Getting Smart at the Nerd Convention: OSCON 2014

Last week, planeloads of tech-y superheroes descended upon Portland en masse: OSCON was happening!

The 5-day Open Source convention kicked off Sunday, with an Ignite event (fully catered with hosted bar), followed by a Glow-in-the-dark 5k run around the downtown Portland Waterfront loop.


Audrey and friend at the OSCOM 5K

Audrey and Lena at the OSCOM 5K

This meant part of the challenge was not over-indulging in the unlimited free beer.

Home base was Oregon Convention Center, perfect for visitors who could spot the landmark, twin hypodermic needles in the sky, from miles away.

Having acquired a code that granted free access to the OSCON Expo (as well as after-parties), began my dutiful investigation Sunday afternoon.

Stepping one foot inside the building, it seemed quite clear: I do not belong here.

Nooo, not because I wasn’t invited. Not because I snuck in either! Because I’m a woman.

For the first five minutes, even with swarms of people milling around, there was no other female in sight.

If you know me, you know this was – by far – the most exciting aspect of the entire event. Heart-a-flutter, managed to convince myself was still on planet Earth. Legs got weak, had to sit down!

From a cozy chair near one of several coffee stations, sent a quick report to my gal-pal, Lena, including the code and urgent request that she join me for the 5k run that night. Looking up, noticed a dude just standing there staring at me. Like I was an alien.

Touring the building, found at least a handful of women. But we were the extreme minority.


It’s a huge problem in the tech industry. Had me wondering how to help fill the void…?

Open Source is about sharing knowledge in order to solve problems in the world, big and small. For one reason or another (perhaps for more than one reason!) women are being left almost entirely out of this equation.

Did my best to rally my gal pals into attending the remaining OSCON events. Can’t say no to free booze, endless platters of food, fancy swag and lots of Spot-the-Hottie. Bonus, you might learn something!

No promises – but for your access code to next year’s OSCON, I strongly advise following them on Twitter.

On the last day of OSCON, made one final trip to the conference to remind those guys of the next great event on the Portland Summer Docket: Oregon BrewFest.

“So you’re like the Pied Piper of beer?” Said one dude with a chuckle.

That’s me! Nerd Herder, at your service.

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