What are your best Elixir talks? (Plus my Graphic Recording of "Against the Grain" by Saša Juric)

Hello dear community! I’d like to watch and illustrate more talks for this community, today I watched “Against the Grain” by Saša Juric about Elixir, Java and Kafka (I strongly recommend to watch).

Also I read this awesome answer from @03juan with a really long list of talks Any SaaS developers using Phoenix - Liveview - Ash - #6 by 03juan

So I want to ask you what are your favorite talks I should illustrate?


Another great graphic Carlo (tho did you mean against the grain?

For other talks have a look at:

And of course our talks section which you can sort by replies/views etc:

Our most viewed/commented talk is…


Thank you! Fixed now! How to know that I’m not a native speaker? hehe

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May I take this to talk about the worst talks and take as an example my own talk of ElixirEU conf five years ago :slight_smile:

To go back in history, before my talk another one was held totally live with putting in commands in the terminal, showing the results live and I was thinking at that time, this is how we should have it (of course, things can go wrong slightly, but everybody can understand it).

At the same conference, Chris was having the final talk and how he his, experienced and with confidence, just showed the terminal and coded away.

Things like my talk with slides and well rehearsed words are not right.

I am thinking that talks with code should all be done live. And this is not saying anything bad about the talks that were brought in here as examples. I just see too many talks in conferences that are not engaging or interesting.

Sorry for the rant.
What do you think?


This one @kujua?

Tell us more about being a digital nomad! I have been dreaming about doing it for a while :003:

I’ve took a look at the presentation and there are few remarks(only pattern matching part of the presentation):

  • General lack of focus - in a matter of minutes you go from matching to rebinding, then to pin operator, then to ecto examples mentioning macros, even if I knew elixir but not be that intimate that would be very confusing. From my point of view rebinding and pin operator could have been skipped entirely as they are just tools that accompany pattern matching, instead I would maybe showcase a little binary pattern matching;
  • Focus on the wrong things - the deconstruction, which is the sole reason pattern matching exists in the first place is only pointed out at minute 13, when in reality it should have been the star of the show from the very beginning;
  • Lack of good examples - I would say this is the most noticeable thing lacking in the presentation. I would personally start with very basic examples like matching a string and then iteratively show more intricate matches, to showcase the power of declarative approach vs imperative one you have in other languages;

I don’t think that is a requirement and it was not something that would improve that presentation, only if the live demo would contain much more matching examples.

I personally like very much the style of presentations that @josevalim and @sasajuric make lately. They have a right mix of concepts, examples and clarity, makes them extremely easy to follow even when the topics are not that trivial. A great example would be this talk: ElixirConf 2023 - José Valim - The foundations of the Elixir type system.

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This is a really interesting rand!

As a graphic recorder, the last years I’ve been sketching many and many talks about Erlang and Elixir, of course I need to be a programmer to understand what a gen server is and be able to draw it. So for me it’s really impressive all the ways to present something interesting, of course there are tons of talks, and all of them are valuable, there isn’t “a way” to present something, because, in my words, is about sharing learning, people at the stage are like a safari guide for all the audience.

After draw many talks GitHub - carlogilmar/visual_partnership: Here you'll find the gallery of visual partnership, this illustrations are the result of combine Visual Thinking + Open Source Projects I can say a good talk depends on many things: body communication, tone of voice, slides, code examples, summaries, demos, etc… an also I don’t know how many people use to train their speaker skills which needs a lot of practice.

So here there are some tips for all the Elixir speakers that want to improve their skills based on my experience as visual practitioner:

  • Keep it simple: 30/40/50 minutes are few time to share many things.
  • Make summaries along your talk, at least at the end.
  • Make emphasis on the most important concepts (choose 4 or 5) that you want to share with your audience.
  • Be clear on what you want to communicate with audience.
  • Consider the audience have different levels of experience. (Be clear on the parts that are for experienced people).
  • Understand you as a bridge between your audience and your content.
  • You can talk about thousands and thousands of ideas in your talk, what you want to hold on your audience? People can retain few pieces of information.
  • Consider prepare extra material for those that wants to continue learning from you, it can be a blog post with more resources, a markdown file in a GitHub repository, etc. You can share this in your presentation (as a QR code is a great way), and you can use this space to extend the material. GitHub - the-beam-developer/welcome-elixir: Place to share a guideline to learn Elixir as a beginner.

This are few tips, and also I have a killer practice for improve your communication skills if you need the next level (I’m sharing my personal toolbox): prepare your content, and record a video of you giving the talk, the exercise of watching you talking and explaining your content as part of the audience it’s important to evaluate yourself, I mean, note simple things as your body movements, your tone of voice, it’s important to realize the most important parts of the talk that you’re watching, note all the good moments and the bad parts and so on. This exercise is extremely hard for most of the people, but it’s really helpful for prepare your communication skills.

If you want to know more I prepared months ago a github repository about public speaking: GitHub - visualpartnership/public-speaking: Best practices to improve your public speaking and content creation. 🎤


Thanks for your remarks.
Yes, every point is correct. It would have been better to focus on one topic and not bring a bunch of topics in that went off at the end of the talk, because there was not enough time.

After I published my book - at that time as self-published book - I sent it to Joe Armstrong. As polite and nice as he was, he told me: “You need to know your recipients and write for them.”

The same applies for this talk.

In. My youth i was in a political party in Austria active and did courses how to do speeches, but this is of course different to highly knowledgeable developers.

Thanks again.


Re digital nomad. This topic should have a topic on its own…

In 1995 Austria became member of the EU and in 1998 I “started” my career abroad. In the beginning it was just moving to another country and sitting in an office. I was since 1995 a freelancer or contractor (and still am).

So one contract followed another and since I knew Austria in software development is a bit behind I moved around: Germany, UK, Kenya, now Portugal. In between I had remote work in the US, South Africa, Australia, Italy, China and a few European countries. For the remote work I did not need to move, of course.

Remote work really picked up about seven years ago. Since then the digital monad became one in the internet, although my last gigs in Portugal and Germany (living in Portugal) needed sometimes traveling.

Now, it is not all beautiful. I am now 66, officially retired, but creating software with my wife, who is a bit younger than I am. There are two points I want to tell colleagues who are thinking of such a career:

(1) I am legally registered in three countries (address, tax): Kenya, Austria, Portugal. All as self employed and with a company. When I was 30 I did not care for pension, but now with 66 I see that a proper planning would have been better. I have worked 40+ years and I get a pension in Austria and the UK. There are different minimum years we have to pay for the pension, between 10 and 15 years (forget Kenya, it would not pay for a day of meeting friends and drinking a beer), The problem is that although the authorities acknowledge that overall time, the pension at the end is only for the time you paid in in the country. Don’t get me wrong, the pension is ok. My advice is to think about is when younger.

(2) Moving around also means that you can’t take everything with you that own. This maybe books, electrical devices, what ever. This is where point 1 comes in as well: keep an address in one country. As a citizen of one country, it is only possible to get a passport, even when leaving abroad. But also think of social and health insurance. That can be private as I did eventually if you don’t trust the one in the country you moved. But keep it in your mind when you are younger.

Long speech, hope it helps.

And to be positive: without being a (digital) nomad I would not have met my wife.