Taking Software Development to the Next Level by Alan Shalloway
The software industry as a whole has a technology gap between what we know as the right way to do things and the way we currently work. We would get major productivity gains if we would just use techniques like test driven development, behavior driven development, and continuous delivery.
We can leverage various "trim tabs" in our organizations to enact change without major campaigns. These changes are used to change the environment and organizational culture instead of just going straight to pushing for a technology change. Starting lunch and learns (brown bags) lets you cheaply spread new ideas and techniques to attendees. Having different groups (think dev/ops/qa/infosec) talk to each other or eat together helps them to better work together.
Finally follow the "pickup sticks" model. This seemed similar to going after low hanging fruit first, introduce the easiest to implement technical changes first. The more advanced changes usually build on the earlier foundational changes anyway and the large jump would create more push back then the gradual step by step introduction.
The Art of Simplicity by Venkat Subramaniam
Venkat's keynote reminded me of Rich Hickey's Simple Made Easy (http://www.infoq.com/presentations/Simple-Made-Easy). As developers we have to remember that complicated/clever code is much more difficult to read and debug. We want to write code that is easy to understand. The bad part is most of the time simplicity is hard to achieve.
Pure Fun by Stuart Halloway
Stu talked about how to have fun in real life and with computers. He spoke about Jane McGonigal and Reality is Broken. Dancing and singing are things you can do everyday to actually make yourself happier. Positive psychology is incredibly powerful and can make you more productive in everyday life (a TED talk - http://www.ted.com/talks/shawn_achor_the_happy_secret_to_better_work.html). He also played with a quad copter drone.
There were lots of good sessions. I spent the first day learning a little more about designing REST APIs and how to utilize hypermedia in the RESTful responses. AngularJS looks very cool. I spent the final day learning more about Clojure and its simulant and generative testing frameworks.