CompanyJanuary 17, 2020

Contributing to the Cassandra Community with Your Story

Patrick McFadin
Patrick McFadinVP, Developer Relations & Cassandra Committer
Contributing to the Cassandra Community with Your Story

It’s that time again, DataStax Accelerate is right around the corner and the call for papers is closing soon (January 29). There are two opportunities to tell your story this year: San Diego and London. We want to bring together the Cassandra community and provide a great place to share and interact with each other. Part of our commitment to the community is making sure we have community voices reviewing talk submissions and ensuring we have the best of the community represented. 

This year’s CFP committee has some notable community members reviewing talks: 

  • Nate McCall, Apache Cassandra project chair 
  • Stefania Alborghetti, Cassandra committer from DataStax
  • Dinesh Joshi, Cassandra committer from Apple
  • Vinay Chella, Cassandra committer from Netflix
  • Dikang Gu, Cassandra committer from Instagram
  • Aaron Ploetz, NoSQL Engineering Lead from Target


That’s quite a lineup and I’m sure if you have been to a Cassandra conference, you’ve seen at least one of them giving a talk. We are truly lucky to get their time and expert guidance as we try to create the best conference we can.

Now the community needs you. 

There is a saying in open source software “a contribution is a contribution” which is a funny way of saying “everything counts.” But if you take a random sample from community members about what a contribution is, you’ll likely find most think of code. But it’s not just code. Think of all the things that make a successful community of users. That can be a long list of things we do together and in common. Can anyone say those efforts don’t count? No! Not at all! 

I want to emphasize one of the most important parts of community that almost everyone can contribute. Your story. How you solved a problem and what you learned along the way. Something so simple can help many of your fellow community members. When I hear engineers tell me that their story isn’t anything special, I almost lose my mind. Every deployment is different and you will bring something unique. You will make a difference in what I’ll call the three “‘tions.”

1) Ideation - See those people taking furious notes and asking for your slides? You got the creative juices flowing for a problem they are trying to solve. You just impacted a community member in a positive way and they have a chance to be more successful now. 

2) Validation - Great minds think alike? Going in a direction with a technology stack can feel pretty lonely sometimes. Seeing a story that fits into your view on technology can solidify your thinking and can lead to my last point…

3) Inspiration - Nothing feels better at a user conference than seeing people genuinely excited about building something. Wow did you see that talk? Engineers sitting in the hallway with laptops open with that focused look. You know what I’m talking about. 

I want to acknowledge the time and effort it takes to put together a talk. It’s not trivial and in this case, your contribution cost is your time and effort. Not to mention the act of getting in front of a group and giving the talk. This is why I appreciate speakers willing to give this contribution and why I think it’s one of the most valuable contributions. Your efforts will pay off in dividends to our community. 

Now we need your story. If you have done something with Apache Cassandra don’t keep it to yourself! We want to get new ideas, validate our current ones and be inspired to go make some awesome. If you don’t think you have a story, think again. A contribution is a contribution. 

What’s yours going to be? Tell us here.

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