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← Keynote: One Hacker Way - Erik Meijer

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Showing Revision 10 created 11/23/2015 by Brice B.

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    [piano music]

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    What Ano didn't want to say
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    is that programming languages are my
    substitute girlfriend. [laughter]
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    It's easier to get a relationship with a
    programming language than a, you know
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    But you have to take her kind of dating
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    Alright! Since I'm going to maybe insult
    some people, you know, maybe I step on
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    some toes, I just want to say kind of, you
    know, this is just my personal opinion
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    Also, I want you to think about this and
    then make your own decisions.
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    All I want to do is make you think,
    and ultimately you decide for yourself.
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    Alright! Of course, you expect a talk
    where I'm going to go and scream and
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    curse and talk about how HR and Scrum
    are cancer that needs to be eliminated
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    from this industry, right? That's what you
    all signed up for, you all kind of have
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    your beers, your snacks ready. Um,
    I have to say this talk is not going to be
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    like that. And what I want to do is I want
    to take you back to a little bit of some
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    recent history. And in 2013 I left
    Microsoft. This was when Vollmer was
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    kind of in charge; now he's doing some
    basketball team.
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    Think that's way better for him.
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    But, you know, I left Microsoft with the
    goal to make the world asynchronous
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    and reactive. So I founded this small
    company, Applied Duality, that was trying
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    to do that. And then, in June, one of the
    first customers I had was Facebook where
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    I worked with them on a language called
    Hack. Hack is a version of PHP that looks
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    like a version of PHP that looks like
    PHP but under the covers it's really OCaml
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    Facebook is all written in Hack but really
    it's written in OCaml with Hack syntax,
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    with PHP syntax.
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    So funtional programming-- if you're not doing functional programming yet, you're already behind.
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    So who here is not doing functional programming? OK, you can go home now [laughter]
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    and maybe do a startup course but in a few years it will be obsolete. [laughter]
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    And then slightly later that year I started to work with Netflix on RxJava
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    and I guess there is this thing has been a runaway success I think a lot of people are using it that has gone beyond my wildest dreams.
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    Let's look at 2013-- eh 2014. At Microsoft I did programming languages as a hobby
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    but it turned out with my startup that it became a way to make money.
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    So in April 2014 I worked with Google on Dart

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    and there I helped Dart to get also support for asynchronous programming ASynch 08
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    And Dart already had support for streams and now we put our API in API for streams
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    and now we put that in the language as well.
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    So Dart is one of the few languages that has gone up complete support for synchronous, iterators, ASynch 08
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    and streams all build in the language.
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    If you haven't looked at Dart yet, I would really say: give it a try just like you should give Hack a try.
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    And then in September 2014, I gave the Hackile Talk that you are all expecting to see, but that you don't get.
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    But that talk was my interpretation of what I saw in Silicon Valley.
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    I moved from the Pacific Northwest to Silicon Valley and
    I worked with a lot of the internet companies there.
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    And I was really impressed by the way they
    developed software.
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    I was really impressed by the way that they look at software, and that's what I wrote down.
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    And I will talk a lot more about this in the rest of the talk.
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    And then in October last year, I did the FP101x mooc,
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    where I tried to teach the world about functional programming.
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    The mooc starts again October 15, the second edition.
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    So don't despair if you put up your hand, not doing functional programming, because there's your chance
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    to learn functional programming.
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    Alright. And then disaster struck. On Christmas Eve 2014, my leg was swollen.
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    My left leg was swollen, and when I put on my PJ's.
    So I told my wife, I don't trust this, my leg is all swollen.
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    So we went to the Stanford Emergency Room.
    And of course, you know, it's Christmas Eve,
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    so you wait for a few hours. And then, the doctors talked to me and said, 'okay, it's okay.
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    Probably you ate curry or some salt food, you can go home.'
    So I went home, and I went to bed.
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    It was like around 4AM in the morning.
    And then at 6AM, I got a phone call.
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    And I still have that phone call right here on my saved messages, in my voicemail box.
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    And the doctor said, 'Sir, when we did your blood test,
    the white blood cell counts were a little bit
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    out of wack.' And then I asked him, you know, 'what does that mean?' And he was like, 'uh uh,
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    well, sir, if you want to have Christmas with your family then it's okay, you can come in tomorrow.'
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    So, I did a quick Google search: "high white blood cell counts." And that's not good, I can tell you.
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    It's not good. Okay? So what I did, we took the car,
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    went back to Stanford. And at 8AM, I was in the Oncology section, and I was diagnosed with
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    this thing called CML - chronic myeloidic leukemia.
    It sounds crazy, but actually if you want to have
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    form of cancer, this is what you want to pick.
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    This is really what you want to pick. So what happens - this is the CliffsNotes version - what happens is that
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    all of our DNA constantly gets damaged, and your body tries to repair it. And sometimes that repair can go wrong.
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    And in this case, two parts of a chromosome kind of switch. So they get glued back together in the wrong place.
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    And again, this is CliffsNotes, I'm not a medical person. So if there's somebody here with medical background,
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    they will probably laugh, but you know, just trying to explain this in computer science terms. [laughter]
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    So what happens, it's like fuzzing. Fuzzing of your DNA.
    And what happens, you know DNA makes proteins,
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    and now that this program is wrong - so they've just switched two statements around - it creates a protein that your body
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    doesn't recognize. And that kind of fucks everything up.
    Well, the nice thing about science is that they came up with
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    a medication that binds to this particular protein. It's like an exception handler, it catches the exception and that's it.
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    So everyday, I take this pill. If I would have to pay it without insurance, I would be broke.
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    So my life- I can now count how expensive my life is. It's like a few hundred dollars a day for this pill.
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    But I'm happy that it exists.
    So as I said, that was that.
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    But if that was the only story, life would be good, right?
    It's just, 'okay, you know, my DNA got messed up,
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    I pop a pill every day, life goes on.' But of course,
    being Erik Meijer, things are never simple in my life.
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    And instead, a couple of things went wrong. So this was me around New Year's Eve. I was close to dying.
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    Because what happened is that I got some internal bleedings,
    and one of the effects of leukemia is that your spleen-
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    this is the thing when you're running, you know, you feel pain in your left side? That's your spleen.
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    Your spleen gets enlarged. And when your spleen gets enlarged, it takes up all the space in your abdominal section,
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    and so I got some bleedings, for whatever reason. And since there was less space, the blood could not go anywhere,
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    so my kidneys were kind of pushed out- I don't know, like 50 centimeters from where they were supposed to be.
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    So I got a- I don't know what the doctors called it-
    acute kidney injury. And then they have to open me up.
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    If you're curious, I can show you. I have like a big, you know, kind of... wound here. Everything that's soft in the belly,
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    they opened up to go in there. I spent five days in intensive care, I was nearly dead. If I had wanted, I could have just
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    floated away, and you know, just given up. But I was fighting because my journey wasn't over. I had to still, you know
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    eliminate SCRUM and AGILE from this world, so how...
    [laughter, applause]
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    How could I die? Alright? But anyway, it was pretty horrible, and I can tell you, one of the things that people-
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    that happens to people when they are in intensive care, is they literally go crazy. There's a medical term for that,
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    and I can understand that. It's a bizarre experience. I don't know if anybody here has ever been in intensive care.
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    They probably know what I'm talking about. Alright, so that was the end of 2014. And not the kind of Christmas vacation
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    I was expecting. But hey, you know, I'm still here.
    So early January, I was released from the hospital.
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    Because of the kidney moving around, all the nerves that kind of traveled to my leg were displaced. And kind of a little bit,
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    you know, out of wack. So I couldn't walk anymore, my whole right leg was, you know, I couldn't move it. So I had to
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    learn to walk again because I had the breathing tube in for a couple of days. I lost my voice, I couldn't even speak,
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    I was like [gasping]. So they went in with a syringe and injected straight through my throat some stuff to make it work.
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    So all kind of fun things, you know. The body is kind of a remarkable machine. So that was fun.
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    And then, of course, when something like that happens you start to think about, 'what is the meaning of life?'
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    'What am I doing on this planet?' Blah blah blah.
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    And it took me literally 6 months to get back to normal. And it was quite a big journey. But as I said, when something
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    like this happens to you, you really start to think, 'what do I want to do with my life?'
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    And then in July, Mark Zuckerberg asked me about Rx, and how that could help solve giving people that are on 2G
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    a better experience- a better Facebook experience. Now, you may have seen the article by Mark Zuckerberg and Bono
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    about giving everybody access to the internet. Well, that kind of appealed to me because what I wanted to do is, you know
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    like after this whole event, can I make my technology do something for real people? Okay? So it's great to kind of
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    talk about Rx and programming languages for other geeks, but what I wanted to do was really use what I do
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    for normal people. For the world, to do good for the world. That's what I came up with after I reflected about life.
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    And when Mark Zuckerberg asked me that, I said, 'Well, that sounds really good. That sounds like a nice combination
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    of my technical stuff and a real opportunity to help people in the real world.' You have seen what happened now with
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    the refugees here in Europe. They use Facebook to find their way. It's kind of amazing how this really effects
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    normal people and improves their lives. And this is something I think fits right in with the new Erik.
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    So, just a few weeks ago, I joined Facebook.
    And that's what I'm going to do now.
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    So my startup adventure was short but sweet, but thanks
    to this big life-changing event, I think I can spend my
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    few years that I might have on this planet to really help
    the big population of this earth.
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    By the way, if there's questions at the end, I have
    a whole bunch of t-shirts here for people that ask questions.
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    They will get a nice Facebook t-shirt. You see here?
    Isn't that beautiful? [laughter]