Track: Culture As Differentiator


Day of week:

Stories of companies and team for whom engineering culture is a differentiator - in delivering faster, in attracting better talent, and in making their businesses more successful.

Track Host:
Dave Zwieback
Head of Engineering Pandora’s @NextBigSound & Partner at Mindweather LLC
Dave Zwieback has been working with complex, mission-critical I.T. services and teams for two decades. He is Head of Engineering at Pandora’s Next Big Sound team, and Partner at Mindweather LLC. His career spans small high-tech startups, non-profits, and behemoth engineering, financial services, and pharmaceutical firms. Dave is the author of “Beyond Blame: Learning From Failure and Success” ( To learn more about Dave, visit or follow @mindweather.
10:35am - 11:25am

by Richard Kasperowski
Author of The Core Protocols: A Guide to Greatness

Open Space
11:50am - 12:40pm

by Sonali Sridhar
Cofounder of the Recurse Center

In this presentation, I’ll focus on some of the ways the Recurse Center has approached building a learning organization from first principles. We've designed our environment with one thing above all else in mind: How to make the best place for people to grow as programmers. Almost everything we do can be traced back to this goal. I’ll start by presenting our pedagogy, the birth of our social rules, and then dig deeper into their impact on both an individual contributor level as well as a...

1:40pm - 2:30pm

by John Willis
Director of Ecosystem Development @Docker

There has been a lot of research on the impact of human capital as it applies to organizational performance. Lean management certainly touches on a lot of aspects of human behavior. Resilience engineering has some focus areas related to cognitive bias and certainly the study of Learning Organizations includes a lot human behavior characteristics. In this presentation we are going to look at the vast knowledge of psychological research that could be applied to...

2:55pm - 3:45pm

by Swati Vauthrin
Director of Engineering @BuzzFeed

Diversity in the workplace has long been a topic of discussion at Tech companies across the board. Beyond the moral and ethical justifications, we at BuzzFeed feel that the diversity within our culture has provided a big competitive advantage and it’s something we don’t shy away from. Our industry, like all industries, should be open to anyone prepared to join it, and our industry, like most industries, has historically been terrible at inclusivity. But it’s a...

4:10pm - 5:00pm

by Sunil Sadasivan
CTO @Buffer

When building a product, it's important to experiment, learn, react, and iterate to achieve success. To build great team chemistry and culture, the same principles apply. At Buffer, alongside product, we started thinking about team chemistry early on. We crafted our own unique culture and learned a lot through our many successful and failed culture experiments over the past five years. Being a globally distributed team and defaulting to transparency (including...

5:25pm - 6:15pm

by Will Ballard
CTO @GersonLehrman

Small teams turning into large teams often do more than change size, they change structure. Growing teams often add rules, managers, meetings, processes, and policies aimed at preventing mistakes rather than capturing the best outcomes.

Join me for a discussion on a set of constraints that differs from everything you have been told, focusing on freedom, responsibility, and what it really takes to get talent.


Monday, 13 June

Tuesday, 14 June

Wednesday, 15 June