their Tech Weeklies talks would be a great fit for.
As a meetup organizer myself, the ability to run a weekly tech meetup with such a great pool of good speakers and interesting topics is a dream come true. And seeing people grow and learn and then venture to bigger stages warms my heart.