On September 28th, hundreds of technology leaders gathered in New York City’s Financial District for our first conference, Flow State. There they experienced eight sessions from tech leaders at Salesforce, Udemy, Indeed, Esty, and Capgemini. We covered the future of work and the changing landscapes of the developer experience, recruiting, collaboration, and workplace learning. The crowd on site was joined by almost 5,000 virtual attendees who registered from 83 countries around the globe.
Our CEO, Prashanth Chandrasekar, kicked things off with a discussion on the state of work and the factors that are key to a developer’s learning journey and success on the job. Drawing on data from our most recent developer survey, he laid out a positive vision for a future of hybrid work and online learning.
Next up was our CTO, Jody Bailey, chatting with Chris Kohr, a VP of Engineering at Salesforce. Nearly 70% of developers say they encounter a knowledge silo at least once a week, and 62% spend more than 30 minutes a day searching for answers or solutions to problems. For a team of 50 developers, the amount of time spent searching for critical information adds up to between 333-651 hours of time lost per week across the entire team.
The pair discussed strategies for helping developers avoid knowledge silos and context switching and explored some of the keys to getting into a flow state that maximizes both productivity and happiness.
The final morning session was a fireside chat between our Chief Marketing Officer, Khalid El Khatib, and the journalist and author, Clive Thompson, whose book, Coders: The Making of a New Tribe and Remaking of the World, is a rich ethnographic study of the programmers who help craft our modern society. The pair had the audience in rapt attention with plenty of laughs as they explored what it takes to be a self-taught developer in today’s tech industry.
In the afternoon, Seth Hodgson, VP of Engineering at Udemy, talked about how to approach skills acquisition as a daily habit. As the demands of the workplace change and organizations shift to keep pace and continue to innovate, their workforce requires constant reskilling. In fact, 87% of leaders say they expect to face major skills gaps over the next five years. He discusses an approach that enables real-time, hands-on practice and peer-driven knowledge sharing, which has enabled Udemy’s 54M learners and 12.5K enterprise partners to always be at their best.
Next up, Stack Overflow CTO Jody Bailey held a fireside chat with Alex Bulat-van den Wildenberg, Group Technology Director and CTO at Capgemini, discussed how scaling subject matter experts and uncovering domain expertise can ultimately drive team and product growth.
After a short break, Stack Overflow Chief Product Officer Teresa Dietrich shared how Stack Overflow builds for the technologist’s holistic learning journey and what updates to expect across all of our products: Stack Overflow for Teams, Collectives™, Employer Branding, and Advertising.
Following Teresa, Stack Overflow Chief Marketing Officer Khalid El Khatib spoke with Maggie Hulce, Executive VP, GM of Enterprise at Indeed, and Sally Bolig, Global Head of Employer Branding at Etsy about the ultra-competitive talent market today and the Great Resignation still reshaping our workplaces. How do you attract talent, retain team members, and scale your expertise across your growing team? They discussed how this talent war stands independent from economic trends, the importance of understanding developer workflows in today’s talent climate, and how tools, onboarding, learning, and collaboration will all impact the talent market indefinitely.
Finally, Human-Computer Interaction researcher Dr. Gloria Mark delivered the closing keynote speech. While we’re unable to embed her talk, look for her new book Attention Span: Finding Focus and Fighting Distraction out in January 2023.
What comes next?
This was our inaugural customer conference, and we had the privilege of getting to interact with employees who lead their internal communities on Stack Overflow for Teams. We were also thrilled that many members of our Stack Overflow community attended. We met folks who had started Stack Exchanges and other who had been asking and answering questions on our platform for over a decade. Given the success of this conference, you can look forward to future Flow State events next year.