How to Stand on the Shoulders of Giants

Every great breakthrough is built on the work that has come before it. The most successful innovators in our industry ignore the conventional wisdom of the moment and draw on the rich history of computing, the internet and the web to transform the simplest of ideas into defining pieces of technology. As software engineers, we all have the potential to navigate the history of our industry, tease out the genius from what has come before, and build a platform for our own ideas. By doing so, we can see that little bit further and in turn provide the foundations for others to build on what we have done. In this session we’ll look at how the history of the web itself is rooted in sharing information and how modern giants like Google and Facebook are founded on what came before them, while being driven forwards by the ecosystems they helped build. We’ll see how successful open source projects leverage the past, and how by following some simple principles we can make use of the information, projects and people around us to improve ourselves and our careers.