What MMA taught me about working in tech

At first it might not seem like mixed martial arts has much to do with working as professional computer person. As somebody who’s been hospitalised as a result of both, I assure you that there are interesting and enlightening parallels. Poor work-life balance? Weird sleeping schedules? Difficulties with nutrition and diet? Toxic hero culture? Check and check.

But it’s not all doom and gloom! In both worlds, success comes as a result of hard work, dedication, and above all teamwork. What the public ends up seeing—the great and fantastic outcomes that are heralded as examples of the art—are only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. This is a personal and light-hearted talk about some fairly serious topics. Through the bringing together of two seemingly unrelated areas of interest, my goal is to get people to think critically about their work environments, their career goals, and above all, their responsibilities—both to others, and to themselves. It’s a mix of story-telling, practical examples, and the occasional mildly embarrassing anecdote.

So join me as we chat about humility, empathy, trust, self-care and the value of a good project manager. And a little bit about punching things, too.



Daniel Maher

Dan is a veteran of the dotcom bubble, and has been variously a system administrator, university lecturer, start-up founder, and day labourer. As a member of the Devopsdays Core team, he has had the ...