🎵Everything is cool when you’re part of a team!🎵 The Lego Movie came out almost 4 years ago, and it taught children everywhere the importance of teamwork. And what teamwork, and working in harmony, actually is. Let’s just hope that those lessons really stick with these kids. Because let’s be honest, we’re making a mess of it. But it’s not too late for us. We can learn from the Lego Movie as well. I’ll show you how you can help to make sure everyone feels safe and respected in your team and your company. How you can feel better being the unique person you are within your team. And how you can make your, and everyone else’s, life more awesome!

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Rated 5

Iwona at 19:20 on 21 Feb 2019

Interesting and important talk!

Rated 1

Piers Beckley at 22:02 on 21 Feb 2019

The first 15 minutes were setup to the message (how to improve communications within your company, especially with minorities and the less confident) and after they were done the speaker admitted that they weren’t necessary and were just filler to get to the talk.

Lack of representation is a huge problem in tech, but the delivery wasn’t strong enough to cut through.

He talked about the fact that he’s a remote worker, who hasn’t managed everyone or been in an office environment for some time, before giving recommendations about how to run meetings.

He talked about the fact that he’s not a fluent English speaker, and then gave recommendations about how to use the language.

These could both have been interesting points, but instead of saying “this is how I, as someone outside the privileged world have encountered problems and seen them solved”, he kept apologising about his lack of experience, before giving pronouncements about how to run things. Most of these were helpful, but a few were actively harmful to team-building (eg no usage of domain-specific terminology or, in-jokes).

The talk was also misadvertised. It wasn’t about learning from the Lego movie, but was about the problem of under-representation in tech. Which is a *huge* problem, and one which *does* need addressing. But if you’re pitching a talk as being about learning from the Lego movie, it needs to do that.

Badged as a talk about better representation and helping people who don’t fit with the dominant culture, and delivered with confidence and real-world examples, it could’ve been awesome.

Rated 1

Christophe at 22:44 on 21 Feb 2019

The topic is important but was not well presented.

Definitely not a keynote talk.

The subject presented is important to talk about in our sector but I do not believe the tone of this talk represented the best approach.

The tone of the talk was very downbeat, previous keynotes have delivered a similar message with a more upbeat and positive slant on how we as individuals can be more inclusive.

Rated 2

David Yell at 09:19 on 22 Feb 2019

Could probably do with just dropping all the Lego references. I thought the speaker worked at Lego and was super excited to get an insight, so was a little disappointed that the talk wasn't really anything about how Lego work.

Rated 3

Gareth Ellis at 09:23 on 22 Feb 2019

An important message that needs to be heard at more conferences and by more people in tech (and by people in general)! The delivery was more akin to a lecture or an HR sensitivity training than a keynote though - the speaker seemed nervous and spent a lot of time apologising and reading aloud from his laptop. I think audience engagement is really important when trying to drive home the message of this talk, but it was lacking in my opinion.
I also think the title and the connection to LEGO was ultimately irrelevant.

Thanks Paul for speaking about this important topic.

Rated 1

Marinit at 11:28 on 22 Feb 2019

A key note speaker who wouldn’t stop reading from his laptop.

I struggled with how to rate this talk. I actually found the 'introduction' to be the more important part, and I have huge respect to the speaker for be willing to call out some of the toxic behaviour in the industry.

On the other hand, I feel 'missold' in that the abstract suggests Lego would be a integral part of the talk, which actually I think would make the talk much more unique.

Rated 2

Donald Tyler at 18:49 on 22 Feb 2019

I have pretty much the same feedback as a lot of the comments already posted here. The topic is extremely valuable and needs to be addressed, but I didn't feel like the talk did it service. When overcoming these challenges, I feel that positivity and getting people excited about solving these challenges is the way to go. This talk didn't fill me with positivity or optimism at all. It was very much a downer.

Rated 2

Rob Waller at 08:46 on 23 Feb 2019

This talk didn't quite work out sadly, but I wouldn't lose faith in the general direction you are heading in. I think the issue was it felt like two or three talks crammed into one. I'd pull out one of the issues you were talking about and really focus on it. I'd also consider your examples and your audience, I felt much more engaged when you provided your personal, small business example of bad behavior than when you talked about Uber or Trilogy. I've seen bad behavior in our industry, but I've never been on a private jet to Vegas or anywhere else. This is because I've only really worked in small organisations, less than 300 people, and I believe many PHP developers are in the same boat. It's difficult to relate to the glitz and glamour of Silicon Valley when you've spent most of your career hacking WordPress and Laravel for small agencies. I felt the same after I read Brotopia, which I assume you have also read. Don't give up on this or be too disheartened, I think with a little focus and thought you can turn this into a brilliant talk.

Rated 2

Jason Stanley at 11:03 on 23 Feb 2019

It is an important topic but I felt the talk didn't have the answers for problems in the workplace. The talk ended with "Be Yourself!" However, the preceding 50 minutes was a lecture to walk on egg shells incase you offend people.

There was also a part about video conferencing. The speaker rightly said that video conferencing is fairly awkward. His solution was for everyone to put on headphones so you have an equally bad time. This doesn't sound reasonable.

I felt perhaps a better talk would have been to approach the other side. How to raise issues and how you yourself can take criticism on board and be a more welcoming colleague.

Rated 2

Alex Youngs at 11:25 on 23 Feb 2019

It's a shame that this talk didn't quite deliver on the enthusiasm of the description provided by Paul, but I do feel that some of the comments posted here are not particularly helpful in giving valuable feedback to the speaker or encouraging them to improve in certain areas, especially when nerves and language barriers seemed to play a part - it's not in the spirit of this community.

So thank you Paul for touching on a topic that is important. As others have said the Lego angle may have helped with the uniqueness of the talk and given you an anchor point and really focusing the talk on a specific area would have also helped.

I'm a firm believer that the best talks have been given by speakers recounting tales of their direct experiences which from memory seemed to be the strongest part of your talk.

Don't be discouraged by some of the harsher comments!

Rated 3

Scott Dutton at 20:41 on 24 Feb 2019

Great topic and really needed. Unfortunately it felt as though it was all read from the screen which made the talk much less engaging.

The personal experience part was really good. Would have liked to hear if it was the one event which made the team leave or if what happened was a build up of other events.

This talk could be great with a few tweaks.

Rated 4

M1ke at 12:49 on 25 Feb 2019

Probably the most opinion-splitting talk of the conference. With hindsight of all the reviews posted before me I have to say I am surprised at how negative people are being at the title/abstract being misguiding. They are, and I'd have loved to see either more LEGO references (e.g. Gary's keynote last year about video games) or maybe having described it differently.

But it's also the talk where I saw more people in the audience than any other shaking their heads. The talk set out some key history that those with privilege might not like. Then suggested we should change. So I think maybe there's a level of implicit bias in wanting to dislike a talk that says some things which may challenge you as a person rather than a developer. Maybe this should be a blog post rather than joind.in review so I'll end with:

Rename the talk, maybe be more confident giving it, but don't stop talking about it, because it's important