Keynote Q-and-A: Selena Deckelmann

[Blogger's Note: SCALE 10X will be asking the keynoters and some of the speakers to weigh in on their presentations for the expo. This is the Q-and-A for Selena Deckelmann, who will be giving the SCALE 10X keynote on Sunday.]

Q: Could you please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your background?

A: My name is Selena Deckelmann and I'm founder and COO of Prime Radiant. We're working on a product that helps organizations document, share and tweak their processes. I contribute to PostgreSQL, run conferences, and keep chickens. I also give a lot of technical talks.

Q: You're giving a keynote on "Mistakes Were Made." Without tipping your hand on the actual talk, can you give us an idea of what we might expect?

A: I make mistakes all the time. One thing that I have always loved about open source culture is how we tend to think that if we just tried a little harder, or if we knew just a little bit more, we'd totally be able to fix that. "That" being pretty much anything. There's an admirable do-it-yourself ethic, well-deserved mistrust of vendors, and -- I think -- a problem. We could do better. Particularly around communicating and recovering from failure. There are some great thinking about handling mistakes and failure from the business world that people working with open source should import, hack and make our own. So, I'm going to talk about what I've learned over the years, and tell some great stories about failing from my friends.

Q: You mention in your abstract the role non-technical people play evaluating technical change. Again, without tipping your hand, how do the non-techs play a role?

A: When you roll out a new bit of code, or reboot a server, there might be a whole lot of users affected. When you're in that situation, and this may seem totally obvious as you read it, you need to tell them. But, you also need to ask them to consider how this change is going to affect them. I'll just spill the beans and say that I think users need to be part of the planning process for change from the beginning.

Q: Is this your first visit to SCALE? If so, what are your expectations? If not, can you give us your impressions of the event?

A: No!  I've been to SCALE twice before. I love the mix of attendees, and especially the focus on sysadmins and users of open source software.

Q: Is there anything else you'd like to add?

A. Just looking forward to joining you there!