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Important points about giving people purpose, autonomy and mastery at work.

Apart from that, made me quite uncomfortable at times, maybe that was the intention.

Ken Guest at 22:35 on 4 Nov 2017

Very good and important points made about many aspects of management, seniority and giving people purpose and helping them be their best in work.

Peter McDonald at 01:07 on 5 Nov 2017

A great talk gave some food for thought. Has made me consider where i want to be tbh

Adam Culp at 06:49 on 5 Nov 2017

Soooooo much profanity every other sentence, and in slides. Some sentences twice. Otherwise, many good points.

Richard Black at 14:45 on 5 Nov 2017

Great talk, inspiring and a lot to take away.

Sandor C at 21:11 on 5 Nov 2017

I enjoyed the first half of the speech despite the constant swearing as it had something to say. I didn't quite agree that talent does not exist, when it's scientifically proven that it does. Some people can learn certain skills faster than others and some people will enjoy doing different things. Despite my disagreement, I enjoyed hearing about different ideas.

However, the harsh left leaning political payload of the second half of the speech almost made me storm out of the room. I was lectured about my so called "white privilege", was called by names and told that telling a child that He's smart is a microaggression. At the very end, Meri received a gift and for some reason she insisted to thank it loudly by picking up the microphone with something like "at least it's not gendered". None of the other speakers thought it's necessary to say anything at all other than a quiet "thank you", even though there were far bigger names on the list. For me, this is where I decided I will never attend any conferences organised by this same team. If I want to hear an SJW/feminist speech, I'll attend a rally of any liberal or socialist party in my area.

I strongly recommend that before accepting someone to give a speech, validate what the person is going to talk about and in what style She's picking in doing so. It was very unprofessional, unpleasant and unexpected to hear these things in a technology driven environment.

Jaap Migchels at 10:52 on 6 Nov 2017

Great first 30 minutes, really interesting material and some good book suggestions.

Could have done without the SWJ identity politics part though, aside from that, enjoyable and quite funny.

An excellent talk in terms of giving senior staff food for thought on how to manage their teams and make individuals feel valued and welcome.

Also an excellent talk in terms of giving the individual some good key points to evaluate if a role is worth their time.

That said, the talk did unfortunately nosedive at the end in the way it was delivered, which reminded me avidly of a preacher doling out a generous helping of guilt. This is not the way to spread a message of tolerance and equality.

thiago marini at 12:57 on 6 Nov 2017

The best talk, it was awesome! :)

Alistair Burns at 15:32 on 6 Nov 2017

Really enjoyed the talk, and it made me want to read "First, break all the rules".
The Predictors of High Performance list really gets you thinking about what a good workplace looks like.
I found the Foosball comment interesting, I always found job adverts mentioning such things appealing to me, as I guess I was their target audience. I hadn't really given a thought about how it could have an adverse affect if it was the only perceived perk.

Jeroen v.d. Gulik at 18:20 on 6 Nov 2017

I enjoyed the talk although I did not agree fully with a lot of the management style conclusions. Having worked with a lot of teams, each seem to behave quite differently so finding that silver bullet has always been a unicorn quest for me. I would have enjoyed it a bit more if the final bit didn't turn into a rant. It made the entire ending quite awkward and uncomfortable which imho is not the feeling you want to give your audience as the closing keynote: it reflects poorly on the conference, its organization and truth be told, the rest of the talk.

Ciaran McNulty at 13:24 on 7 Nov 2017

Really great - covered a lot of ground in a relatively short talk, and gave lots of references to follow up with later.

Busting preconceptions is always great in a keynote; really glad to see these topics being discussed at a tech conference.

Alan Reid at 13:37 on 7 Nov 2017

Awesome talk by an awesome speaker. Loved the cat gif, but seriously some really interesting points raised and lots of things to consider. We are all privileged in some way and it was great of Meri to use her personal experience of privilege and of how privilege was used to hold people down to show that we should be using our privilege to create a better culture and environment for everyone instead of creating toxic environments. We need more people pushing these subjects the way Meri does in order to get the tech industry to be a shining example of diversity and inclusivity. Well done to the organisers for choosing such an amazing closing keynote.

Iain Cambridge at 14:07 on 7 Nov 2017

After reading the feedback here I was quite surprised that people feel that the last part of the talk was too political. The title of the talk is "Creating space to be Awesome". Which I think the last part of the talk was actually the key part of doing this. Especially in an industry that claims they want to be more inclusive and nearly every company is trying to figure out how to increase their diversity. How do people think this is going to happen if we don't talk a look at the current situation and look to improve it and see where we're going wrong. If your space is only allowing certain creed of people to be awesome, are you doing it right?

I found it odd that some people find it insulting that Micro-Aggression got explained. I personally didn't actually know what a micro-aggression was other than hearing people mock people for claiming that they were micro-aggressed upon. I guess it's part of the unconscious basis thing which there seems to be more research coming out upon.

Also I for one found the level of colloquial language quite refreshing. Being from the UK, it made it for myself a lot more friendly and relaxed instead of very formal and lecturey.

Craig McCreath at 14:31 on 7 Nov 2017


You've made my Amazon wishlist a lot more expensive now! :D As a demi-manager I think it really helped to understand what we need to be providing our teams in order for each person to be at their best.

I feel your points on inclusion (and exclusion) are right on point and showed how your experience has helped you make places more awesome for everybody.

Hope to hear you talk again soon!

Denis Brumann at 17:13 on 7 Nov 2017

I understand why people are put off by the swearing, but to me it felt like part of the personal style and I did not take offence in it, neither did it distract me from the talk's message.

Being a personal story I think it's fair to not mention alternatives to the management styles and conclusions promoted in the talk. Even though I don't think they always apply/work in every team. I didn't perceive the message as hard left leaning/"SJW" rant. Meri drew from her own experience to promote ways how to recognise and work against inherent biases without blaming/shaming anyone. Her talk relied on highlighting how a company atmosphere/culture shapes our productivity and the advice she gave on how to create a welcoming atmosphere were people like to work and are able to contribute resonated with me.

These aspirational/motivational talks and personal stories are part of the conference culture I like best as they give a glance at something outside the pure technical aspects of the job - which I can also learn from books & playing around with tools or by listening to the recordings - and provide food for thought (and discussion) instead.

Matt Brunt at 22:34 on 7 Nov 2017

I love Meri's speaking style. The swearing wasn't an issue for me, it felt like a conversation between friends, and that made the whole talk feel more hard hitting, it was like a friend telling you their story on how they've seen environments become inclusive places where the best work happens. This was a great way to wrap up the conference.

Raphael Stolt at 14:46 on 8 Nov 2017

Very energetic talk with some good book suggestions.

Andy Gaskell at 15:04 on 8 Nov 2017

Excellent talk from Meri, entertaining and thought provoking in equal measure. A lots of content to cover, but delivered with pace and clarity. Some handy book recommendations too.

I'll definitely make a priority of attending any conference where Meri is speaking at.

James Baster at 09:04 on 9 Nov 2017

I've worked with to many managers who were promoted for technical or business reasons and who didn't have people skills, and even worse, some who were totally unaware they didn't have people skills! It's good to be reminded of the people side to any team work.