Unfortunately, I will not be able to speak at or attend LambdaConf 2017. If you were looking forward to hearing my talks, I will try to give them at other conferences, local meetups, and perhaps an online webinar. Please sign up for my newsletter to find out when that might be. If you were looking forward to talking with me, feel free to email me. If you were looking for the interviews I did with the speakers, you can contact them directly. I have removed them from my site.
As you probably know, LambdaConf was the center of a controversy regarding one of the speakers last year (2016). I spoke out about their decision. In short, I disagreed with their policy to include racist speakers. It made me doubt I could support them personally or with my business. For what it’s worth, I didn’t think the organizers were racist. But their policies condoned racism by giving it equal footing to other beliefs.
When the CFP for 2017 came out, I had mixed feelings about giving a talk. The talks might have helped people. And the conference was doing so many things right: diversity scholarships, daycare, and outreach to underrepresented speakers. I applied for a talk and was accepted. It was a tough decision for me. Running a conference is never straightforward. I didn’t envy the organizers for the difficult problems they faced. All in all, I believed that on balance, the conference was a good thing, though the doubts remained.
I also started hosting interviews of as many speakers as I could get in touch with. My assistant asked questions to the speakers to help attendees prepare for the conference so they could maximize their investment in attending and I published them on my site. The interviews also gave the speaker a little bit of exposure.
After accepting the talk I still had my moral doubts. I thought the doubts would go away as the conference came nearer. But they have only gotten stronger. And unfortunately I was sending an unclear message by speaking and doing these interviews. So let me be clear now.
It was a mistake for me to apply to speak. I no longer feel that I should support the conference in any way. I have too many friends who have been alienated and discriminated against to feel good about the decisions LambdaConf has made. I regret wasting the organizers’ and the speakers’ time. I hope everyone speaking and attending has a wonderful experience, that they learn about great things, and that they make fruitful relationships.
Sincerest apologies to all involved,