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Lightning Talks night with EuroStar 2010 (the Rebel Alliance, a conference after the conference with beer)

I am back from EuroStar.
I’ve got lots to write about EuroStar: the people, the lectures, the Test Lab, the venue. However, if my mails are any indication, the thing people are waiting most to read about is the “Rebel Alliance” night.

This night, which went by many names (“Rebel Alliance”, “Oprørsalliancen”, “Danish Alliance”), was an informal meeting of friends. As we did at StarEast, it was “a mini conference after the conference, with beer”. We had there very special people and some famous names from the software testing world, and we spent the night talking testing, debating testing, listening to lightning talks on testing, playing games and debating some more. I am a boring nerd, so for me it was the best party ever.
The content and energy were fantastic, it was a remarkable evening. In this post I’ve collected some pics, videos and links.

Who was there? I know I’ll miss a name, but here goes a list (random order):
Jesper L Ottosen | Joris Meerts | Dorothy Graham | James Lyndsay
Bart Knaack | Zeger Van Hese | Martin Jansson | Henrik Andersson
Michael Bolton | Andy Glover | John Stevenson | Rob Lambert
Carsten Feilberg | Ajay Balamurugadas | Markus Gaertner | Henrik Emilsson
Julian Harty | Rob Sabourin | Rikard Edgren | Shmuel Gershon
Lynn McKee | Rob Lugton

We have plenty of pictures available online:

I triggered the meetup by sending emails to some social media friends, all original thinkers which whom I’ve been learning a lot over the past months. But once this was done, the group pretty much organized itself, duplicated in number and generated content. As we said there, it was not my party, it was a massive multiplayer game. Congratulations to all who helped it happen.
Special thanks go to: Huge thanks to EuroStar for helping us find a room, free of charge. Our meeting was not an official part of the conference, and they nevertheless helped us look for a location. And it was a great one! Tables, drinks, projector, loudspeakers… Matt Heusser for giving me initial hints on what to organize. Jesper for finding a bar and pizza and suggesting ‘Doodle’ for polls. Zeger for convincing EuroStar to help :). Zeger, Jesper and Rob L were extremely helpful as advisors whenever I got stuck without idea what to do next.

I would recommend you to go to any conference (EuroStar will happen next year in Manchester) and try to find people to meet at night. We overorganized this one and everything was settled even before the conference started… But you might as well talk to the people sitting with you at lunch and launch an evening of open discussion and community feedback without prior work.

The lightning talks are embedded below (link to playlist).
If you have any comment or question that you would like to address to any of the speakers, and you write it in the comments area below, I’ll make sure to send it to the speaker so he can reply to you. Maybe in this way this will be a two-directional learning thing instead of one-way videos.

Because many of my readers are from non-english speaking countries (Hi DFTestes!, Hi Co-workers!), I added transcriptions to most of them to make it easier to understand:

Shmuel Gershon
I was the first in line for talks. My talk was an extended version of this blog post on reporting the whole and not only bugs. I received good feedback on the idea, and now we are ruminating on it.
The basic idea for the talk is that if the testing service consists on discovering and reporting information about a system, we should tell all the information we see: bugs, delighting features and areas we are indifferent to.


Jesper Ottosen
Jesper is a test manager at CSC, and he explains how their team uses visual artifacts to keep morale up, and how these relates to looking for “Perfects”. Also, an analysis on how normally User Acceptance Tests have no user, no acceptance, and no tests…


James Lyndsay
James’ talk was a challenge call:
He challenges all participants to access and explore a testing game with a cool concept.

Bart Knaack presented a lightning talk about the role of testers, programmers and managers in deciding when a scenario is “not a use case” and where we should be concerned by it. For some reason (read that as “it’s my fault”) I don’t have that on my video, but Rob Lambert will probably post it online as well.

Dorothy Graham
Dorothy talks about her approach on forcing testers to take a programming or technical path, and how a team of testers can better use the skills each one wants to develop.
In the second part (don’t miss it!), Dorothy sing’s her “Testing Techniques” song! Music starts around 04:50…

Rikard Edgren
Rikard, from The Test Eye website, showed us his view about the eye and the vision — what skills a tester needs to sharpen in his eyes, to see what matters.

Rob Sabourin
The more I hear Rob speaking, the more impressed by his clear views and sharpness of mind. In his lightning talk, Rob tells the real-life story of a project he’s been working on, that had surprising results. It’s a story about people, process, numbers, innovation and responsibility.

Michael Bolton
Michael talks about three things: The CBC series on how to think about science, the problem people get in when trying to simplify complex matters (legibility) and the value of different cultures and languages.

Zeger Van Hese
Zeger showed us a beautiful presentation about beauty, based on a study done in Washington. What defines our perception of beauty? What is the part of context in that? Is ‘time’ a context as well?
Would you recognize a masterpiece if it was located in an incongruous context?

Joris Meerts
Joris has prepared an impressive work on the history of testing (http://www.testingreferences.com/testin­gtimeline.php). In his talk, he presented the work and asked for more ideas and additions.

Markus Gaertner
Markus talks in this lightning talk about feedback and about insights and how mixing contexts up can be dangerous for results.

Andy Glover
Andy, aka The Cartoon Tester, challenged us (and YOU) to draw on of the definition of testing: Testing is the INFINITE PROCESS of comparing the INVISIBLE to the AMBIGUOUS so as to avoid the UNTHINKABLE happening to the ANONYMOUS (definition by James Bach).
Can you draw this?

Well, I hope you enjoyed the night as much as we did!

If you have any comment or question that you would like to address to any of the speakers above, and you write it in the comments area below, I’ll make sure to send it to the speaker so he can reply to you. Maybe in this way this will be a two-directional learning thing instead of one-way videos.

24 Responses

  1. Ray Oei says:

    A pity I missed it…. Thanks for sharing!
    It is great to be able to ‘participate’ this way…


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  3. […] from http://testing.gershon.info/201012/eurostar2010-rebel-alliance-night/ […]

  4. […] Zegervan Hese, fellow DEWT (and Programme Chair EuroSTAR 2012. GRATS againZeger!) told us about the Rebel Alliance at EuroStar 2010 and Jean-Paul and I decided to try to organize something […]

  5. Tim Western says:

    Thanks for posting that Shmuel. It’s interesting how a simple five minute lightning talk can be more stimulating than a 2 hour lecture. I love stuff like this, get’s the synapses firing and forces you to contemplate, consider new ways of looking at things.

    • I like the format too, Tim.
      With 5 minutes to tell something (in most of these cases improvised), one sticks to the main points and makes it very concise — and effective.
      That, instead of spending time introducing, and summarising, and reading bullets… 🙂

      One can watch 10 talks within less than an hour. Great bang for the buck!

  6. […] Jesper Ottosen participated in what appeared to be a great event and discussion at EuroStar 2010: The rebel alliance night (link to Shmuel Gershon’s blog with video recordings of the talks), where he talked about […]

  7. Shmuel, thanks for the report & all the work you put into this. By the way, I didn’t “convince” Eurostar to help out. I just asked for help, and they offered it 🙂
    — Z

    • Zeger, thank to you too for your help and friendship.
      And hey, if you asked nicely enough for EuroStar to agree, that’s a way of convincing as well. 🙂
      A friend told me he saw a writeup about your lightning talk in his intranet. Cool, eh?

  8. Markus says:

    Shmuel, thanks for putting these up and to all participants for releasing these videos into the public.

    For someone who couldn’t make it to the conference these are invaluable sources to keep up to date and further our learning.


    • Hi Markus, nice to ‘meet’!
      I liked your blog and the blog’s name. What’s with the regular expression? Is there any funny origin to it?

      Who knows? We may meet at some future conference.

  9. […] Whatever happens, happens. There was no agenda, really. In this case we mingled first, talked and drank a bit until pizzas arrived. Major  epiphany: Denmark has pizzas that come in the size of a small wallaby. After that, there were some lighting talks, timed by quality gatetimekeeper Michael Bolton (who definitely should get into the timekeeping business whenever he gets out of the QA business). You can see (transcripted!) videos of the talks in Shmuel’s write-up of the event.  […]

  10. Rob Lugton says:

    Great Night! One of the highlights of the conference for me!

    Sorry I had to leave early, jetlag is a harsh mistress!

    • It was fun to meet you Rob. The end of the night included heading to the lobby and, well, getting more beer and talking about testing.
      Thinking of it now, most of the nights on that week ended with “heading somewhere else, having more beer and talking about testing” 🙂

  11. Thanks for sharing, Watched all of them

  12. Ola Hyltén says:

    Wonderful to see this Shmuel and I know you’ve done a lot of work to post all the videos. It’s great to see, especially for us who weren’t there. Thank you.
    Hope to see you again, perhaps at another conference.

    • Ola, thanks for your comment.
      Yeah, I don’t think we got to hang out on the first day, so no opportunity call you.
      But we did well with drinking beers at the second night of the Rebel Alliance, so now it’s just filling the gaps with the videos. Don’t forget some Pizza to get in the mood.

  13. […] he took the responsibility to file the videos from the lightning talks on youtube.com. Check out his blog entry which has them all, including a German guy who says something about feedback, responsibility, and […]

  14. Thanks for sharing these, Shmuel. It has been two awesome evenings with all of those gals and guys. Really appreciate the work you put into sharing these. Thanks!

  15. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by lisacrispin, Shmuel Gershon. Shmuel Gershon said: Posted: Lightning Talks night #esconfs (the Rebel/Danish Alliance) – http://testing.gershon.info/201012/eurostar2010-rebel-alliance-night/ […]

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