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Re: GDevCon an Experiment in Democratic Management

Active Participant

If you hadn't already heard we're organising a little shindig in Cambridge UK called GDevCon#1. Also if you follow this blog you may have read Why are Businesses Dictatorships. Trying to be true to my beliefs I wanted GDevCon to be a democratic organisation. I always recommend the book "Maverick" by Ricardo Semler. It confirmed my biases in an easy to read manner!


Here's an early report on how I think it's going....


1) The Team

Experience has shown me that the Venn diagram of [people who complain] and [people who do] and I approached people who do for GDevCon. Business owners, User Group organisers and the presenting community are all highly represented. They have all been great!


2) Joint Vision

I approached them with an offer--> "I don't know what I'm doing and do you want to take a risk with me". They all took the risk!


The thing we wanted to do was have an independent Graphical Developer Conference, up until now NI had done all the heavy lifting and they have created some fantastic events (I love CLA Summits!). We felt that independence brings it's own voice.


3) Celebrate the differences

Apart from all being do-ers, we're all very different and one thing I have learnt over my many years is that difference=strength. So I'm full of ideas, don't like details and love taking risks, to make this a strength I need people around me who can convert the ideas, deal in the weeds and temper my risk-taking. Each person has taken it upon themselves to fill the gaps and we're doing well at supporting each other.


4) Communication

We talk a lot!, and this was a concern for some of the team, is this discussion instead of action? 


I didn't want a situation where the "LinkedIn Leader" strides forcefully into battle with their "followers" picking up the pieces behind them. That's all well and good if the leader is 100% correct in all they do! Instead we discuss, argue, compromise or vote. The consensus is all. And you only get consensus from discussion. We use Slack and it has been a splendid tool. The most difficult thing for me is remembering the decisions made!


As an example, today we have had a quite heated debate about how we present ourselves professionally, anyone who has seen me will know where I stand (spoiler: I'm a scruffy individual and I don't present myself professionally!). The debate was actually quite bruising and if it had gone much further we would have gone to a vote. But in the end we came to a compromise. Democracy should be messy and egos sometimes have to be bruised and it's better for it. 


5) Be Prepared

All this discussion and the differences in our personalities mean that we are always prepared. Any scenario has been thoroughly exercised with pros, cons and devils advocates. I felt this on several occasions and it's been a real unexpected bonus.


Some Positives

Everyone buys in.

Everyone is aware.

Everyone is prepared.

Self-organising teams mean that people are doing the thing that interests them.


Some Negatives

Remembering decisions.

It takes discipline and effort to avoid dropping into autocracy.

I debated whether I would put speed of decision making in here, I think with the right tools and people it can be just as quick. We're not voting on every decision. We're tending to vote on direction and the self-organising team then takes the decisions. If something is a worry any member of the team, they can raise it and we'll discuss and ultimately vote on it.


In summary I'm still a fan and I love working with the GDevCon team and I'm really not a team player! I don't know what the other GDevConites think, but I like it!


Anyways details about our conference can be found at www.gdevcon.com. Tickets are now on sale!


Lots of Love




Active Participant

I‘ll admit that I was not used to the amount of discussion that precedes any action, but I feel like we got much better with it in the last months. Where we would discuss the final outcome (how), we now agree on the things to achieve (why), and everybody just takes it from there. I like that a lot better. 

An opportunity to learn from experienced developers / entrepreneurs (Fab and Steve amongst them):
DSH Pragmatic Software Development Workshop @ NIDays Europe in Munich on 22nd November
Active Participant

Bearing in mind that most of us only knew each other from events and not in the working environment I think a certain amount of settling in is inevitable. The increase in speed really comes down to trust. If you trust the other peoples motivations you begin to understand their perspective and decision making. I also think some things need discussion and this actually pulls us together as a group.


You were very much on my mind when I put in the discussion section.

Active Participant

I've always found it hard to accept alternative opinions, or trust others to complete tasks without sticking my nose in, but what being on this team has done for me is reassure me that it's OK to trust others in what they're good at doing. So many members have proven their various skills and abilities in the GDevCon team, in a way that I've not experienced before with other teams, and it's both humbling and awesome. I have strong opinions, and sometimes I voice them, and it's great to get the feedback, engage in discussion and reach a consensus (even if it's not my preference). GDevCon has already changed me for the better, and I thank you Steve for conceiving it, and everyone else in the team for the opportunities and trust that's been bestowed onto me.

See you all in September!

Thoric (CLA, CLED, CTD and LabVIEW Champion)

Active Participant

Here's the harsh reality for me (it's harsh but brilliant).

The team gently took various responsibilities from me and then went and did them better and not just a bit better, exponentially better.

The joy for me is that I know that I'm "capable" at these things, but not talented. I'm self-confident enough to know I don't have to be best at everything, and watching an idea be made better by other is immensely satisfying.

I love people with opinions, I find the most annoying phrases in the world to be "I don't mind", "you decide" etc. Drives me up the wall!






Active Participant

Hi Steve,


I have enjoyed watching from the sidelines and being a cheerleader and voicing my opinion to you Steve. I can say the GDevCon team has been doing an awesome job.


I will continue to help in any way shape or form I can help and I appreciate that you understand sometimes I take a lot more than I should and help me measure how much I am committing to. 


My experience with teams is that even a team of stars might end up having some slackers or people who are just in for the recognition but are not willing to put in the effort. I am glad to read that this is not the case for you guys. 


Looking forward to the event in September. Like Elon Musk said about the Falcon Heavy launch "Falcon Heavy will be a 'great rocket launch or the best fireworks display' either way it will be entertaining".


GDevCon will be an awesome experiment to all of us, it doesn't matter if it is a perfect conference or not. It will be a great conference where everyone who attends will learn at least one thing. Whether that is a LabVIEW related thing or not, that remains to be seen Smiley Happy


Good luck to you and the entire GDevCon team!

See you in September,



Get Going with G! at G Central GCentral
DQMH Lead Architect * DQMH Trusted Advisors DQMH Trusted Advisor * Certified LabVIEW Architect * Certified LabVIEW Embedded Developer * Certified Professional Instructor * LabVIEW Champion * Code Janitor

Have you been nice to future you?

Active Participant

 I think you have plenty to be getting along with....there's always GDevCon #?. 

(I really want to go to Japan). We just need to shift 45 more tickets and we'll finish with some money for future events and all the infra-structure in place.

And we have some fantastic presenters! - more on this to come.....

Proven Zealot

I think I'll be reserving a place or two.  Just discussed it this morning with the team.  Loving it.

Active Participant

Thanks for your support Matey!

I think you may have blagged the last tickets too, depending on how we've worked it out we've shifted 60% in 5 days.

We're now in the hard part, sorting the 24 submissions. Every single one is great. It's very painful.

Proven Zealot

Any info regarding the general direction of the presentations? Heavy in any specific direction?

Active Participant

We're voting this week, so will hopefully have an agenda by Monday 14th.


We have all sorts submitted - 

Some OOP, some design, interfacing with languages, process and management, FPGA, Vision, Packaging, tools, frameworks, show and tells, GUIs etc


7 from outside Europe (I refuse to include UK in that number!)

7 from Europe (Exc UK)

Rest from UK


It's very difficult choosing!

But we're trying to be faithful to our remit, that you should be able to take one immediately useful thing from each presentation.


Active Participant

 Sold out already!?, Nooo Smiley Sad


Ticket resale anyone...?



Check out ClampOn CAN Monitor on the LabVIEW Tools Network.
Active Participant

No ticket touts allowed!

We're looking to get some more tickets soon, email admin@gdevcon.com and we'll put you on our reserved list (you'll get prior notice before general release).

Exciting news coming.....

Active Participant

We just sent a mailing with the list of presentations:


Finally - the list of presentations for #gdevcon no. 1! Also in our latest mailing: More info on the venue and our sold-out(?) tickets. Read it all at

An opportunity to learn from experienced developers / entrepreneurs (Fab and Steve amongst them):
DSH Pragmatic Software Development Workshop @ NIDays Europe in Munich on 22nd November