Looking back at GOTOpia Chicago 2021

We recently returned to our Chicago community with another fantastic conference — all held online. We had three full days of engaging breakout sessions and in-depth Q&As, big picture keynotes, hands-on masterclasses, along with some yoga, meditation, a trivia night, games, networking, and even a scavenger hunt in our virtual world.

A huge thanks to all who joined us. And to those who couldn’t make it, we hope to see you at the next one! Until then, check out some of our favorite moments from the conference below. We’d also love to see you over on Twitter, where we’ll keep you updated on new videos, podcasts, upcoming GOTO Meetups and more! 

Rewatch the first round of GOTOpia Chicago talks

We’ve just released the first batch of GOTOpia Chicago talks on the GOTO Play app, available for both iOS and Android — get the app to stream or download these videos along with hundreds more from past GOTO conferences.

We’ll continue adding all GOTOpia Chicago talks to this selection in the days to come, and we’ll eventually make these available over on our YouTube channel.

Start with:

  • Once upon a time in agile with John Le Drew
  • Adopting an experimental mindset with Mark Rickmeier
  • Using JavaScript to find your dog with Milecia McGregor
  • Is domain-driven design overrated? With Stefan Tilkov
  • Explosive velocity with a modern stack with Tejas Kumar
  • The pony express and how technology moves fast with PJ Hagerty
  • Dungeons, dragons and developers with Matt Brunt
  • Agile is inefficient with Klaus Buck Lassen
  • Svelte – web app development reimagined with Mark Volkmann
  • Leveraging multi-cloud clusters in real-world scenarios with Adrienne Tacke


Keynote highlights

Scale, Flow and Microservices

James Lewis presented the odd finding that the more Amazon grows, the easier it is for them to get bigger. James linked the reason to their decoupled systems with decoupled teams, comparing Amazon’s structure to that of natural scaling laws in mammals.

James Lewis

Agile is Inefficient

Klaus Bucka-Lassen explained the difference between effectiveness and efficiency and how focusing on the latter can lead to bad consequences. Klaus advised attendees to focus on effectiveness, be aware when people primarily talk about efficiency and take small steps in order to achieve better results.

Klaus Bucka-Lassen

Dungeons, Dragons and Developers

Matt Brunt compared software development teams to that of a dungeons and dragons party. Everyone wants to be the all-powerful, all-knowing wizard, but the key to a success is having a balanced team. A party of only wizards is doomed to fail.

Matt Brunt

Favorite quotes

“Before taking a big step forward, maybe you should consider starting with a step back.”
– Mark Rickmeier –

“It’s more important to do the right things than to do things right.”
– Peter Drucker quoted by Klaus Bucka-Lassen –

“The best software is software that is never written.”
– Matt Brunt –

“The most important and productive thing you can do in software development is to stop, go home, do something else for a while, and get a good night’s sleep.”
– Matt Brunt quoting Larry Garfield –

“The web is for everyone, so everyone should be able to use it.”
– Jemima Abu –

Virtual highlights at CodeNode

We once again invited our attendees to explore CodeNode Virtual (based on our real-life venue in London). Since the last event, we added some new features and made chatting with other attendees as easy as enabling your mic.

Attendees unlocked swag, got a virtual beer from the bar, took selfies, found prizes in the scavenger hunts, caught up on our Book Club episodes and lots more…

Their words, not ours!

Here’s what some of our attendees had to say about the whole thing…

Excellent speakers, well-organized, awesome Slack channel, great presentation hosts, welcoming atmosphere, diverse speakers.
Jennifer Lewis, computer science at Sandia National Laboratories

GOTO is where I go to learn about things I didn’t even know I wanted to learn about.
Sean Underwood, senior data scientist at TCDI

Friendly, creative, approachable, grounded expert speakers on highly relevant topics.
Blagica Prendjova, solution designer at Tesco Mobile

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