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Ask HN: What is your favourite tech talk?
701 points by ratpik on April 14, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 147 comments
Could be related to software engineering or any other field that is enabled via technology.

Do include a link to the talk if it is available online.

We Really Don't Know How to Compute: Gerry Sussman - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3tVctB_VSU

Zebras All the Way Down: Bryan Cantrill - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fE2KDzZaxvE

Jonathan Blow on Deep Work: Jonathan Blow - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Ej_3NKA3pk

Simple Made Easy: Rich Hickey - https://www.infoq.com/presentations/Simple-Made-Easy

Effective Programs - 10 Years of Clojure: Rich Hickey - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2V1FtfBDsLU&t=845s

The Last Thing D Needs: Scott Meyers - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KAWA1DuvCnQ

Rich Hickey is great. I remember his Simplicity Matters keynote at Rails Conf 2012. So clear and insightful.

Being able to explain a complex topic to diverse audiences is not easy to do. Rich does it very well.

Thanks. Forgot about that.

The first time I watched Simple Made Easy, I didn't like it, even though I'd written quite a few situated programs in my day. A year later, I'd learned Clojure and re-watched it, and it all made so much sense. It's now one of my favorite tech talks.

(via Deep Work)

How to Depth Jam: http://chrishecker.com/The_Depth_Jam

I hope I found We Really Don't Know How to Compute: Gerry Sussman talk with better resolution and camera on the board

Gerry Sussman talk is awesome and reflects very well the currently state of computer programming. It's a shame. The worse part: there is people around us with a lot of pride ABOUT DON'T KNOWING TO COMPUTE BUT STILL DOING [INNEFICIENT] THINGS. (sorry for the caps, good bye)

Turning The Database Inside Out: Martin Kleppmann - https://www.confluent.io/blog/turning-the-database-inside-ou... in both video and blog form. Describes how to think about any software stack as layers of derived caches on top of immutable event logs, effectively proposing a solution to the first of https://martinfowler.com/bliki/TwoHardThings.html . It's certainly changed the way I approach software architecture.

Honorable mention: https://www.destroyallsoftware.com/talks/wat

The Birth & Death of JavaScript https://www.destroyallsoftware.com/talks/the-birth-and-death...

A talk from the 'future' about how everything became 'YavaScript'.

This talk is awesome. It's funny but I learned a lot. And the prediction of the talk is happening! [1]

[1]: https://github.com/nebulet/nebulet

let's hope the exclusion zone doesn't happen, k?

You need to talk about this to Kim and Donald then.

Prof. Harold Thrimbleby, “Designing IT to Make Healthcare Safer” (2014): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_XJbwN6EZ4I

It might not sound like much from the title, but it's really worth a watch. Thrimbleby talks about UX (captivatingly, even though I'm not usually particularly interested in it) and the many, many bad examples within healthcare tech that leads, directly, to people dying—such as his mother. He also has some really interesting points about tires at one point. I'm not sure if I'm selling it.

These two are also really good: Steve Rambam, “You've Lost Privacy, Now They're Taking Anonymity” (2014): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dNZrq2iK87k Lepht Anonym, “Cybernetics for the Masses” (2010): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APOAmxFEMkQ

And this one always makes me chuckle: Bryan Lunduke, “Linux is Freaking Weird” (2016): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPbAXKMCDkY

Cybernetics for the Masses is great, and Lepht has some really interesting ideas. It's too bad they seem to have dropped off the grid. Does anybody know what happened?

They blog (intermittently) at Sapiens Anonym.[1] They went dark for a bit due to what I gather were various medical, educational and relationship issues, but things have been picking up again lately.[2]



That first one is very interesting. Thanks!

http://worrydream.com/dbx/ (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pTEmbeENF4)

Bret Victor - The Future of Programming (imagined from perspective of 1970's)

This talk is obscenely underrated. There is not nearly as much tech-focused performance art in our industry.

Underrated by who? (“Whom”?) It always shows up in these lists, and rightly so.

Growing a Language, by Guy Steele:


Amazing talk, here's another great one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ahvzDzKdB0

Very glad someone posted this.

These three had a big impact on me:

Geoff Hinton, The Next Generation of Neural Networks (2007): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AyzOUbkUf3M

While the exact approach described there didn't end up being necessary (restricted Boltzmann machines), all the summaries of the competition results made me realize machine image and voice recognition was going to accelerate massively and rival humans in many areas in the very near term.


Cracking the neural code: Speaking the language of the brain with optics (2009): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SLdSbp6VjM

This one made me realize how gene manipulation would be a near term thing and how big of an impact it would have. They used mostly old techniques but all the in situ modifications of cells in mammals were something I hadn't been aware were possible to that degree. One of the guys from his lab, Feng Zhang, went on to be one of the major forces behind CRISPR.


Breakthrough in Nuclear Fusion? - Prof. Dennis Whyte (2016): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KkpqA8yG9T4

New design for a tokamak fusion reactor, made much cheaper by new super conductors that use liquid nitrogen instead of helium/etc. and which have more structural strength by being bound into a metallic ribbon. This one made me really optimistic (it hasn't been borne out like the others yet, but they recently raised $50 million).

I wasn't going to bother commenting on this topic, but when I read the title I instantly thought of

Geoff Hinton, The Next Generation of Neural Networks (2007): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AyzOUbkUf3M

I watched that talk probably 10 times after it first came out and wrote some visual basic stuff to try and replicate his results.

The Mother of All Demos, presented by Douglas Engelbart (1968)


Rich Hickey - "simple made easy" https://youtu.be/rI8tNMsozo0

Rob Pike - "concurrency is not parallelism" https://youtu.be/cN_DpYBzKso

Uncle Bob Martin - "future of programming" https://youtu.be/ecIWPzGEbFc

Martin Kleppmann - "transactions: myths, surprises and opportunities" https://youtu.be/5ZjhNTM8XU8

Simon Brown - "software architecture vs code" https://youtu.be/GAFZcYlO5S0

That transaction talk is really good, thank you. I can now finally name the effect that I had noticed but had trouble explaining and referring to, write skews.

It's interesting that he doesn't mention phantom reads as the difference between repeatable read/snapshot isolation, and serializable, which is what other sources tend to do.

Snapshot isolation always seemed to me like cheating the intended meaning of repeatable read, insofar as some databases refer to their snapshot isolation level as repeatable read.

That is, in the strictest sense, if you read a row twice, you get the same value with snapshot isolation, but you don't actually know that the value will be the same when you commit, which as I understand is a case of a write skew.

In fact, if one thinks of the definition of these levels in terms of locking semantics, one would expect a repeatable read to have the same meaning as obtaining a read lock on the row you read, which I understand would prevent at least some types of write skew, since no modification would be possible on that row, because it would need a write lock. There could still be hazards related to phantom reads (and possibly other effects), such as making a decision based on a computed aggregate that can change if new rows are inserted. Still, this meaning of repeatable reads would already provide a useful isolation level for various cases, except that it doesn't work with snapshot isolation.

I have a suspicion that applications out there made incorrect assumptions as to the actual isolation provided by the DB they use.

The most inspiring talk a I have ever seen:

Clasp: Common Lisp using LLVM and C++ for Molecular Metaprogramming.


This talk describes our unique approach to constructing large, atomically precise molecules (called "Molecular Lego" or "spiroligomers") that could act as new therapeutics, new catalysts (molecules that make new chemical reactions happen faster) and ultimately to construct atomically precise molecular devices. Then I describe Clasp and CANDO, a new implementation of the powerful language Common Lisp. Clasp is a Common Lisp compiler that uses LLVM to generate fast machine code and it interoperates with C++. CANDO is a molecular design tool that uses Clasp as its programming language. Together I believe that these are the hardware (molecules) and the software (the CANDO/Clasp compiler) that will enable the development of sophisticated molecular nanotechnology.


Meta-comment regarding the videos posted on this thread:

It’s concerning to me that 90%+ of these videos are hosted by a single entity. The significance to me (and I assume many others here) is a cultural one. These videos relflect on our livelihoods and our day-to-day interests and pursuits.

My advice is to not get complacent about always having access to this content. Use youtube-dl and keep a local backup of what’s important to you.

I'm pretty sure you can also backup stuff to the Internet Archive.

I'm not sure why you're singling out YouTube here. YouTube is the main go to place for videos on the web, so it shouldn't be surprising that most of the videos posted here are hosted by YouTube.

Concerning, maybe, but the same could be said of a lot of other centralized mediums (such as Medium, WordPress, even HN threads itself).

When you rely on someone else to host your stuff, you always run the risk of it disappearing. Important stuff should always be backed up, whether it's video stored on YouTube or an amazing blog post on medium.

If YouTube disappeared tomorrow and all these videos disappeared, I'm sure within a week or month, people will have reuploaded many of the really great talks posted in this thread on some other site.

Linus Torvalds' talk on Git: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XpnKHJAok8

A really fun and quick one is wat


This one is great, gives a lot of little gotchas for Ruby and Javascript in a humorous format.

"Fork Yeah! The Rise and Development of illumos" by Bryan Cantrill


He starts with a nice history of SunOS and Solaris, goes into open source, then midway through (33:00) he goes into a brutally honest rant against Oracle. Even better is that Oracle was one of the sponsors of the conference.

I cut my unix teeth in the early '90s, on SunOS, and Cantrill really keeps the history relevant.

But truly, his Oracle rant was one for the ages. And this from me where our system RDBMS is Oracle, sigh.

Great talk by bcantrill.

Don't put your hand in the lawn mower.

Just watched this talk - what an emotional ride!

I've made a playlist of all the youtube videos on this page.

Find it here:


Stop writing classes is one of my favorites. Also many pycon talks are great, or any talks by Brandon Rhodes.


Inventing On Principle - Bret Victor


So glad someone posted this. Basically everything Bret Victor does is gold. His website [1] has a bunch of great things he's written/done; two of my favorites are The Ladder of Abstraction [2] and Learnable Programming [3].

[1] http://worrydream.com/

[2] http://worrydream.com/#!2/LadderOfAbstraction

[3] http://worrydream.com/#!/LearnableProgramming

Came here for this. My favorite talk of all time. Easily had the most impact on my career.

#Softwarish - I'm biased a bit more towards interface development:

greg wilson - What We Actually Know About Software Development, and Why We Believe It’s True - https://vimeo.com/9270320#t=3450s

steve wittens - making webgl dance - the title is deceptive, it's in some ways a visual crash course in linear algebra - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GNO_CYUjMK8&t=84s

glenn vanderburg - software engineering doesn't work - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NCns726nBhQ

chris granger - in search of tomorrow - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZQoAKJPbh8

alan kay - tribute to ted nelson at intertwingled fest - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnrlSqtpOkw

bret victor - this is already mentioned but if I had to pick one it'd be 'the humane representation of thought' - https://vimeo.com/115154289


saul griffith - soft, not solid: beyond traditional hardware engineering - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gyMowPAJwqo

deb chachra - Architectural Biology and Biological Architectures - https://vimeo.com/232544872

#Getting more meta in technology and history:

James Burke - Connections

Richard Hamming, "You and Your Research" (June 6, 1995): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1zDuOPkMSw

Randy Pausch - The Last Lecture https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ji5_MqicxSo

Not necessarily tech. More like great life advice.

I find Runar Bjarnason's talks to be interesting; one of my favourites is 'Constraints Liberate, Liberties Constrain':


The essence of it is that constraints actually allow for easier composition and more modularity. It had a real impact on the way I think about the design of systems.

Philip Wadler's 'Propositions as Types': https://youtu.be/IOiZatlZtGU

Bonus: that was the talk that introduced Lambdaman to the world.

"Making Impossible States Impossible" by Richard Feldman


Finally made an account to post in this thread.

I'm rather early in my career doing mostly Ruby, Python and JavaScript things. As you might expect, I consume mainly Ruby, Python and JavaScript related talks.

The first two talks that really blew my mind are:

- K Lars Lohn's PyCon Keynote from 2016: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bSfe5M_zG2s

- Jim Weirich's (RIP) "Y Not" talk from RubyConf 2012: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FITJMJjASUs

There are many other presenters who I have a good opinion of:

- Raymond Hettinger: his presentation/teaching style is something I'd like to model my own after, also he gave the first talk on writing proper threaded/concurrent python that I was able to understand and make use of.

- Brandon Rhoades: another speaker with a presentation style that I've found easy to follow, also he takes a little shot at the dd utility about 18 minutes into https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9Hmys8ojno)

- Sandi Metz: I started out in Python land and moved to Ruby land, where I was introduced to Sandi's talks. She doesn't talk about incredibly complex topics, but she's got insight into some really basic things that's helpful to new people who can't see the forest through the trees.

- Robert Martin: I gather that his OO principles are not universally revered, but I find his talks useful.

- Gary Bernhardt: his talks are interesting and entertaining in ways that most are not

The list goes on, but I can't think of them all right now.

Alan Kay - Is it really "Complex"? Or did we just make it "Complicated"? - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubaX1Smg6pY

Anything by Kay really.

Bryan Cantrill's USENIX talk - Fork Yeah! The Rise and Development of illumos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-zRN7XLCRhc

He gives a history of SunOS, Solaris, and OpenSolaris up to the Oracle acquisition, and then onto post acquisition and the creation of illumos. It's a brilliant talk and a must-watch for any Unix enthusiast or historian. Bryan is an incredibly engaging speaker.

If you have an interest in the history of programming methodologies, this talk is fascinating:

Procedural programming: it's back? It never went away


Boundaries is a really good one: https://www.destroyallsoftware.com/talks/boundaries

Van Jacobson, "A New Way to look at Networking" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Z685OF-PS8

Watching this now. It's great. Thanks! Not only are there some nice restatements of powerful high-level insights in to network effects in general (which I am considering with respect to physical logistics requirements in our current business), but some great historical tidbits too.

The resounding rejection of packet switching by period communications experts at https://youtu.be/8Z685OF-PS8?t=21m0s is awesome. Oh how the mighty have fallen!

A great talk, thanks!

This is a great talk from another networking legend: "Network Protocols: Myths, Missteps, and Mysteries" by Radia Perlman.

I love her personality and sense of humor, and it has tech content that is completely relevant today: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfiMBegejQM

I watched this talk ages ago and throughly enjoyed it. Thank you for reminding me about it.

This is an excellent series of short videos on the physics behind quantum computers. It begins with the molecular structure of carbon materials and gradually works its way up to quantum computers: https://podcasts.ox.ac.uk/series/caging-schrodingers-cat-qua...

Talk on innovating in your field by Rodney Mullens: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3GVO-MfIl1Q

Grew up playing Tony Hawk. His talk really inspired me follow my creativity.

The Mess We're In - Joe Armstrong: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKXe3HUG2l4

i rewatch this one now and then just to hear Joe Armstrong speak of another author's complex compiler code and the singular comment " and now for the tricky bit"

You Suck at Excel with Joel Spolsky - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0nbkaYsR94c

CSS Grid Changes Everything - https://youtu.be/7kVeCqQCxlk

The speaker is good but I think I like it just because it fixes the relationship between HTML and CSS.

Alex Evan's talk on developing the renderer for Dreams:

He's given several versions of this talk (including the Advancements in Real-time Rendering course at Siggraph), but here's one available online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9KNtnCZDMI

My favourite talk group is the Chaos Computer Club Conferences, about security, privacy, and more.


There's some really good DEFCON talks as well.

One of my favourites I watched recently was Dan Abramov introducing React hot loading, Redux and Redux Dev Tools in the same 30 minute talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xsSnOQynTHs

Still my favorite: "Wat A lightning talk by Gary Bernhardt from CodeMash 2012"


This is a humorous talk about javascript

Silver bullet: Hadi Hariri (2015) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3wyd6J3yjcs

Every time people think a technology will solve all their problems (remember guys from NOSQL back in the days?), they need to see this talk. The speaker also did this talk as a keynote a couple of times during other conferences.

Same question from October 2016:


Ask HN: What's your favorite tech talk?

848 points by mngutterman on Oct 4, 2016 | hide | past | web | un-favorite | 255 comments

Simply put, what are your favorite talks or trainings? It could by a one-off lecture about a specific concept or a series of talks about a languag

How we scaled DropBox - Kevin Modzelewski: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PE4gwstWhmc

The initial Node.js presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztspvPYybIY&t=597s

On the lighter side, "wat" is really fun: https://www.destroyallsoftware.com/talks/wat

Anything by Bryan Cantrill, David Beazley or Joe Armstrong

Bryan Cantrill - Leadership Without Management: Scaling Organizations by Scaling Engineers ((but really about Larry Ellison being a lawnmower...) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bGkVM1B5NuI

David Beazley - Discovering Python (Dave is locked in a bunker for months with 1TB+ source code related to a patent law suit) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZ4Sn-Y7AP8

Joe Armstrong - React 2014 : Joe Armstrong - K things I know about building Resilient Reactive Systems ("What is on the wire?" Talks about protocols and other interesting things) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQIE22e0cW8

"Bufferbloat from the plumber's point of view." I haven't found a better explanation of the problem. Because of the way it is explained, the idea to solve it becomes obvious.


Writing Quality Code in Erlang - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQyt9Vlkbis

Garrett has had a huge impact on how I write code, even when I can’t use Erlang. His insights are so useful.

This talk was an interesting thought experiment by PhK of FreeBSD on how if he were tasked by some agency to sabotage open source projects and standards how he would go about doing it https://youtu.be/fwcl17Q0bpk

A talk by Robert Harper at OPLSS in 2017 is really good as well, covering the basics of programming language background https://www.cs.uoregon.edu/research/summerschool/summer17/to... "concrete syntax is where computer science meets psychology.... at the moment it's all a matter of opinion"

Kenneth Stanley: Why Greatness cannot be planned.[1]


Jayson E. Street: Steal Everything, Kill Everyone, Cause Total Financial Ruin! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JsVtHqICeKE

Van Albert and Banks: Looping Surveillance Cameras through Live Editing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RoOqznZUClI

Ken Thompson: Reflections on Trusting Trust https://www.ece.cmu.edu/~ganger/712.fall02/papers/p761-thomp...

And of course, Simple Made Easy, Wat, etc.

Understanding parser combinators: a deep dive - Scott Wlaschin https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RDalzi7mhdY&t=1021s

Neil Harbison: Life in the age of new body parts and extra senses: https://livestream.com/accounts/6779986/events/2928486/video...

Neil is completely colour blind; he sees no colour at all. So he implanted an antenna on his skull that detects the information he choses (like colour) and converts it to vibrations on his skull. So not only can he now perceive colour, he can even perceive more colours than regular humans, since the antenna can be augmented.

Really excited to go through all the other talks listed here I'm not familiar with!

Three talks that I tend to reference a lot and have had a huge impact on the way I think about software:

The Soul of Software: Avdi Grimm - https://youtu.be/IgbHzFb1hGw

The Humane Representation of Thought: Bret Victor - https://youtu.be/agOdP2Bmieg

How to Program Independent Games: Jonathan Blow - https://youtu.be/JjDsP5n2kSM

Has been a long time since I watched either of these

Rusty Russell - Advanced C Coding For Fun! - A series of crazy tricks that is quite enlightening. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BEQ3sRakIs0

Tridge - Linux powered coffee roaster. Tridge (of Samba and rsync fame) walks through the process he used to reverse engineer a USB thermometer live during the talk. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3LQr4At5Z5Q

"Console hacking 2010"[0][1] - The story and history of the different hacks and security bypasses around the Sony PlayStation 3 gaming console. Absolutely brilliant.

[0] https://events.ccc.de/congress/2010/Fahrplan/events/4087.en.... [1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8KNZsNTPlec

Another great console talk: Breaking the 3DS, from 2015.


Indistinguishable from Magic: Manufacturing Modern Computer Chips


This looks good.

Anything by Doug Hofstadter

* Analogies are the core of thinking https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vORB92BU7zk

* Analogy as the Core of Cognition https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n8m7lFQ3njk

If you haven't read Godel, Escher & Bach, go read it now. Will change your thinking.

(Not software related, but highly educational)

How bacteria "talk" - Bonnie Bassler https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KXWurAmtf78

Stefano Mancuso - The roots of plants intelligence TED talks https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2Vck2iPvBs

Worse is better!! — https://youtu.be/X45YY97FmL4

Genius.com CEO gives talk about how the worst possible thing you can think of, is in fact the best thing.

I like this video because I tend to get stuck in my own head, or get carried away on useless features/ideas that don't really contribute to the overall progress of the product.

John Carmack is an absolutely brilliant speaker. Conversational, captivating and effortlessly natural. I could listen to him talk all day about the most arcane bits of graphics development which i'll never understand but am fascinated by regardless.

His QuakeCon talks are particularly good.

QuakeCon 2011 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4zgYG-_ha28

QuakeCon 2012 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wt-iVFxgFWk

I like his talks because he's always interested by what he's doing and it tends to make me interested again in code.

Linus Torvalds is another surprisingly good speaker. His talk on git - one of the dryest possible topics - was very interesting. There's not many other people I'd sit and listen to talk about SCM.


I didn't watch the whole serie yet, but the first two are pretty solid and still fun. The first part doest not cover JS at all, but is rather a brief history of computing.

Crockford on JavaScript - Volume 1: The Early Years https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JxAXlJEmNMg

The White Hat’s Dilemma, by Alex Stamos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eEeHTQHTSgE

Stamos has been in the news recently for quitting as CSO at Facebook. Before that he quit as CSO at Yahoo after the government scanning scandal (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-yahoo-nsa-exclusive/exclu...).

This talk took place before he started at Yahoo. In the latter half he goes over a number of potential moral quandaries and how ethically to respond to them. One matches the later Yahoo incident almost exactly.

The overall point is that it’s important to consider these scenarios beforehand, because it’s easier to do the wrong thing if you have to make decisions on the fly.

115 batshit stupid things you can put on the internet in as fast as I can go (Dan Tentler) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMtu7vV_HmY

Anything by Bryan Cantrill (Joyent, prev Sun) or Arthur Bergman (Fastly, prev Wikia).

DEF CON 22 - Gene Bransfield - Weaponizing Your Pets: The War Kitteh and the Denial of Service Dog


Philip Roberts: What the heck is the event loop anyway? | JSConf EU 2014 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8aGhZQkoFbQ

A lot of great talks already mentioned. Thought I'd add a gem from Mike Acton: Data-Oriented Design and C++


How to make Package Managers cry by Kenneth Hoste. https://youtu.be/NSemlYagjIU

It's funny, but still useful.

PDC 1996 Keynote with Douglas Adams https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UNG3cQoOEc

Wow, that was amazing. I'm off to go build a living model

Public Static Void, Rob Pike: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5kj5ApnhPAE

How my bot net purchased millions in cars and defeated Russian hackers.


Not a proper tech talk, but hearing Ben Chestnut talk about the early days and growth of MailChimp stuck with me.


Bootstrapped to over half a billion dollars in revenue. Worth many multiples of that. Built it Atlanta, not a startup city. B2B, but with a more creative ethos than most VC-backed startups in SF. Just an extraordinary story, well worth the hour it takes to watch.

SixthSense Technology (oldie but goodie): Pranav Mistry - https://www.ted.com/talks/pranav_mistry_the_thrilling_potent...

Inventing on Principle: Bret Victor - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUv66718DII

Cliff Click’s “A Lock-Free Hash Table”, now over ten years old!



I see what you mean: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2Aa4PivG0g


Applying Failure Testing Research @Netflix: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3mHQCkr-4I

both by Peter Alvaro (second also includes Kolton Andrus) are thought-provoking looks at failure modeling in distributed systems.

Past and future of hardware and architecture - David Patterson https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9KRq2Ns0ZE

Programing Should Be More Than Coding - Leslie Lamport https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QsTfL-uXd8

Uniting Church and State: OO and FP Together by Noel Welsh

If you are interested in functional programing this little gem has some great insights into how to translate between data and behavior correctly. Not quite the level of Rich Hickey or Philip Wadler, but very good.


That title is way too clever!

It may not be so "wow" now, but at the time it happened the Photosynth TED talk with Notre Dame blew my mind and has stuck with me https://youtu.be/M-8k8GEGZPM

Remember at the time of this talk things like Google Maps were still very new, and nowhere near this level of performance.

Bret Victor - Inventing on principle


Alan Kay - Power of Simplicity


Steve Jobs - Marketing (unveiling Think Different)


Robert Cialdini - On Influence


Peter Thiel - On Zero to One (Notes on Starts Ups or How to Build the Future)


Naval Ravikant on Reading, Happiness, Systems for Decision Making, Habits, Honesty and More (Farnam Street podcast)


Josh Wolfe - On "This is who you are up against" podcast


Richard Feynman - Fun to Imagine


Paul Graham - Startup school (2008)


James Burke - Connections (BBC documentary)

<No link>

Jim Al-Khalili tells the story of the Atom (BBC)


Elon Musk's 2003 Stanford University Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Lecture


Ken Robinson - Do schools kill creativity?


Paul Stamets on mycology, bioremediation and fungi- Joe Rogan Experience


Fantastic list!

David Beazley: Discovering Python - PyCon 2014 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZ4Sn-Y7AP8

This talk is both inspiring and funny, I got introduced to David Beazley by this talk and although every time I listen to him my barin melts, I enjoy his talks the most.

"Eschew the Extraneous Else" (2 minutes)[0]

One of my favorite talks. Very quick, very to the point. I'm not saying I agree with this in 100% of cases, but in many cases I think it's the right call

[0]: https://youtu.be/JVVMMULwR4s?t=289

The spectrum of abstraction: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mVVNJKv9esE

This is an high level talk. it guides on how to choose between competing solutions to a problem when the commonly accepted answer is "it depends"

This is my all time favourite talk. So much of development complexities are covered in those simple ideas Cheng points out

I was going to mention Growing a Language, but since it's already been posted, here is Alan Kay's "Doing with Images Makes Symbols": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p2LZLYcu_JY.

Worst programming language ever: https://skillsmatter.com/skillscasts/6088-the-worst-programm... Hell of a fun, and still little bit of an education ;)

Anything from Armin Ronacher (the_mitsuhiko) or Raymond Hettinger, but I especially like "Thinking outside the box" [0] because it was such an eye-opener.

[0]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5pZVqBFtuLk

Lending Privilege: Anjuan Simmons http://anjuansimmons.com/talks/lending-privilege/

Not strictly about tech itself, but it was one of my favorites talks at CodeConf a few years back.


Linus Torvalds | TED2016 The mind behind Linux. https://www.ted.com/talks/linus_torvalds_the_mind_behind_lin...

I loved it when says 'i am not a people person'

Stephen Wolfram computing a theory of everything - https://www.ted.com/talks/stephen_wolfram_computing_a_theory...

Jaron Lanier, How we need to remake the internet: https://www.ted.com/talks/jaron_lanier_how_we_need_to_remake...

Python dictionaries: A Confluence of Great Ideas (also known as Modern Dictionaries) by Raymond Hettinger


If you like Wat, you should like this talk by James Mickens on computer security: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tF24WHumvIc

Peter Sewell: Why are computers so @#!*, and what can we do about it? - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MBIHPLFmcgA

Anything by Rich Hickey, especially "The Value of Values" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6BsiVyC1kM .

Indistinguishable From Magic: Manufacturing Modern Computer Chips: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NGFhc8R_uO4

Why Vertical Farming Won't Save the World: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ISAKc9gpGjw

David Crane - The Internal Magic of the 2600: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fr-t9plOkHY

ng-wat: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_Wp-2XA9ZU

We need more stand up comedians as presenters

while we're at it:

chicken chicken chicken https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yL_-1d9OSdk

The art of destroying software: Greg Young - https://vimeo.com/108441214

beside the nostaligia alan kay talks about sketchpad, sutherland and all that;

one of my top talks is dan friedman + will byrd doing evalo in minikanren.

similarly there's an old talk by sean parent about reversible computing while he was at Adobe R&D (kinda like relational programming of friedman and byrd, except, in cpp)

I also greatly enjoy anything chuck moore on forth / ga144

And recently the talk about the values of APL

Oh and Gary Bernhardt. Wat and the unix chainsaw. beautiful.

not necessarily favourite, but very entertaining

Programming is terrible—Lessons learned from a life wasted. EMF2012 (by Thomas Figg)


David Beazley on being an expert witness in an intellectual property lawsuit.

Ted Nelson's Computers for Cynics probably doesn't contain technical information that's new to any of you, but Ted has a knack for reframing things in ways that make the arbitrariness of certain historical decisions clear: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KdnGPQaICjk

On the subject of hypertext, The Web That Wasn't gives a nice history of the idea (for anybody who thinks it starts with TBL -- surprisingly many people!): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=72nfrhXroo8

Another reframing-oriented talk is Clay Shirky's "It's not information overload, it's filter failure", which ultimately leads to Shirky suggesting the kinds of user-oriented filtering features that Mastodon has implemented: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LabqeJEOQyI

At the intersection of neurology and information science, Peter Watts always has something interesting to say, and as a former marine biologist focusing on the nervous system of starfish, this is absolutely in his wheelhouse: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6GAicTW7MGo

This one ("moving away from defensive programming") justified strong typing in a pretty clear way: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Csj3lzsr0_I

Dan Dennett is just as relevant as Doug Hofstadter when it comes to metacognition: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJsD-3jtXz0

Forgotten Ideas in Computer Science starts slow, but if you don't have much of a historical background (like, if you're only vaguely aware of what happened in CS in the 70s), it's a laundry list of things you should look up and be aware of before you start your next project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-I_jE0l7sYQ

Everybody should understand procedural generation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WumyfLEa6bU

Likewise, since AI is hyped up right now, we should all remind ourselves that IA is a thing too: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=narjui3em1k

More hypertext history: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i67rQdHuO-8

Even more hypertext / UX stuff: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDrHkNgGQDs

A great explanation of Fourier transforms: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=spUNpyF58BY

Allison Parrish does mindblowing things with corpus statistics by treating term vector spaces as generalizations of 2d image formats: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3D0JEA1Jdc

Finally, these aren't tech talks but instead UI demo reels. If you have any interest in UI or UX, you should watch them. They are wonderfully cheesy, mostly doable, and despite being more than 20 years old, nobody has bothered actually implementing the useful features shown: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKJNxgZyVo0 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hb4AzF6wEoc https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1iAJPoc23-M

Functional Core, Imperative Shell by Gary Bernhardt.


I saw it at my first job out of uni and it was so simple that it changed the way I wrote code at the time.

Most recently I really liked "The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Dynamic Typing for Practical Programs": https://vimeo.com/74354480

The ones that had the most profound effect for me would be Linus's talk about git and Carsten Dominik on org-mode.

Also, Richard Feynman explaining how computers work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKWGGDXe5MA This actually changed the way I think about it after years of programming.

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