Speaker interview – Michael Lopp

In the first of our speaker interviews, Webstock talked with Michael Lopp.

Webstock: Can you tell us a little about what you do at Apple?

Michael Lopp: Apple is famous for it’s secrecy, so I’m going to answer this question via a haiku:

When changing the world
Yes, sleeping is optional
A long time coming

Webstock: Is Fake Steve Jobs on your blogroll?

Michael Lopp: He is, but he’s less entertaining than the real thing.

Webstock: A developer tells you it’s going to take 4 hours to complete a task. How long will it really take?

Michael Lopp: A developer who provides a 4 hour estimate is working for a micromanager who is driving his employees crazy by trying to control the minutiae of software development. For this scenario, I would triple the estimate and then round up to the nearest day. If there was a weekend nearby I’d another day for good measure. I’d also schedule a walk-around-the-building meeting with the manager who is asking for sub-day estimates where I’d tell him to chill out.

Webstock: The Rands Vegas system – wisdom hard-earned?

Michael Lopp: By my estimate, the Rands Vegas System has cost me $21,782 over twenty years. It’s important to note that this does not include intangible costs of both the brain and liver damage which I’ve incurred as well as the decreased lung capacity due to chain smoking while in Vegas. It’s also important to note that I consider those costs to relatively cheap when compared to wisdom I’ve gained from the fantastically bizarre people I’ve met at 5am at the poker table at Bally’s casino after two days of no sleep.

Webstock: Aside from Webstock, what else are you looking forward to in New Zealand?

Michael Lopp: Two of my passions, surfing and wine, have an odd common trait: goofy names. Surfers are renown for giving bizarre names to surf spots. Wine makers do the same with their wines. It is my mission while in New Zealand to ascertain via a statistically valid sample of both surf spots and wine makers to determine whether this trait applies to all hemispheres equally.

Webstock: Which other Webstock speaker are you most looking forward to seeing, and why?

Michael Lopp: After staring at the speaker list two nights, I’m finding myself mentally thrashing on picking a single speaker. There are too many amazing speakers. Therefore, I will tell you that I’m curious about a conference which has both morning and afternoon tea as part of the official schedule. Are tea cups going to be provided? Is there pinky etiquette that I need to follow? Also, I see on the program there are two secret sessions. This clever marketing ploy has also piqued my interest.