Put open source to work
July 16–17, 2018: Training & Tutorials
July 18–19, 2018: Conference
Portland, OR

Hacking your emotional API

John Sawers (Emotional API)
4:15pm4:55pm Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Software methodologies
Location: C123/124
Level: Beginner
Average rating: *****
(5.00, 2 ratings)

Who is this presentation for?

  • Everyone will find value in this presentation.

Prerequisite knowledge

  • A basic understanding of APIs and methods

What you'll learn

  • Explore a technique to improve your emotional response
  • Understand why a focus on emotion is important for developers


Being a good developer isn’t just about slinging code. We’re part of a community, and interacting with other community members means feelings are involved. John Sawers explains how emotions are affecting you by modeling them as an API and looking at the code.

Imagine that your brain is wired to an API and that one of the endpoints triggers you to be absolutely furious when it’s called. All the other emotions have endpoints as well. This is the metaphor that John uses to describe how feelings work. When we think about emotions this way, they become a bit less scary. The metaphor allows us to use technical language to describe experiences which are often misunderstood.

To explain why it’s important to improve your emotional responses, John explores research that describes how improperly handling your emotions can have a significant impact on things like abstract thinking, short-term memory, and executive function. John then shares a toolbox full of techniques that you can use to develop emotional fluency and illustrates a number of those techniques by describing his own emotional challenges as if they were written in code and demonstrating how he used those skills to “refactor” that code.

Photo of John Sawers

John Sawers

Emotional API

John Sawers is a senior software developer at Privia Health. Over the last two decades, John has worked as an architect and developer in finance, healthcare, and government organizations. John formerly supervised Purpose, Passion, Peace workshops based on the work of Alfred Adler. These emotional release workshops were designed to create a safe space for people to finally face feelings they’ve been avoiding for most of their lives.