Three Upcoming Events for Performance Specialists

Three events coming up soon deserve special attention from those of us responsible for aligning performance and business goals. First is the 20th Annual User Conference of the Tcl/Tk programming language in New Orleans this week. Tcl is roughly a peer of Perl and Python; while its popularity never ballooned the way those of other languages did, Tcl originated in the 1990s and 2000s many features that languages from Java to Ruby would eventually adopt. Tcl still plays a crucial role in the embedded operations of such technologic leaders as Cisco, NBC Broadcasting, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, F5 Networks and TiVo.

This particular conference is interesting because the two featured speakers are John Ousterhout, Tcl’s creator, and Karl Lehenbauer, an early contributor to Tcl and more recently Chief Technology Officer of the fascinating FlightAware service. While both moved on from Tcl several years ago, and have attended the Conference sporadically, they’ll be prominent in this edition. Even if you can’t attend in person, make a point of listening to what they have to say; the Tcl Conference has a tradition of recording plenary sessions.

Ousterhout “… will discuss what he did and why and what he’d do different.” That same description applies to Tim O’Reilly‘s appearance in mid-October in New York City, under the title “How I failed“. While O’Reilly is best-known as founder of the company that publishes “funny animal” technical books, he, like Ousterhout and Lehenbauer, was at the center of multiple technical breakthroughs that we now take for granted, including the graphical Web browser, the first commercial Web site and Maker Faires. All three of these speakers have records of serial success that make their analyses of their own careers particularly compelling. While they might seem a bit removed from the usual performance focus of “IT Ops“, all three have demonstrated deep technical chops and have plenty to say on getting computers to solve contemporary performance problems. If you do nothing else this week, make a point of reading O’Reilly’s recent essay under the same title, “How I failed“.

Closer to our usual home of application performance management (APM) as a specialized domain, this week also brings a fee-free webinar entitled “Solving the Performance Puzzle: A Simple APM Methodology“. As with the Tcl and Cultivate2013 Conferences, I have no particular connection to Larry Dragich or APMDigest, and am in no position to guarantee the impact these events will have on you and your career. I can testify, though, that all these speakers have sterling records not just of accomplishment, but of identifying key ideas that influence others. See how many fit in your schedule.