Humans Conf, June 2020

I found Humans Conf on Twitter, and found myself in a position to attend when gestures at the general state of the world moved it online. You can check out the output from the entire open space on the Notion page. It took place for a few hours on a Tuesday night. I discovered the energy it takes to listen and participate attentively in the evening affected my work for the following couple of days. I am only human!

The first session I attended was about making diversity more inclusive, and hosted by Lina Zubyte. Due to the makeup of the participants, the conversation veered towards being a woman in tech. We spoke about incorrect assumptions, how we felt about particular language (especially guys), and how much energy that drains from us all the time. I heard stories from other women that echoed situations from my experience. I recognized how telling a story from a memorably bad day helps others understand and connect. I pondered if there's a way to make people understand, without reliving everyday indignities. My takeaway from the conversation was clear: you get to decide how to spend your energy. There will be people whose minds need changing, but the energy you would expend making that happen wouldn't be worth it. Let those people who challenge the premises of the problem space fall off your radar, and invest in people where you can make a difference.

For the second session, I started off in motivating interactions, hosted Maren Baermann. I truly enjoyed the model she introduced regarding extrinsic vs. intrinsic motivation, and tying those to our basic needs. But when the Zoom gods kicked me out of the free room, I took it as a sign to go search for a less interactive session where I could just listen. I landed in a session relating couples therapy to your team dynamics, hosted by Daria Dorda. The conversation covered some national stereotypes, how people get distracted from the real message, and how to get the necessary distance to engage with a topic. My takeaway here was: if you don't set boundaries, others will for you. Amen.

I'm grateful to Benjamin Reitzammer who hosted the open space, and all the others who made it run smoothly. Seeing just a handful of familiar faces set me at ease. I'd never seen Zoom chat used effectively, but the rush of answers to the closing questions at the end of the evening gave me that warm & fuzzy feeling like I'd actually attended a conference in person. I needed that, so thank you.

I don't think I can bring myself to join the next Humans Conf on Wednesday, 15 July. I've got a week off, and I need some time away from Zoom to be feeling more human. :)