Me ranting about "excellence" at RailsConf 08

Greg Pollack, of the incredibly awesome RailsEnvy (you have to watch these funny videos), cornered me briefly in the speaker’s lounge at RailsConf and asked what I’d rant about. The answer, apparently, is “excellence.”

Amy Hoy at Railsconf 2008 from Gregg Pollack on Vimeo.

This whole thing reminds me that I want to see a voice coach (in pursuit of, you know, that thing I ranted about).

Greg filmed a bunch of other folks, too. My personal favorite is Chad Fowler’s mini-rant on nasty people, community and rebellion:

Chad Fowler at Railsconf 2008 from Gregg Pollack on Vimeo.


  1. Jose says:

    Amy, i really liked the way you answered, very interesting and was a slap in the face to me to be honest.

    Now I have one question: What are your sources to learn about what is good, what makes things cool and what are the principles/techniques behind this things? (Could be books, articles you have read, whatever)

  2. Stephenie says:

    And waht is fun here?

  3. Enjoyed your video clip Amy. I think the "what tool" question is ok if asked about a very obviously made flowchart, site diagram or wireframe. Something, where obviously a tool was needed in order to create the visual. That’s how I found out about Omnigraffe in the first place, and to try and create wire frames without it, regardless of how good a graphic artist you are, is time consuming. So I understand your point, but think that sometimes the tool does make a big difference in saving time.

    Your point though about excellence is a very important one, and so many companies do think that just buying the tool can replace any individual’s skills. It is the skill, experience and uniqueness of the person that is needed, and then the tool helps that person be more productive.

    Also agree with what you said about not stopping when you reach "great", but continuing on to reach "Excellent". That desire is the difference between really successful people and those that never fully reach their goals.

  4. Kevin Milden says:

    Really well said Amy. You really did a great job explaining the difference between using the best parts of something and improving on them versus just going along with the crowd and keeping the status quo. As a designer I get the feeling that people find what I do as a necessary evil and if they could just replace me with the "Good Experience" machine they would.

    Chad seemed freaked out about the CabooseConf thing. It is really not a big deal or nasty. I just think some people like to be a little less corporate than the normal conference. The company that has the most money to waste may not always be the best way to allow sponsors to endorse the show. But then again it has to make money so I think everyone understands the process. The mainstream and the core followers are not seeing eye to eye. I think it will lead to something good. I am sure some healthy competition and creativity will emerge. It will keep it fresh and interesting. Otherwise it risks being any old boring developer conference. Maybe it is too late. We’ll see. I hope not.

  5. Lalique says:

    With so many excellent books and online resources available, we think the RailsConf audience would benefit from a larger helping of hardcore technical topics, particularly around design or coding techniques, testing tools, and deployment techniques.

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