Codezillas: The Universal Truths of Building Trust

People & Culture
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Despite our best efforts, many software projects don’t end with champagne and cake. While some blame a bad technology choice, more often than not, the issues boil down to people problems. Traditional computer science education focuses on algorithms and languages while largely ignoring the human aspect of software and the sociology of organizations. Fear not friends, there are patterns and approaches that can help you win trust quickly, create allies, set expectations and effectively communicate during the ups and downs of project life!

Dodging the pitfalls of software implementation can be taxing. How do we navigate the existing social complexity and interpersonal dynamics found in every organization? How do we earn trust, maintain rapport and turn clients into advocates? This talk will explore the challenges of building and maintaining software using examples from within and beyond the software industry to help give you the tools to chart a path to more than just a successful launch but a team that speaks highly of the journey.

Whitney Lee


Whitney is a Staff Developer Advocate at VMware. She traveled the scenic route but is chuffed to have found her way to Kubernetes & cloud technologies. Whitney began her professional career as a fine artist before owning her own photography business for over a decade. After a year-long tour playing in the band Mutual Benefit, Whitney went back to school in 2019 to learn full-stack web development. After graduation, Whitney was employed by IBM as a cloud developer, using none of the skills she had just learned. She developed an insatiable appetite for all things cloud, and a passion for teaching others as she acquired knowledge herself. Whitney has made many cloud-related lightboard videos that together have 300,000+ views. Whitney’s contagious excitement drives her to collaborate and play!

Nate Schutta


Nathaniel T. Schutta is a software architect focused on cloud computing and building usable applications. A proponent of polyglot programming, Nate has written multiple books and appeared in various videos. He is a seasoned speaker, regularly presenting at conferences worldwide, No Fluff Just Stuff symposia, meetups, universities, and user groups. In addition to his day job, Nate is an adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota where he teaches students to embrace (and evaluate) technical change. Driven to rid the world of bad presentations, Nate co-authored the book Presentation Patterns (O’Reilly Media, 2016) with Neal Ford and Matthew McCullough. He also recently published Thinking Architecturally (O’Reilly Media, 2018), available as a free download from VMware.