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The Other Side of Empathy - JSConf Budapest

The Other Side of Empathy - JSConf Budapest

Empathy is a skill that is sorely lacking in the tech industry, as folks tend to care more about code and tools than the people with whom they're working. Empathy is something that can be learned and applied to our everyday work and beyond. This is an intro to encouraging and exemplifying empathy.

This is an iteration on my previous presentation for JSConf Budapest. I've updated it to include more examples from various projects.



May 12, 2016


  1. The Other Side of Empathy

  2. An Intro to Encouraging & Exemplifying Empathy

  3. None
  4. Who Am I?

  5. Who Am I? Nick Hehr Empathetic Community Member Hoodie Maintainer

    Tessel Team Member ManhattanJS Organizer
  6. None
  7. Why Do I Care?

  8. Why Do I Care? I Community

  9. None
  10. Who Should Care?

  11. Everybody

  12. None
  13. What Is Empathy?

  14. What Is Empathy? Seeing the world through the eyes of

    someone else.
  15. What Is Empathy? The ability to understand and share the

    feelings of another.
  16. Where Did The Other Side of Empathy Come From?

  17. Where Did It Come From? • Using Twitter • Snap

    Judgements • Mob Mentality
  18. Breakdown

  19. Breakdown • Context • Constructive Feedback • Communication • Caring

  20. Context

  21. The internal and external factors that influence the decisions we

    make and actions we take.
  22. How It Relates • No One is Un-Opinionated • We

    All Have Biases • Listening is Key • “Why?”
  23. None
  24. Set The Example

  25. Example Code Comments

  26. “What the heck was I thinking while writing this bit

    of code?”
  27. https://github.com/tessel/t2-cli/blob/ 24fdd7d28c58f5183c900f5f8258dcd76dcc57a0/lib/tessel/

  28. Remembering Context • Take A Deep Breath • Clear Your

    Mind • Ask “Why?” (sincerely) • Listen
  29. Constructive Feedback

  30. The return of information that helps to develop or improve.

  31. How It Relates “If you don’t have anything nice to

    say, then don’t say anything at all.”
  32. None
  33. How It Relates “If you don’t have anything nice to

    say, then don’t say anything at all.”
  34. How It Relates “If you don’t have anything nice to

    say, then don’t say anything at all.”
  35. How It Relates “If you don’t have anything constructive to

    say, then don’t say anything at all.”
  36. What about negative feedback?

  37. None
  38. Good Feedback > 140 characters

  39. None
  40. • Mutually Agreed Upon • Set Up With Expectations •

    In An Open Space • Shared With Context Constructive Feedback is…
  41. Example Code Reviews

  42. It is intended to find and fix mistakes overlooked, improving

    both the overall quality of software and developers' skills.
  43. Encouraging Constructive Feedback

  44. None
  45. https://github.com/atom/atom/blob/master/ CONTRIBUTING.md

  46. https://github.com/hoodiehq/hoodie/blob/master/ CONTRIBUTING.md

  47. https://help.github.com/articles/creating-an-issue- template-for-your-repository/

  48. Communication

  49. The successful sharing of ideas and feelings between people.

  50. Communication is how we interact with each other.

  51. How It Relates • What We Say • How We

    Say It • Where We Say It
  52. “I” Statements For Giving Constructive Feedback For Getting Context

  53. “You” Statements For Getting Context For Giving Constructive Feedback

  54. Example Switching Platforms

  55. How We Communicate • General = Slack • Standups =

    Hangouts / In-Person • Recorded Discussions = GitHub Issues • Long-Form / Async = Email
  56. Creating Communication

  57. None
  58. None
  59. None
  60. https://<your-team>.slack.com/ customize/slackbot

  61. Caring

  62. To provide the needs of something and show interest in

  63. How It Relates • Sharing • Listening • Understanding

  64. How Much Do You Care?

  65. Do You Care Enough… • To Write A Blog Post?

    • To File An Issue? • To Send An Email? • To Record A Screencast? • To Submit A Pull Request?
  66. – Yoda “Don’t give in to hate. It leads to

    the Dark Side.”
  67. Example Documentation

  68. Documentation Matters • Wikis • Code Comments • Styleguides •

    Pattern Libraries • README.md
  69. Exemplifying Caring

  70. http://meow.noopkat.com/the-avrgirl-project-manual- testing/

  71. http://meow.noopkat.com/the-avrgirl-project-manual- testing/

  72. http://meow.noopkat.com/the-avrgirl-project-manual- testing/

  73. Mentoring Matters • Remember Starting Out? • Did You Have

    A Mentor? • Did You Want A Mentor? • Do You Want To Learn?
  74. Be aware of how we care.

  75. Contributing • Just Listen For A Day • Apply The

    Examples • Start Off Small • Remain Open to Sharing
  76. “It still sounds like too much work.”

  77. None
  78. By applying empathy to connect with others professionally, we can

    begin to connect with others personally.
  79. Resources

  80. http://rosenfeldmedia.com/books/practical-empathy/

  81. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Nonviolent-Communication-Language- Marshall-Rosenberg/dp/1892005034/277-4832642-4055434?

  82. http://www.creativityincbook.com

  83. http://more-empathy.online

  84. https://github.com/HipsterBrown/the-other-side-of- empathy

  85. Thank You