Reflecting on DeveloperWeek 2019

TL;DR — Spoke at and attended DeveloperWeek 2019 in Oakland with James


25th February 2019

Setting the Scene

This past week, James and I attended DeveloperWeek 2019 in Oakland, California. It was held at the Oakland Convention Center, located near downtown Oakland. DeveloperWeek is a massive conference, expo, hackathon, and hiring expo that spans 5 days and attracts over 8,000 attendees. To say that it was massive is an understatement.

In my time at QRL I have only been to one conference that matched the intensity and scale of DeveloperWeek — Consensus 2018. However, while Consensus was massive, it was still an undertaking that was focused on blockchain and cryptocurrency. DeveloperWeek is relatively more broad. In no particular order, DeveloperWeek 2019 had tracks focused on VR/AR, popular coding languages, next generation coding languages, future of development tools, new database technologies, blockchain, AI, APIs, and JavaScript, among others. As compared to the niche of blockchain/cryptocurrency, DeveloperWeek covers quite a wide scope of topics.

A New Standard

DeveloperWeek was not only one of the largest conferences I have had the opportunity to attend in my role at QRL — it was easily the most professional and pleasant set up I have interacted with as a speaker. Once on stage, it is all up to the presenter, but there is much that can help put someone in a position to succeed before they step on stage. Things like regular communication in the weeks/months before the event, clearly marking all locations at the event, having dedicated A/V managers for each stage, standardized presentation format to reduce visual irregularities, presentation rooms with good/neutral acoustics, and last (but certainly not least) — keeping everything on schedule so that people know where they need to be, when they need to be. I am happy to report that in all of these areas DeveloperWeek excelled.

In the 10 or so presentations I have given on behalf of QRL, I have seen a wide variety of setup and execution. DeveloperWeek is now the conference that I can hold up as the gold standard of front and back-end logistics. Given that it was also the longest presentation I have given, for one of the larger audiences, it made the experience that much more pleasant that it was handled so professionally.

The Presentation

My presentation at DeveloperWeek 2019 was titled, “Quantum Computing and the Blockchain/Cryptocurrency Community.” I was given 50 minutes to present (35–45 minute presentation + 5–15 minute Q&A), which was more than we are usually given (most conferences we have 20–30 minutes total). While anyone would appreciate extra time to explain things, given what a complex topic quantum computing is, especially at DeveloperWeek, the extra time was valued. That is because I had the opportunity to present to what was probably the most technically literate audience I’ve had access to. This was not only evidenced in the rapt attention and looks of comprehension I saw on the faces on various audience members, but in the quality of questions I received, both during the Q&A section, as well as after my talk had concluded.

One such question that I want to highlight here came from a gentlemen who inquired about the open-source nature of QRL (that is to say, whether or not we were open-source). He wanted to make sure that if we were developing solutions, that people would be able to access them, and potentially learn from them. As a reminder, QRL is and will continue to be under the MIT Open Source License. Blockchain would not be here today if it was not for the open source development community, and QRL remains steadfast in its commitment to giving back to that community, as well as helping to propagate it through the use of the MIT License and thorough documentation.

In addition, James was able to capture a video of my presentation that we plan on editing (potentially into smaller, bite-sized videos), and putting up on our YouTube page (which will be linked to Medium and elsewhere). Stay tuned!

Final Thoughts

In terms of conferences, 2019 has certainly started off on a high note. While our 2019 schedule is still taking shape, it is unlikely, for a number of reasons, that we will match the sheer intensity of the conference schedule we had in 2018. We want to make fewer appearances and have a greater impact.

While we did not end up having a formal supporter meetup due to logistic issues, informally I ran into some people who either were aware of, or had directly used the QRL network. I do not think I will ever tire of those experiences.


25th February 2019

Adam Koltun


Adam Koltun