The Art of Organizational Manipulation

Brian Fitzpatrick (Tock), Ben Collins-Sussman (Google, Inc.)
Geek Lifestyle
Location: D138
Average rating: ****.
(4.62, 16 ratings)

We often hear engineers lament how hard it is to get anything done inside of a big company. The trick to overcoming this is to know the right people, understand how power flows in the organization, and, most importantly, what you can get away with and when. We’ll help you understand the human element of navigating companies both big and small through a series of (hopefully) amusing anecdotes.

Photo of Brian Fitzpatrick

Brian Fitzpatrick


Brian started Google’s Chicago engineering office in 2005 and led several of Google’s global engineering efforts, including the Data Liberation Front, and Transparency Engineering. He also served as internal advisor for Google’s open data efforts, having previously led the Google Code and Google Affiliate Network teams. Prior to joining Google, Brian worked as an engineer at CollabNet, Apple, and a local Chicago development shop.

Brian first started contributing to open source software in 1998 and was a core Subversion developer from 2000 to 2005 as well as the lead developer of the cvs2svn utility. He is a member of the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) and former VP of Public Relations for the ASF. Brian has written numerous articles and given dozens of presentations, including co-writing “Team Geek: A Software Developer’s Guide to Working Well with Others,” “Version Control with Subversion” (now in its second edition), and chapters for “Unix in a Nutshell” and “Linux in a Nutshell.”

Brian has an A.B. in Classics from Loyola University Chicago with a major in Latin, a minor in Greek, and a concentration in Fine Arts and Ceramics. Brian resides in Chicago.

Photo of Ben Collins-Sussman

Ben Collins-Sussman

Google, Inc.

Ben Collins-Sussman is one of the founding developers of the Subversion version control system, and co-authored O’Reilly’s “Version Control with Subversion” book and more recently O’Reilly’s “Team Geek: a Software Developer’s Guide to Working Well with Others.”

Ben co-founded Google’s engineering office in Chicago, ported Subversion to Google’s Bigtable platform, led Google Code’s Project Hosting team, and now manages the engineering team for the Google Affiliate Network. Prior to joining Google, Ben was a senior software engineer on the version control team at CollabNet. He has been an active open source contributor for over twelve years, contributing to projects related to version control and gaming.

Ben collects hobbies which tend to explore the tension between art and science. He has given numerous talks about the social challenges of software development. He writes interactive fiction games and tools, and was the co-winner of the 15th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition. He has co-authored several original musicals and received multiple awards for musical theater composition. He has an Extra-class FCC license for amateur radio, and also spends time learning DSLR photography and playing bluegrass banjo. Ben is a proud native of Chicago, and holds Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Chicago with a major in Mathematics and minor in Linguistics. He still lives in Chicago with his wife, kids, and cats.


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