Passion Projects (Live) 9: Melissa Severini (Organization Organizing)

Passion Projects (Live) 9: Melissa Severini (Organization Organizing)


♪ (music) ♪ (Julie) Hello, wonderful people! Welcome to Passion Projects. My name is Julie, and I am the creator
and organizer of Passion Projects here at GitHub. (audience cheering) (Julie) It’s Christmas. Be generous. It’s a super special edition
of Passion Projects. If you have not heard her name before,
it is Melissa Severini, and she was GitHub’s first employee, as well as GitHub’s first female employee, and she led business development
and operations for her first four years. She recently left us to go
on an extended vacation, which she more than deserves. But now she’s going to come up
and give the best talk ever. We also have Mara Hruby here
who will be performing after Melissa’s talk,
so stick around for that. We’ll also have Eggnog Alley. That sounds dangerous
because it is dangerous. Please join me in welcoming
Melissa Severini. (applause from the audience) Hi! Hello. Hello. Hello. Hi! Thanks, Julie. Thanks, Julie. Eggnog Alley does sound dangerous.
Should we just skip right to that? So, full disclosure. Julie said
that I could just stand up here and stare into the crowd for 20 minutes. What we’re going to do is hopefully
a little more exciting than that, but bear that in mind.
That’s the last resort. There are a lot of you here. I see
a lot of GitHubbers here which is a little bit of a mystery to me.
I feel like you probably can expect me to say the same set
of things that I’ve been saying for the last five years. [laughs] “Put your dishes in the sink.” (audience laughs) “No, we can’t
have a company test lab.” “There’s a reason we’re
doing it this way.” No, no one’s leaving. Okay. Alright. Thanks again to Julie
for all her hard work in organizing Passion Projects. She has some awesome people on the ground
with her: GitHub’s office manager, the slides person, event planner, the president who probably showed you in
and gave you your badge, and our soon-to-be-famous
Streaming Eagles, the guys bringing this to you live,
everywhere, wherever you are. I really got excited about this series and I’m really excited
about being included. Thanks, Julie! She’s already run away.
She’s already in Eggnog Alley. (laughter from the audience) For those of you who do not know me,
my name is Melissa Severini. Many of the things that Julie said
were true, as GitHub’s first employee, luckiest monkey on the internet
with the exception of AIM. Someone still has it
on AIM. That’s not me. That’s not me you’re talking to.
If you could figure out how to get it back from that person,
I will reward you handsomely. I’ve spent most of my life in California
with the exception of eight years in Portland, OR. Sorry. GitHub’s first non-technical employee.
I like going off-script, running op on five years ago. At that time, that brought the grand total
of GitHub employees to five. We added a sixth before the year was out, a few
more the following year, and now we’re up over 230. I was also
GitHub’s first and only female employee for the first two years
that I worked here. We’ve eventually hired
a wonderful girl named Beth to do the shipping of our t-shirts
and mugs and stuff, and it was really nice to finally have
another woman around. It was another year at least,
before we hired a woman into a technical role, but awesomely,
we now have over ten technical women at the company and close to 50 total. (cheer from the audience) So we hit about 20 percent women,
I think around summer time this year, and the last time that had been the case
was when there were five of us and I was one of them. (everyone laughs) So that was really exciting.
It was a good summer. I think we’re down a little under that
right now but we’re catching up. Day-to-day, I did something we referred
to as “business operations,” which encompassed everything from HR
to office management, and onboarding, and mediation, and procurement,
and booking travel, and supporting the founders, and planning drink ups, you name it. In the early days of the company,
if it wasn’t creating GitHub the product, or providing support for that product,
it usually fell to me to do. I got to spearhead a lot of our firsts
and one-offs as a company, which is cool. I found our first office space
on 2nd and Howard, I actually found this one, also. You should have seen it before.
The first guy made it beautiful! I organized our first conference,
CodeConf in 2011. I purchased the octocat
from the original artist, Simon Oxley. As of about a month ago,
as Julie mentioned, I am no longer with the company,
although I do manage to show up to free lunch day with alarming regularity. (audience laughs) That’s not our slide. (audience laughs) Something happened. (laughs) (laughs from the audience) Fine! (audience laughs) A lot of people asked me, how I found
GitHub. They say it in this tone that sort of suggests that I had
this prescient awareness of how big the company would become,
and how successful we would be, and how fast we would grow.
Far be it from me to try to convince anyone otherwise. But the way
it really went down was this: A dear friend of mine, Andy Delcomb,
who could not be here tonight, knew about git and GitHub, and was
a very early fan of the company, and he knew that the company
was small but growing. One day he suggested that I reach out to these guys who may have been in need
of the kind of help that I had to offer. So I sent Chris, Tom, and P.J.
a very friendly but professional cover letter,
and my resume, and mentioned that they might know
my former boss, Robby. The Rail’s community is pretty small. It was like a cover-sized email,
decently long, kind of salesy, it talked about me, and how great I was,
so of course it was like a small novella. (laughter from the audience) Two hours later, I got a very classically
Chris email back from Chris Wanstrath. It just said, “How about Kilowatt
in the Mission at 8:00 PM on Thursday?” (everyone laughs) (laughs) So meeting up in a bar wasn’t weird but the terseness
of this one-liner email, especially after my novella,
was a little weird. As I eventually learned, this is just
how Chris writes most of his emails, and this knowledge came in great handy
because I definitely spent about a third of the rest of my career at the company assuring people that Chris
was not in fact mad at them. (laughter from the audience) So, Chris, Tom, and I met up
at a dive bar in the Mission, and we spent a couple of hours shooting
the shit about our backgrounds, and life in San Fransisco, and people
we knew in common, and things like that. And in that time I had to manage
to keep up with them in number of drinks because I wanted to be cool,
which I did but barely. (laughs) During the course of the conversation we determined that Chris and I actually
lived in the same building, and Tom lived in the building
directly across the street from that one. So when it came time
to leave, they went outside to hail a cab, presumably for all of us, since we were going to the same place,
but I had ridden my bicycle, and after all of those drinks,
I had to figure out what my bicycle looked like,
and whether or not I still owned the key, and then had to get
on said bicycle and manage to ride it off in front of my prospective employers
without falling off, which I did, and they hired me, and the rest,
as they say, is history. (laughter from the audience) So a few years ago, when I moved back
to San Fransisco, I did NERT training. Does anybody know what that is?
Is anyone here a NERT? Not expected, I expected a couple
of people to be a NERT. Okay. For those of you who have not heard
of it, NERT is short for, Neighborhood Emergency Response Team. It’s a weekend worth of training put on
by the San Fransisco Fire Department that anyone can anyone can take
that teaches the basics of personal preparedness,
hands-on disaster skills, and response team tactics. NERT’s help
in a large-scale disaster by acting as eyes and ears for the San Fransisco Fire Department,
feeding detailed information of current conditions, block-by-block,
reporting secondary disasters like fires, stuff like that. NERT’s also go through
a large segment of medical triage. Medical triage is basically
the most depressing thing. Basically, you’re separating patients
based on severity of injury or illness, in light of available resources.
So in a normal situation where you have plenty of resources
and one victim you can dedicate a lot of those resources
to that one person, or that, you know, couple of people. In a disaster, you have a shortage
of resources and a ton of victims. So basically, you walk through a room
of injured people and you go, “Well, you’ve got a scrape. Go away. You,
your arm is clearly broken, and you’re probably going to go into shock
but it didn’t break the skin, and you’re not bleeding out,
so just wait. We’ll get to you eventually. You, you have head trauma
and are probably going to bleed out and die before we get
to you so you go too. It’s really, It’s awful. [laughs] It’s completely necessary
in a large-scale disaster where there are a lot of injuries
but it’s super dark. So this didn’t quite satisfy my desire
to be prepared for everything. I wanted to know how to fix people.
So I went to EMT school. I got to do a lot of cool things during EMT school.
I got to do CPR on a dead guy. He came back, not because
of my crappy CPR, he came back because of the shot of adrenaline
they put in his leg. I also got to deliver a baby in the back
of an ambulance. Because English is weird, I feel compelled to clarify
that it was not my baby that I was delivering, (laughter from the audience) it was another woman’s baby. (laughs) I just got to catch. It was very exciting. I probably would have gone
on to paramedic school, which is really who you want saving
your life if you’re ever hurt, not an EMT. That’s like 18 weeks of school.
Paramedics are two years. Like, ask, if you’re conscious. (audience laughing) But I started working at GitHub instead, which oddly served a lot
of the same needs. (laughter from the audience) (everyone laughing) There are a lot of different disasters
that can happen; man-made like a nuclear attack, that’s not outside
of the realm of possibility, especially in a city like San Fransisco,
that’s a small-scale target, or a very attractive target;
biological warfare; There are a lot of natural disasters
like flooding, fire, hurricanes, blizzards, for my Colorado friends here; Somewhat less likely,
but wildly more popular, the zombie apocalypse,
alien invasion, killer bees. The way disaster preparedness manifests for someone like me
who grew up in California, and us who choose to reside
in San Fransisco is earthquakes. The US Geological survey says
that Earthquakes pose a real danger to more than 75 million Americans
in 39 states in this country alone. So it’s not just a Californian problem
for those of you watching along at home. Californians are actually pretty lucky in that we have a relatively
recent collective memory of this happening to us, and a better-prepared infrastructure
than most places in the country. So today, together, we are going
to experience an earthquake. I obviously cannot reproduce
that physically, which would be amazing.
I really wish I could. But you and I, right now, we’re going
to experience an earthquake. Picture this: We’re sitting
in our cool start up office, we are drinking our perfect coffee, we are discussing our next feature launch,
and suddenly this ground starts shaking. A falling beam hits and kills
me immediately. (laughter from the audience) I will be the- It’s okay. I’m fine.
You’re fine. We’re fine. Everything’s fine. I will be
the little creature on your shoulder- sorry- helping
you make good decisions throughout your day. When the ground stops shaking,
you are miraculously unscathed. Lucky you! Now what? Communication is key.
The first thing you are going to want to do is pull out your phone. You’re going
to be like, “I should call 911,” presumably to call 911 to see
if you can get someone to save me, my– I’m dead. (audience laughs) You can. But you get side-tracked. You’re like, “Oh, Twitter! I wonder if anybody
else noticed this earthquake.” (everyone laughing) They did. (laughs) “I wonder how big it is.” Big enough. (laughter from the audience) And you want to start tweeting and taking
pictures. At this juncture I want to encourage you not
to Instagram anything, not that you would be able to do that,
any way. In fact you can’t even get Twitter to load for some reason. Next you’re going to be like, “Well, shit.
I wonder if my boo is okay, my boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, dog-walker,”
whoever you care about, whoever that person is, whomever you look forward to seeing. If this is as serious as you’re starting
to think it might be, you will want to get in touch with that person,
so you try to call, and it doesn’t connect. “Does my phone still work?” No. The towers are down. Service is down.
This happened in Katrina. This happened a lot, actually. Or maybe they’re not down. Maybe
by some miracle they’re still up. Telecom companies are reporting
less damage in recent disasters now, and just a complete saturation
of the network. Everyone is doing what you’re doing
with their phone. It’s like outside lands, or Coachella, you try over
and over again and the network is just saturated. Texting
people uses a lot less bandwidth, so you should try that, email, as well.
Land-lines have a much better chance of working but can you even find
one of those? (laughs) I know there’s not one in this building. (everyone laughing) So, no, nothing gets through.
How’s communication important in a growing start up?
This might be a no-brainer, but open, honest communication is critical to starting and running
a successful business. I believe in open, honest communication.
Everyone says that, but I mean it. Stop touching the microphone. Probably everyone says that too. A lot of people in this room can probably
attest to the fact that I will tell you exactly what I think
almost all of the time. I’ve definitely made enemies this way
but I have also found some of my truest friends and certainly
my best colleagues in the same way. There is one person I know
who is more honest, more into honest communication than I am,
and I’m marrying that guy. (everyone laughing) Why do I believe in open,
honest communication? First off, I see everything else
as a criminal waste of time. Second, it facilitates teamwork,
and the ability to make things happen in a way that nothing else can.
Can you go without? You can try, but in most endeavors
you are relegated to successfully working with the number of people
you can clearly communicate with. So, if you can’t communicate well
with others, probably that means you’ll be stuck
to small-scale change, small projects, small creations.
If you can’t communicate your ideas to others, no one can
help you realize your dream. I’m not much of a TV person,
but we started watching West Wing recently, and it’s amazing.
It’s an example of great teamwork, and a group of people
who truly trust each other. Think about Josh Lyman on West Wing.
He can be blunt, sure, tactless occasionally, (laughs) but was his brand of candid honesty
integral to the running of possibly the best fictional government
our nation will ever see? (laughter from the audience) I think so. (laughs) Sometimes I get mad because I don’t think
they have enough interpersonal issues. So I’m like, “They’re always working
together to solve external problems, instead of getting lost
in petty infighting. Such a suspiciously ideal set
of humans working.” (everyone laughing) Thankfully, GitHub has embraced my love
of open lines of communication, and has one zillion ways
to communicate. We have a ton of topic-specific chat rooms,
github.com itself, pull-request discussions,
issues, internal apps, including a Twitter-style
status posting app called Team, as well as a longer form forum called Ideas. Of course, we do traditional email, IM,
texts, and emoji. Never forget the emoji, and the gifs. Another way I think
strong communication is key is feedback. No one exists in a void. Certainly no one exists well in a void.
Years ago I spent a lot of time going, “I clearly though out
every possible outcome of this.” But I learned that as soon as you say
something out loud to other people they kind of go, “Oh. What about this?” And you’re like, “I thought I thought
of everything. I didn’t think of that.” Running past your ideas past people
is incredibly refreshing. The power of an egoless, genuine exchange
from someone who hasn’t been locked down in the nitty-gritty
of the problem, and can come at it with a new set of eyes is
really unparallelled. They can see the holes in your process,
and speak to those where you’ve been in it for so long that you can no longer see
the forest for the trees, as they say. It works best when its a two-way street, and both parties want
the other to be better. Maybe the feedback you get includes
something you don’t agree with. Then you spend a few minutes going,
“Did I forget to explain a fundamental, key piece of this? Is there a reason?
May that one piece changes everything, and you forgot to mention it.
Ask questions. Have a conversation. And sometimes, you’re wrong.
It’s okay to be wrong. There are three sides- in case you’re
not reading the slide- there are three sides to every story –
yours, mine, and the truth. So okay, back to our disaster scenario;
I am dead. You are alive, and you’re fine. You can’t get a hold of your person.
You can’t get to Twitter. So you head out of the building,
and you walk out on to the street. You get in your car but you’re seeing
crazier-than-usual potholes in the road, and traffic is already starting
to get pretty crazy from everyone else jumping their cars,
and trying to get home. So you’re like, “Well, maybe
I’ll take the bus.” But you see a bus there. And it’s been
abandoned by the bus driver. He has peaced right out.
That’s cool, you’ll just Uber. (laughter from the audience) You decide to walk. You’re strolling
down town’s end here, and you get past the McDonalds,
and as you walk past you smell a gas, not like french fry gas, but gasoline, and you wonder, is that bad?
That’s probably bad. Something’s probably broken but you don’t
know how to turn it off. You’re a smart person, you know
how to turn your gas off at home. You have the fancy wrench, you know
how to do it, but this is McDonalds. Who cares about McDonalds? So you walk past McDonald’s
at about a block further down, you hear an explosion, and you turn to see
that that McDonald’s is now a blazing ball of fire. Luckily, you missed it. People are starting to emerge
from office buildings, dusty, a little bit dazed, not really knowing
what to do. It’s slowing starting to dawn on you that this is the big one.
Now let’s pause for a second and go into omniscient mode. The things
you don’t know yet: Infrastructure has collapsed
beyond what you can imagine. Major utility systems have buckled.
The water is out. The power is out. It’s daylight and you’re outside
so you haven’t really noticed, but at some point you’re going to wonder
how to charge your cellphone. Since water is out, the sewer is out.
We’re not going to talk about that one. (laughter from the audience) Natural gas is out, or it’s not out,
which may pose a bigger problem. Public transit is gone.
The roads are in pieces. The bridges are definitely out.
The bar tunnel has collapsed and flooded. If you don’t worry about this every time
you bart through that tunnel, now you will. (laughter from the audience) You’re welcome. (laughter from the audience) Some buildings have toppled. There is
an estimated six feet of glass piled on the streets of some parts of the Fi Di
from all the shattering glass in the highrises. You can
say we have problems. To contextualize this I’m actually going
to show you some footage of 1989, of the ’89 earthquake. I think
it starts out pretty funny. It gets serious pretty fast. Oh!(inaudible)Is there? I didn’t warn- Should I?- (everyone laughing) I don’t think I warned the video guys
that I was going to be playing video. How does that get?- I guess that this sound doesn’t
actually matter at all.(inaudible)(kids yelling)Poor kid. (laughter from the audience)911 emergency!(inaudible) bridges. What
about the (inaudible)
The deck appears to have collapsed
in the (inaudible) bridge (inaudible)
(groaning from the audience)The generator’s gone, and so we had
partial light. And we had to figure out
what to do, where to go,
what was happening,
how bad was it. We knew that we had
to get out to the air.
We know where the pavement is now.
Once again, a section of–
It’s pretty good. I’m sure a lot
of you’ve seen some of the bridge footage before.
That’s pretty iconic. I remember that earthquake.
My mother always swore that she had a sixth sense, she could hear
earthquakes coming before they happened. And, I don’t know if that’s true,
but what I remember is before I realized that earthquake
was happening- I lived in San Jose at the time- she had my younger brother,
and I by our arms, and we were like flying through the air to underneath
the dining room table before I realized there was an earthquake,
so there might be something to that. Oh. No, we don’t want to watch that again. So, humans are your biggest problem, the next thing start ups and
disasters have in common. (everyone laughs) Oh, I see! So you have to provide for them. Luckily,
that’s not your job. But you have to take care of yourself.
That is your job. And no one else is going to do it
for you. Ostensibly there’s a government organization
that’s in charge of this. You should do it yourself.
Looting is also a big problem. After every major modern disaster there is
a period of looting. You could say that human beings are
opportunistic jerks, which sometimes they are, but really,
they probably just need stuff. After a day or two of initial chaos,
a disaster becomes a military state. This happened in the the 1906 earthquake,
this happened at Katrina, this is how you reinstate order.
Martial law is declared, the military rolls in, if you haven’t been hurt
by the actual incident, there’s a great likelihood
that you get shot for looting (laughs). That’s not funny, sorry. (laughter from the audience) (laughs) Humans are your biggest problem.
In a disaster, you have to take care of a lot of humans who are unprepared
to take care of themselves. A few days ago, I did
a dry run on this talk- that’s true of start ups, as well, in a role like mine.- A few days ago,
I did a dry run of this talk, and the person I was doing it for
asked me, “So why are humans your biggest problem?” And I was like, “How are they not?
Basically, you name it and it has been mucked up by humans
in some shape or form.” But then, what I realized I meant is that humans
are your biggest logistical problem. They’re messy, literally, and emotionally. Never let anyone tell you
that nerds don’t have feelings. They are insanely needy. They need
to be fed, they need to be watered, they need their paychecks
consistently, and on time. (laughter from the audience) They need health insurance in case
they get sick. They need a cool office to come to everyday. They need their specifically-flavored soda
in a specifically-shaped vessel. (laughter from the audience) True story. GitHub’s first salesman and I
went through this year-long battle over ordering diet coke
in cans versus bottles. (laughs) This is all fine of course, because this is job security
for me. (laughs) Humans at scale are your biggest problem.
When I was planning CodeConf, I was like, “Wow! I cannot do all this by myself.
I need a lot of help in the days leading up to the conference
as well as the day of, and it was going to get
prohibitively expensive to hire this out. We needed people
to assemble name tags, swag bags, do preregistration,
and day of registration, do the shop booth, answer questions,
direct people where to go, so I sold what I thought of at the time as the San Francisco
bicycle coalition model, and offered free entry to the conference
for anyone who volunteered a four-hour chunk of their time. Since it was a pretty sweet deal,
and pretty great hourly rate, I gave students, interns, and other non-highly-
compensated individuals priority. I got a great response
and ended up having all the help that I needed without having
to tap into existing GitHub employees for their time. The icing on the cake
of that experiment was that almost all my volunteers were
awesome people, and wonderful to work with, and, in fact, two
of my volunteers now work at GitHub. Any growing company gets
the eternal question of, ” What will the company look like
in x month or x years?” In the early day this question used
to make us groan. We would get it from banks and financial people.
We would get it from real estate agents. It’s a completely valid question,
especially if you need to do capacity planning for things
like a office. But we didn’t have a CFO until about a year ago.
So there was no one creating budgets, or modelling on our growth,
we were always just like, “We don’t know how big we’re going to be
in a year- like, we’re busy. We’re like, doing things. We’re making
things happen like, all we know is things are going really well,
and they are going to keep going really well, and no, we have no idea
how many square feet of office space we need. (laughs)
No idea.” Humans are tricky. The problem, of course, with humans being
your biggest problem is that they are also your greatest asset.
In fact, they’re all that really matters, And, I mean that in the most
like esoteric, touchy-feely, like, “let’s all hug it out,” kumbya way. Next. You have to be prepared for anything
both at a start up, and in our disaster, which you are wandering
around the streets of San Francisco right now,
I will remind you. I was a girl scout, which pobably explains
the last 20 minutes of your life. Suck it. The girl scout motto is “Be prepared.” So, lets zoom back into your physical body
from omniscient mode. Let’s say you live in Mission. You’re entering The Mission,
and you’re rounding the corner on your meeting spot. You’re
a very smart person. You have set up a predetermined meeting spot
with your significant other. You said, “Okay. Well, if we can’t call
each other, if there’s no electronic means of communication,
we’ll meet at x street corner as soon as we can.” You’ve done this ahead of time.
You’re going to go home and do this. Make sure its not Dolores Park
because everyone has beat you to that. (laughter from the audience) But pick a spot. You have to pick
one spot. So you’re right on the corner on the spot that you have predetermined.
There waiting for you is a very relieved lover, roommate, bff,
dog-walker, I don’t care. Together, you walk back to your house, still absorbing all the damage
that you see. Entire buildings are gone, broken fire hydrants are spraying water,
although you notice with some alarm that the water pressure has been
diminishing rapidly on your walk. People are still milling around. Some
of them pretty obviously hurt. You get to the block
that your building is on, nervous about what you’ll see. Miraculously it’s intact.
So what do you have in your house? Some of you are starting
to tune out. Let me just bring it home to you. (laughter from the audience) This is seven gallons of water. The American Red Cross recommends
one gallon of water per person per day for five days. It used to be three days,
but after Katrina, they hadn’t gotten to everyone in three days,
so now its five. This is two extra gallons,
so you may have a pet, or maybe a shower, or save half
of another person. (laughter from the audience) (laughs) This is- I think took
a little out of this, actually.- This is backpacking food. You need food
in your house. This is 13 servings, or 13 meals, so a little over three days.
These are single servings of the same. You can do cans. It doesn’t matter.
I don’t care. I do backpacking food because this shit’s delicious, like,
I look forward to this. (laughter from the audience) And all you need is water, you don’t
even need heat, really, I don’t know, and a radio. Ostensibly the- we’ll get
there. It’s fine. (laughter from the audience) In theory, San Francisco’s
outdoor warning system, that thing that goes off every Tuesday,
It should work, and it should be broadcasting information.
It is solar-powered. But if it doesn’t you should really have
a radio. And this is the one, guys. It’s the one recommended
by the American Cross, So it’s hand-cranked, it’s solar-powered,
and it also has a USB charger, so you can still charge
your useless phone! Isn’t that cool? Get that. So,
in addition to having a predetermined meeting spot, you have
enough water for everyone in your house, for five days, again one gallon per person
per day for five days. You have food for as long as you want,
at least five days, and you have a radio. Still no-
no one’s coming for you. (laughter from the audience) A lot of earthquake preparedness kits have
things like band-aids in them, which is a huge pet peeve of mine.
If you need a band-aid, you don’t have problems. (audience laughing) You could argue something about infection,
but how often have you gotten an infection from a tiny cut
that you needed a band-aid for? You haven’t. I could probably give another
full-length talk on what I actually think should go
into a medical kit. We’re going to skip that. Most people also have things
like flashlights, space blankets, ways to entertain the kiddies.
Those are all pretty secondary. This is almost all you need, sort of.
Extreme weather is not usually a big thing in San Francisco. I know
that feels false after the last couple of weeks. But you might have to put
on a sweater. (everyone laughs) At this point in my– (everyone laughs) Oh, you can’t! Neither can I. It’s fine. (laughter from the audience) At this point, because I do this song
and dance for all my friends, in fact, I regularly buy these for people
as gifts- it’s not a good gift- (laughter from the audience) people usually say, “Well, I’ll be fine.
It’s fine. I’ll just come to your house.” (everyone laughing) And I’m like, “Do not come to my house.
I have enough of this for me and my family. I will bludgeon
you to death with my now useless laptop (audience laughing) no matter how much I love you. You can
come to my house but it’s BYO survival. Bring your water. Those are heavy.
But come, come over.” The need to be prepared for anything is
how Org Org was born. Who here is OrgOrg? Yeah, yeah, yeah, okay. OrgOrg is short
for “Organization Organizers” or the people in charge
of keeping the lights on at start ups, tech companies. It’s a group
of non-technical people working in tech companies and small companies around the world.
We leave it fairly broad, but essentially the focus is
internal-facing support people at a company, business operations,
office managers, HR people, facilities, EA, concierge, anyone who keeps
the wheels turning, and the human-shaped problems happy.
I call it internal-facing support because if you think about it,
basically every time you go and ask your office manager
or operations person for a new gadget, or a better chair,
or a different kind of lunch, you’re more or less filing
a support request, and they pile up fast.
If you’ve ever worked in support, take a minute to think
about how stressful it can be when someone wants something from you. And now think about how stressful
it would be when you got regularly conflicting things
(laughs) requested. And think about, for each one of those
that you either don’t or can’t satisfy, think of them as someone who is going
to glare at you for the next week, or worse, hold it against you forever,
or worse, go into anaphylactic shock, because you accidentally fed them peanuts.
That’s never happened to us before, Not on my watch. (laughs) We created
OrgOrg out of a need. Sharon Schmidt from Heroku- Heroku’s me,
their first non-technical person- and I would get together
for coffee fairly regularly, and we would often compare growth notes,
or ask how the other person was handling a particular situation.
And we got to talking about how nice it would be to have a group
of people who did what we did that we could talk to. The idea was
to have this group of people get together periodically,
and either discuss a problem or have someone who had been
in an operations role come in and talk to the group about a specific thing.
Shortly thereafter, I met Kim Rohrer of Disqus who at the time was
our downstairs neighbor, she was in a similar role as Sharon and I.
She was the only person in a non-technical role at a tech company.
And, she came upstairs to ask a question about the building. We got to talking
about this concept of a group, and Kim, always the doer, started one. We began
as about seven people. We had a lovely picnic lunch
in Yerba Buena Gardens one sunny day. That was almost exactly
three years ago, and 480 members ago. That represents over 200 companies.
I like that one! In practice, the way the group has manifested is
more of a brain trust. Someone sends out a message and is like,
“Hey! I have this problem. I need a good real estate agent, I need
a last minute caterer, I’m looking for good HR software,
what do you recommend? I basically would have killed
for this resource six or seven years ago
at the beginning of my career. The group gets really fascinating
occasionally when the conversation turns to behaviors. “Why do I have to clean up
after them? Cleaning dishes was not on my job description.
Does anyone ever feel like they are part
of a not-so-subtle second class? We’re not here to discuss these issues
today. That’s a totally different talk. But they are my favorite, and one
of the things I enjoy most about the group. And yet, no matter
how prepared you think you are, how many resources you have
at your disposal, monetary or otherwise, how sure you are
that you’ve thought of everything at a start up, or in a disaster, (laughter from the audience) something is always on fire. Now,
in our earthquake scenario, you have turned to the corner.
You are at your home. You have all of your supplies.
Nothing has gone wrong for you, not so much with me.
You are home. You are safe. You are fed. You are watered. You have
the next couple of days, and you are fine. You’re going to be fine.
There are a million things that could have gone wrong
during your journey. Your day could have been complicated
right off the bat by a broken leg, or a mild concussion
at the initial onset of the earthquake. You could have been trapped
in the building. You could have walked past the McDonald’s
2 minutes later than you did, and been consumed in a fiery ball
of french fry grease. Your partner might have never shown up
at your meeting spot. Maybe you get back to your home
or apartment and it had been flattened, taking all your wonderful disaster
preparedness with it. Maybe your home literally catches on fire
moments before you get there. But none of these things happens.
You’re so lucky. Anyone know who this guy is, er where he is? (audience member) (inaudible) Yes! Thank you! He’s in one of these.
So you see these around the city a lot. It’s a cistern. I’m so proud of you!
There are over 100. I think there are 116 of these. They’re full
of water. They were put in place in the city in 1908
after the ’06 earthquake, and they are full of water, so that if our water supply gets cut off, the firefighters still have water to fight
fires with. Yeah, that’s a bad day. (laughter from the audience) I feel like I’ve had work days like that. (laughter from the audience) At a start up everything always
sort of feels like that. Something is always on fire. If you’re
the only non-technical ops person in the room, next thing is
both easier and harder; easier because you could tell at a glance
if it’s your fire or not: “Oh, the site is down? We can’t
really do anything about that.” “Oh, a pile of ravenous code monkeys
who have been debugging the site for hours? I can fix that one.” Harder because a lot of the time, you are
the only person fighting your fires. I was the only non-technical person
at GitHub for two years. It’s kind of a lonely place to be. And even when you start growing the general
and administrative branch of a company, there’s often only one bizoff person,
office manager, executive assistant, whoever it is. And you kind of go, “Wow,
its really lonely over here buried in this pile of due diligence paperwork,
which she ends up digging out. When something is always on fire, you have
to remember to triage on every level. Everything is always wrong, and to avoid
going crazy, you can’t focus on the sheer number of things
you have to do. What’s the most important? Focus on that
first. You have to have a person, or more likely a group of people,
at the top level, doing this for the company. Then you need one
for products, you need one for teams, and, of course, you need to always be
your own. Nothing gets done if you’re spending all of your time
worrying about the fact that nothing is ever getting done. The other key is finding a group of people
you can trust. Delegate things to them, and trust them. If they fail,
was that you? Did you do that? Did you fail either in your assessment
of their abilities, or, more likely, the way in which you communicated
your needs to them? How many people do you think
you can manage at once? That number probably varies from person
to person. It is almost assuredly far less than you think it is. Every person
over the number of people that you can successfully devote
the needed amount of time to, is another person that you are failing,
and another weak point in your organization. Alright, recap: this
is all- Please! Please! Backpacking food? All of this you can buy on Amazon,
by the way. Okay so can walk into- you can walk into your Sports Basement
and buy one of these, any camping goods store, you can buy
one of these. They will probably go, “Going to Burning Man?” You’ll be like, “No, not going
to Burning Man.” You can also order these on Amazon.
They’re like $17:00. They’re super cheap. Go! One for every person in your house.
Food? Free to go. That’s all, just start there. I’d like to think
that some of the things I said have gotten you thinking. The advice
in this talk is very surface, novelty. There are a thousand other things you can
do to prepare for an earthquake. I encourage you to look into them.
I omitted a ton, glossed over things, trivialized. If you are serious
about being prepared, educate yourself further. I can tweet out
like a gist of these links later, or something. There’s a lot
of good stuff in there. That’s it! Thanks guys! (audience applauding) ♪ (music) ♪ PASSION PROJECTS: MELISSA SEVERINI I’ve been torturing Melissa all week.
She’s been texting me, “What are the questions?
Tell me the questions.” (audience laughing) I haven’t answered.
I just played dead, you know? (laughter from the audience) Now you have – to tell me.
– Yeah now, unfortunately, but you’re in my house now.
Okay. So, everyone at GitHub has a Melissa story, because she was
the first employee here, everyone has one. So my Melissa story,
which is good, don’t be- this is not what we do in our private time. This is– (Melissa) It wasn’t– (Julie) GitHub, sorry. So, when I was interviewing at GitHub,
I was really concerned with the fact that there weren’t any technical women
on the product teams, and so, a big thing that I look for in companies
I want to work with is I want to make sure that its
a good environment for women to be in, and one
that they are not afraid of. So, I was interviewing at also a bar,
if you’ve noticed a pattern over here, and I’d walk in, and Chris, the founder,
and Melissa are sitting there having their one-on-one, and Melissa
just does this thing with me, where she just looks me- you know, turns
to me square- Are you going to cry? Don’t cry. Don’t cry. And she goes, “Hi!
I’m Melissa. It’s so great to meet you, I can’t wait to work with you!” I don’t know if that was
your exact words, but that’s what I felt like– (Melissa) Probably– You said that with your eyes, maybe. (Melissa) Yeah! (laughter from the audience) But it was like, one of those moments
for me where I was like, “Wow! Okay, this woman wants to work with more women.
That’s such a rare thing in tech. People are very concerned with being
the only women in tech, most of the time.” (Melissa) More women! Yeah, more women. So that was
a great sign, and that was actually one of the reasons that I joined GitHub.
And I think a lot of people have these Melissa stories, and I guess
what I’m trying to get at is you have this special skill
that you won’t admit to, most of the time, – for making people–
– You weren’t going to tell anyone what me special skill is. (laughter from the audience) I’m glad this is the last one of the year.
I’m getting really tired of all this innuendo. (laughs) So you have
this special skill of making people feel like they’re a part of the team. And many people here have admitted to it,
it’s not just me- admitted to it like we were held at gunpoint or something. (laughter from the audience) One other of Melissa’s – special skills.
– Also a skill– (laughter from the audience) Where do you think that that part of you
comes from? Is it something you inherited from your parents? Is it life experience? (laughter from the audience) Is it genetic? Are you ready for- Oh God– (Julie) I’m ready. Strangers are just friends
you haven’t met yet. (laughter from the audience) (Melissa) No, but it’s true! (laughs) (laughter from the audience) (Melissa) Think about the number of people
you know now, the people you are actually friends with now,
that you are close to, who you would call in an emergency.
How many of those people did you know five years ago, or ten years ago? I think
there are wonderful people everywhere. There are absolutely people who are
exceptions to that case. Make no mistake. (laughter from the audience) But most people are truly genuinely good,
well-intentioned, and- I mean, especially in a vulnerable situation
like an interview. God, that’s terrifying, like,
why would you not take every opportunity to be like, “Come.
Come here, like just- it’s okay.” We’ve all been there. That sucks. (Julie) So you’re saying this is
something that can be learned. I’m stupid (laughs) (laughter from the audience) You trust too many people, may be. Is that a skill that you think
people can learn, that people can learn
to communicate better, and be those – types of people?
– Absolutely. Yes. – Yeah.
– Cool. I was reading something really cheesy
recently that I cannot quote properly, but it was about finding something
that you liked in people that you weren’t even that fond of,
and speaking to that piece in particular, because there is something like that
in every person- most people. (Julie and some audience members laughing) Asterisk. Yeah. How do you hire for that, in a team? – Oh, that’s a–
– Got to talk – into the mike.
– That’s a great – question. (Julie laughing) I mean, some people-
it’s immediately obvious. When you’re talking about people
in technical companies, in a technical capacity, who are an overwhelming majority
natural introverts, that gets significantly harder.
I don’t know if I have an answer for that. That’s a great question. (Julie) Take them to a bar.
Make them ride a bike. Don’t- you don’t need- I mean, alcohol is
obviously a vehicle for loosening people up and getting them to talk,
or relax, or be more themselves, but that’s not- don’t take them to a bar. (Julie) Cool. Are there specific roles
at a company that you think people with that special skill,
like making people feel like their a part of the team, where do you think those people mostly lie
in a company? Are they mostly in operational roles, or? I think every team could benefit
from someone like that. I think a lot of natural introverts
really, you know, have a chance to thrive when they have someone they feel
comfortable enough with who can also kind of translate their awkwardness
into something that makes a little more sense. Most of those roles
are operational, yeah. I think a lot of GitHub’s onboarding people
are very warm people, very welcoming, and I think that’s
a big piece, in that first week at a new company, with this enormous learning curve,
where you’re terrified, and every face is a new face, having
someone who looks familiar, and feels familiar, and kind
is really powerful. What do you think was the hardest part
of being the first woman at a start up? (Julie) If you just want
to eye-roll that’s okay. (laughter from the audience) (Julie) Hard questions, I know. (man from the audience) Throw softballs! (laughter from the audience) (Melissa laughing) (Julie) I only do it because I love you– Do you want a list? (laughs) (Julie) Yeah! Let’s do it! The first year that I worked
for the company, we didn’t have an office at all. I worked
from my pajamas, I don’t know if anybody else got dressed. There was
no office. I probably saw the other couple of employees, you know, a couple of times
at the most. The next year that we had an office, we had an office
with one bathroom. Never share one bathroom
with eight men, ever. (laughter from the audience) So, Beth was the first person who came,
and joined the company, and it’s so funny, She just talked, like,
I wasn’t used to it. She would like, tell me about her friends,
and her family, and what was going on in her life, and I would always look
at her, and be like, “I am busy. I like you. Why are you talking? Oh,
this is what girls do! We talk!” I was so used to working with guys,
and if we were talking to each other, we were saying a set of things
that I just did not understand at all, and it was really nice
to have a human again. That’s great. So for those of you
who don’t know, Melissa is– (laughter from the audience) Humans- Men are not human-
no I just kidding. (laughs) No, that’s not what I mean! (audience clapping and laughing) Yeah. (laughs) So, for those of you
who don’t know, Melissa’s responsible for a big of the- I don’t want to say
female but- ladies of GitHub culture here, and it’s something that made me feel
really comfortable, and a lot of the other women who work here.
And it was definitely a culture of- or it is a culture of women
who support each other, and don’t tear each other down,
and this was the first place that I have ever been where that’s been
the case. How important is it to build that strong female culture early,
and how do you do it? The most important? (laughs) Is there
anything more important? (Julie) By the way, Passion Projects
came out of this, right? I felt empowered to do something like that
at a company of mostly men, and I feel like that’s not normally the case, so. There is a Tina Fey quote. I don’t know
if you are familiar with Tina Fey, Julie. (laughter from the audience) Tina Fey is Julie’s favorite. Fave! Something along the lines of “You not
competing-” You know how a lot of women feel like you’re competing
with the other women in the room? (Julie) You say it,
I’ll correct you. Yeah. Okay, thank you. Okay. So I think
it’s a lot of women feel like they’re competing
with other women for things, where you’re actually competing
with everyone, and that’s absolutely true. And, in fact, I think
other women are actually your biggest allies. You have
so much more in common. Can I say it? Oh, no! I’m not going
to say that, never mind. (Julie) You got it pretty close,
pretty close. I think– – Don’t tell me–
– So, the good part about it is, especially with regard
to men, men will try to trick you, or they will try- I don’t know who “they”
is. They will try to trick you into thinking you are competing
with other women. You know, if Barbara is up for a promotion, it’ll be
between me and Barbara, when that’s not true. You’re competing
with everyone in the room. That suggests a world where the woman is
still a novelty, and she’s a one off, and there aren’t going to be any more,
so you aren’t in competition with each other, which kind of did happen
in the 1950’s when women started participating in business really. And that’s just flat out
not the case anymore. I’m looking around this room, there’s
more than 50 percent women, and that’s awesome! Please more,
especially in tech! We’re in such a minority right now.
Every single woman that joined GitHub, I was like, “Please, come here!
Welcome. I’m so happy to see you! Don’t go! Don’t go any where!” (Julie) “Please don’t leave” “Let’s be friends!” (laughs) (Julie) Says the woman
who left me last month. Okay. Whatever. (everyone laughing) Jerk! So, what do you think being here
so early- one of our past speaks, Leslie Bradshaw had
something really smart to say about, you know, the one thing,
if she could go back when she was starting a company,
the one thing that she would get right the first time, and it was, “Hire a CPA,
hire an accountant immediately, because we have debts,
and that’s an important thing.” What do you think is the one thing
that you would have done differently, or the one thing that you have to do
when you start a company? Those are two different questions. Answer both. (Melissa and audience laughing) I agree with Leslie Bradshaw,
wholeheartedly. Bookkeeping is the worse thing. Where’s [Salone]?
Where’s Alison? (cheering) Hi guys! But GitHub actually outsources that,
so I actually never had to do- I had to do that for the last company
I worked for, and it’s not fun, and I’m not that good at it. So luckily,
when I joined GitHub, the guys in that first interview, they were like,
“Hey. So we actually have a bookkeeper. Is that cool?” And I was like, “Oh yeah,
that’s great! That’s great!” (laughter from the audience) So I never had to do any of that
for GitHub, which is great, so full agreement on that. What do I wish I had done better? (Julie) Yeah. Use more exclamation points? (laughter from the audience) I went through this long phase
where I was like, “Do everything like a man,” which included sending emails
that weren’t- they were clear, they were concise, they had a maximum
of one exclamation point, but basically never had
an exclamation point, and certainly no happy faces. And I think
that might’ve- I mean, contrary to all the kind things
that Julie has just said about making women at GitHub
feel welcome, I kind of worry that that alienated a couple of people
when I was just sending these emails that were like- that’s it. I don’t know.
That sounds really trite. I’m sorry. (Julie) Just like your emails! Great! (everyone laughing) (Julie) We have fun! (audience members and Melissa laughing) (Julie) This is fun! Okay, so, if could
do it all over again, you’ve already done a fantastic job of building
a strong female culture here, but what would you do to make sure
that this was a great environment for women to work in if you were starting
your new company? What would you do first? Specifically to build
a good environment for women. Are you implying its not perfect? (Julie and audience members laughing) (Melissa laughing) Do you read my Twitter stream? Of course
it’s not perfect. Nothing’s perfect. Nothing’s perfect. (Julie) Nothing’s perfect. No I mean like,
what can we do in the industry though? I mean, everyone here works at a start up,
right? Who doesn’t start at a start up? Okay. Forget- You guys can leave now. (audience laughing) I’m just kidding. – Please stay.
– Don’t [inaudible] (Julie) What did you do? What can we do
to make tech a better place for women to be other than have two bathrooms? (Melissa and audience members laughing) And toilet paper- Buy
toilet paper, you guys! (Melissa laughing) Buy toilet paper. (laughter from the audience) It’s obvious that we have a problem.
I mean, I think I would prefer to have more technical women, and it is just
flat out difficult to find them. (Julie) I found them. What are you– – Julie found them.
– I found them. – Found them–
– They’re hiding somewhere– She found them. – Bring them here!
– Yeah! I tried. Where are they hiding?
Is there like a room full of- (Julie and audience members laughing) Is that where the internet comes from? We trapped them. That’s why you’re all really here. (Melissa laughing) Trapped them here. No. I think also having
an early technical female employee – will help
– That would be really- that would be amazing. would be really awesome. – Yes, please–
– Moving on– Yep. I mean, right now we’re at a point
where we need to be more concious about it and probably
a little more nurturing. You know, the talk I was going to give-
Is my laptop still here? You don’t get to give another talk. It was like a one-minute talk, which is
why it was not the talk. It was explaining nerds to nerds. (Julie) Nerds to- (laughs) It was an amazing talk. It was
one minute. (laughs) (audience laughing) (some guy from the audience)
Will you give it now? Can I get my slides back? (laughs) No. Don’t give them to her. We have – 27 seconds left–
– I will give it later– Okay, one more question.
I have one more question then maybe we’ll try to take some
from the audience. What’s next for Melissa?
What’s the next step? That’s a great question. I have a sweater
that I’ve been knitting for– (audience laughing) for possibly longer
than GitHub has existed. (laughter from the audience) I’m going to finish that fucker. (audience cheering and applauding) I’m reading a lot of good books. (laughs) (Julie) And then? I might plan a couple of conferences
next year. I will eventually start looking for a next little baby GitHub
to nurture, to deliver in the back of an ambulance,
and then nurture into a – full capacity–
– she’s talking – about companies, not men, by the way.–
– two hundred-and-thirty-person company – You can tell I’m tough–
– So I am looking- What? (Julie) I was making jokes to myself.
This is more fun for me than for her, let’s just put it that way. (Melissa laughing) Okay. And then? You know, look for next time. Okay. Maybe I’ll go to paramedic’s school,
but, but- oh, maybe business school. Should I go to business school? (audience members) No! (laughter from the audience) (Julie) You’re the first employee
of GitHub. You don’t have to ever go to school again! Think about the piece of paper,
like everyone will listen– I’ll make you one. (Melissa and audience laughing) I’ll draw you one with crayons! Come on! Okay. Done. Yes! I think Melissa should be one
of your start up COO’s. So, she’s looking. Hire her – in a year or so–
– I’m looking that hard. Can you call me in three months?
Three months is good. She sewed that sweater. (laughter from the audience) I have to finish the sweater. Just kidding, that’s generous. So, does
the audience have any questions, now that I’m done beating Melissa up? (Melissa laughing) Yeah! Laura, Laura. (Laura) What’s your background? (Julie) What’s your background? (Julie) School would have
come in handy now. (Melissa) I didn’t go to school, which is
why I’m still trying to figure out the business degree thing. I am
from the Bay Area originally. I spent eight years in Portland, OR,
I’ve been back in San Francisco for five. Before GitHub, I did
basically the same thing at another- It was a Ruby on Rails consultancy.
Up in Portland before that, I did medical admin
for the craziest surgeon, like, crazy, crazy doctor, people.
Don’t do that. What else? Anything else? Anything specific?
I like knitting. I would knit, if I had time. (laughs) I like going on long bike rides. (Melissa and audience members laughing) I’m actually really boring, sorry.
(laughs) Say again? Do you want to date me?- “Do you like
long walks on the beach? Call me!” (laughter from the audience) Oh, Julie’s mad now. Not in front of Kevin! That’s so mean. Sorry, baby. (laughs) Do we have any other questions?
Yes, yes, Rachel. (Rachel) Okay so– (Melissa) Hi! (Rachel) Hi! (Melissa) I love you! (laughter from the audience) (Rachel) You talked a little one way,
in the case of the natural disaster, the sewer [inaudible] (Melissa) Oh no! Don’t! (laughs) (applause and laughter from the audience) (Rachel) what do you actually do? (laughter from the audience) Rachel’s question is,
“In the event of a disaster, when the sewer system
is out what do you do?” And she’s asking this because, I chose not
to go into this during the dry run of my talk, a couple of days ago.
I will now go into it, Rachel. Because everything is out, your toilet
no longer flushes, like really everything. I could spend a whole other hour talking about how awful everything
actually is going to be- shitty. (laughter from the audience) So, the sewer system doesn’t work,
the water doesn’t work, your toilet no longer flushes. Bio hazard
is a real problem in disasters like this so you’re going to poop in a bag,
like, you’re going to poop in a bag. You’re going to get an industrial– (laughs) (laughter from the audience) In a perfect world, again,
while you’re ordering your water canister on Amazon, you can
actually also buy a five-gallon bucket, (laughter from the audience) It’s serious. What’s worse than pooping
in a bucket is the bio hazard that would ensue if you just decided
to poop in the gutters- (laughs) (laughter from the audience) Thanks- Everyone thank Rachel. (laughs) (Julie) Thanks, Rachel! (cheering and applause from the audience) I think I have time
for like one more question– Can we please not end on that question? Yeah. Anybody ask anything. (Melissa) Hi! Is that Justine? (Justine) Yeah. (Melissa) Hey! (Justine) Hey! (Melissa) Yeah! (Justine) So, I’m interested- how do you
feel specifically about women in tech, and women in tech who elect to curl
their hair, wear make up, there’s kind of this difference between certain women
in tech, and it’s something that everyone has been interested in
lately. Like, what’s your advice to women who maybe elect to go
the curly hair, makeup route as opposed to the [inaudible] jeans route? (Melissa) That’s a great question. I sort of deliberately avoided the women
in tech thing in my talk, just because I think there are a lot more people who can speak to that
much more intelligently than I can. I do have firsthand experience,
but I haven’t- It’s something I like to avoid. But that’s a great question,
and especially that divide is a really great question. I remember
going back to Rachel over there, poop-question Rachel. (Melissa and audience laughing) I remember a time where I- we had
a conversation and she was like, “Wow! You like- It’s funny
because you wear skirts, and dresses, and I feel
like that’s exactly what I kind of can’t or shouldn’t do
because that sort of sets apart-” She’s a developer and she was like,
“I feel like I shouldn’t do the set of things because it kind of sets me apart
as a person who cares– (Justine) Turned
into a [inaudible] status Right! Like you’re suddenly like, “Oh,
like you have a different set of priorities, or whatever.”
And you’re just like- The short answer is, “Rock whatever it is
that does it for you.” (Julie) Absolutely. Own it,
and just like own your otherness completely. Like I felt – really–
– Yes!– similarly to you, Justine,
coming into tech, especially when– (Justine) Show up in a purple! Yeah! Like, guys especially will point
out, even early in my career, when I wore lipstick
or anything like that, I think I tried really hard to play down
my femininity for the first couple of years I was in tech. Now that I payed my dues, I don’t give
a fuck who knows I’m a girl. (laughter from the audience) (Justine) You got tits. Yeah. I actually think it’s more powerful
when you can wear lipstick and write better code than someone. (Melissa and audience members laughing) And on that note, I have
a very special surprise for Melissa. She’s just mad at me because last time
it was her birthday, and I’ve [inaudible] (laughs) So this is pretty symbolic for GitHub,
and for us in general, but we want to say, “Thank you,” but our very first female intern is here
to give you your thank you gift for doing Passion Projects.
So it’s pretty symbolic for us, the first female employee,
and the first female intern. (applause from the audience) [applause and cheering from the audience] Melissa has helped pave the way
for both [Minijar] our first intern, and myself, and I don’t think I can
express the right kind of gratitude without crying up here,
and I won’t do that to you, because we’ve got more booze to drink,
and more food to eat. So thank you all for being here, and thank you most of all,
Melissa for everything you’ve done – for this company–
– I would like to thank the academy– (laughter from the audience) my mother- (Julie) Can we give her
a huge round of applause? (applause and cheering from the audience) ♪ (music) ♪ PASSION PROJECTS: MELISSA SEVERINI

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