By @SimonCocking. Nice insights from Rick Barraza ahead of his upcoming appearance in Dublin at the Microsoft Decoded Open Source Conference. Rick works on design strategy and creative engineering at Microsoft. Passionate about the cultural intersection of design & technology. 

Brief background about you?

I provide design strategy and creative engineering at Microsoft. As Microsoft continues to embrace and pioneer a shift toward more personal computing experiences, I help designers and engineers understand, envision and prototype this new world of exciting possibilities.


What inspired you to speak at this event?

I’m passionate about the cultural intersection of creativity and emerging technology, and Ireland has such a rich, cultural history and strong sense of identity. When we bring together all these unique voices and empower them through technology, amazing things can happen.

Why it will be helpful for people to attend. What will they get out of your session specifically?

There have been so many profound changes in technology and computation these past few years, but most of them have happened where we can’t see them – in the cloud and on the chip. My talk provides a very high level overview of these profound, invisible revolutions that have already changed the world of technology and are quickly spreading and redefining everything else.

What should Dublin (and Irish) companies do to be successful in an open source environment?

Open Source is based on the concept that “everyone is smarter than anyone”. But that only works when that “everyone” embraces a broad diversity of skills, cultures, and viewpoints. The next generation of technologists may look and act very different from what other companies and countries have come to expect. I’m excited to see how Dublin embraces this opportunity and contributes to this global conversation.

Who has inspired you?

One of my favorite early childhood memories is being enthralled watching every episode I could catch of the BBC documentary “Connections” with James Burke. His passion and interdisciplinary approach to explaining the history and human side of innovation, and how so many things we think of a clean, isolated moments of technological genius are actually the result of this gloriously messy, very human cross pollination of ideas, mistakes and unrelated yearnings. It opened my eyes, at a very early age, to how much culture and design and technology are interconnected and I think I’ve lived my life with this dominant attitude. I can trace it back to those afternoons in front of the TV hearing master storytellers like Burke and Sagan explaining the magic and humanity behind the science and technology.

Anything else you’d like to add / we should have asked you?

For a long time now, developers were people who built software that others look at and then proceed to click or tap. But what is changing is that this type of “do it all” developer role is being split into either a developer that builds invisible, smart cloud things that do the work for you, or developers who build the rich experiences you actually want to have when you do choose to use some technology. So the one guiding principle and advice I give to the next generation of developers is “be magic or be invisible”. Most developers are starting to choose the invisible, cloud route. But Irish history and culture is no stranger to magic and charm, so I’m particularly excited to see how this message is received at Dublin and if I can get a few developers in the other camp along with me.

Where can people see / listen / read more about you?

I have some favorite public talks online at here 
And people can follow me on twitter

 More about Decoded Open Source Conference

May 5th, 2016 8:00 AM – May 6th, 2016 6:00 PM + labs on May 7th

O’Reilly Hall, University College of Dublin (UCD)

Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland


The Decoded Open Source Conference is a two/day four track conference in Dublin Ireland where you will hear from the experts who are in the trenches building open source technologies with our customers in the Microsoft ecosystem on Azure, high scale data, machine learning, client side dev and dev ops at cloud scale.


2 days, 4 tracks covering 2 days worth of Azure, a day of devops, a day of big data, a day of machine learning, a day of design, a day of client side (mostly mobile) development and more. The speakers are internationally known speakers such as Tim Park, Josh Holmes, Ivan Judson, Beat Schwegler and more.

If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at [email protected] or on Twitter: @SimonCocking

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share this post with your friends!