Hi. I'm Lyndsey.
I like to say yes. Yes to positivity. Yes to lifelong learning. Yes to making my own parking spaces.
That's kind of how I roll. I stopped asking for permission years ago. I don't care who gets the credit, and I don't care what others think of me. It's liberating and surprisingly effective! (Unsurprisingly, it does increase the liklihood of parking tickets.) I want to build cool stuff. Not for the sake of building it, but because I want to solve problems. That means building software that helps people. Like people, software should be both useful and delightful.
But yes isn't free. Nothing is. In order to harness the power of "yes", I need a few things. First and foremost, I need coffee. I need balance and health. I need a mission I believe in. I need supportive, action-oriented people who want to explore possibilities as much as I do.
Then, I'm going to need another cup of coffee.
Yes to Programming.
I'm the Founder of Longplay Software in Kansas City. Longplay offers a variety of services, but what makes it different is how we approach software - and how we treat people.
I say that the difference between a decent software engineer and a great one often has little to do with code, and people ask me what I mean by that. I explain that the willingness to contribute, learn, cooperate, mentor, and grow are generally more important than writing "clever" code. To quote Maya Angelo, "People will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." And to quote Wil Wheaton, "Don't be a dick."
Yes to Volunteering.
My interest in computers began at age 13. I performed well on a standardized math test and received an invitation from the Boy Scouts Heart of America Council to join Cerner's explorer post program, where I was introduced to HTML, graphic design, networking, gaming, and more.
It didn't occur to me until many years later that I was actually the only girl in that program. (You'd think the "Boy Scouts" part would've tipped me off.) Or that I was one of few girls in my college math and programming courses. Or that I was one of even fewer girls who graduated with a CompSci degree, and fewer still who went on to work in this field. I blame my tomboyish childhood, complete with Super Mario Brothers and X-men, that I barely noticed (much less cared) about the gender disparity.
By now I am quite aware. The good news is: most companies have a strong desire to increase diversity, especially within their development teams. The bad news is: the women simply aren't there. I want to help kids, girls, and women get "into the pipeline" by helping them break through cultural norms to explore careers in math and science.
I'm currently the Presentation Director for Kansas City Women in Technology's Coding & Cocktails program. I've been featured in articles by Startland News and KC STEM Alliance. I've participated in countless panels, career days, and mentorship programs, including these, listed below.
- SWE-KC's Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day
- MINK Women in Computing conference
- Django Girls Kansas City workshop
Education is a powerful tool. It liberates women from dependence. Unlike beauty or possessions, it can never be taken away. In actions more than words, my grandmother taught my mother this. My mother taught me. I teach my daughters. They'll teach their daughters.
But there are girls everywhere that grow up without this insight. By pushing the boundaries of what women can do, and sharing that with girls and young women today, we can empower the next generation for tomorrow.
Yes to Public Speaking.
I began giving "lunch and learn" style talks within my company's R&D department in 2011. I never thought that I had a fear of public speaking per se, but standing up in front of my colleagues nonetheless caused me to break out in hives, sweat profusely, and develop what I refer to as "shakey voice". I knew I needed to become comfortable with being uncomfortable, so I looked for more opportunities to thrust myself into public speaking.
Words cannot express the gratitude I have for the companies and people who have supported me in this endeavor. I've come a long way due to my continued exposure at development conferences, many of which are listed below. I jot down thoughts, quotes and notes throughout the year as I read books and watch others speak. I use those tidbits to develop new abstracts annually. While I love reconnecting with my peers at familiar conferences, I'm always looking for ways to speak in new places and meet new people along the way.
- COMING UP: Tough Love
- KEYNOTE CodeCrush 2017, Omaha
- Calibrating Your F*ckometer
- From Monolith to Microservices with NodeJS
- Push it (Push it Real Good): git concepts
- Badass 101
- Presenting for Programmers
- REST for an Hour
- Eclipse Tips & Tricks
In addition to speaking at conferences, I've also been interviewed on podcasts such as Developer on Fire, Luckygirl, and Code & Cast. Those are really enjoyable because I can sit down, and even wear sweatpants if I want to.
Yes to Writing.
After working with git and REST for many years, I was working on a project where the two came together in almost perfect harmony. The problem was that we needed to lay out a git branching strategy in anticipation of maintaining multiple versions of the RESTful API at the same time. Most people were familiar with GitFlow and wanted to use it, but it didn't quite suit our needs.
So I wrote an article, laying out a new protocol for this kind of situation, and called it SemFlow. If nothing else, I hope that it reinforces the idea that commonplace git nomenclature is easily adaptable and by no means mandatory.
Another article I'm particularly proud of is called "Someday is a Lie", written for Keyhole Software's fantastic development blog during my time there. The article was cross-posted on Code Project and Java Code Geeks, which is likely due to the marketing talents of Lauren Fournier, or internet spider bots. Either way, it made my heart happy.
My latest article is a guest post on Stackify's blog called The Do's and Don'ts of Java Strings. I've also contributed to the NDC Conferences blog with an article called Proactively Preventing Git Pickles, which has some useful tips to avoid painting yourself into a corner with git.
I'm mom to two smart and good-hearted little girls, ages 4 and 9. When we aren't plastering Chipotle tortillas on our faces, we like to go outside, to the library, and to those paint-your-own-pottery places. I work diligently to maximize my time with them, which includes embracing the Simplicity Parenting philosophy. In short: minimal screens, maximum hugs.
I'm happy to say that I've reached a point in life where I can afford (in time and money) to explore the world. Not all at once, of course, but little by little. This phase was jump-started by an amazing backpacking trip through Europe in Spring 2016, where I snapped this charming photo of a couple in front of the Eiffel Tower. Ten seconds later, a gypsy tried to sell them a selfie stick.
Software can sometimes feel intangible, so I enjoy making things with my hands. I've tried scrapbooking and knitting, but ain't nobody got time for that. Sewing is something I've stuck with. I make simple pillows, curtains, and toys. My specialty is little dolls that look like people I know. Upon receiving one of these gifts, people are generally 85% flattered and 15% creeped out.
I'm not very good at running or lifting, but that doesn't stop me from trying. I try to keep my body healthy, and learn about fitness & nutrition. Sometimes I fall off the wagon (because bacon), but then I get back on. Now I have a trainer, and she is a badass. I like spending time with badass women, so that works out pretty well.
Beneath my pasty, uncoordinated exterior lies the soul of a soul sista. I love funk, hip-hop, rap, jazz, blues, doo-wop, boogie & disco. I'm a big fan of WeFunk Radio in Montreal. I'm not an audiophile, but I haphazardly collect vinyl records. It seems like the most appropriate (and fun!) way to enjoy these kinds of jams.
This is my cat, Phil. He is named after a particularly unpleasant calculus professor I had in college. Like the professor, Phil is an old man. He naps a lot. (But then again, I would too if I were a cat. How great would that be?!) Unlike the professor, he likes to snuggle. And it's also worth noting that he is not very good at math.
- People who are condescending, rude, lazy, ungrateful, or perpetually angry
- Writing SOAP web services - because God knows the world doesn't need more of those
- Sensationalized 24-hour news
- Hyper competition or team sports of any kind, especially ones involving a ball
- Reality TV
- .NET - Microsoft, you're awesome, .NET is great, I just don't think we're right for each other, right now...Let's still be friends, ok?
- Rails - Ruby is a beautiful language, but Rails is too bossy. I'm the human, I get to decide where things go and what they're called, thankyouverymuch
- Half & half - it makes my tummy hurt
- Gantt charts - also make my tummy hurt
- Insufficient or invaluable automated testing
- Anything that implicitly makes me say "no" to the people and causes I care about