Most Active Speaker

Michael Coté

Michael Coté

Amsterdam, The Netherlands


Michael Coté studies how large organizations get better at building software to run better and grow their business. His books Changing Mindsets, Monolithic Transformation, and The Business Bottleneck cover these topics. He’s been an industry analyst at RedMonk and 451 Research, done corporate strategy and M&A, and was a programmer. He also co-hosts several podcasts, including Software Defined Talk. Cf., and is @cote in Twitter. Texas Forever!


  • Most Active Speaker 2023

Area of Expertise

  • Information & Communications Technology
  • Business & Management


  • DevOpsCulture
  • Digital Transformation

How to survive and thrive in a BigCo

If you work at a small, cool company, you can skip this talk. The rest of us in large, slow moving companies that rely on meetings, email, and inbox 2,000 to get the daily work done need some therapy and advice for thriving in big, "dumb" companies. I've worked in such companies and figured out how to thrive in the "back to back meetings" world we're taught to avoid. I'll tell you my tactics: avoiding work by assigning work, the power of boring corporate PowerPoints, champions and mentors, and how to innovate in a BigCo.

Goblins are the only thing holding back the AI Takeover: Using Cloud Foundry and Dungeons & Dragons

Is AI really a substitute for humans? What better way to answer that question than having AIs play a Dungeons & Dragons dungeon master? D&D follows an intricate, yet ambiguous set of rules, requires constant creativity and unexpected imagination, empathy, and playfulness. Coté has developed a sort of Turing test that uses a handful of D&D scenarios to test how human AIs can act: things like how it DMs a goblin ambush, role plays generic tavern encounters, and creates interesting open-ended adventures and world-building. More than benchmarking, this is an excellent way to learn how to create prompts, to understand what AIs are, and pretend like you’re working which you’re having fun playing games. It's also a good way to explore what the basics and best practices of creating and maintaining AI-based apps. To go beyond the limits of public generative AI models, this talk will build the needed generative AI apps on Cloud Foundry.

Developer productivity is waste

We've become developer productivity obsessed, worse, developer productivity METRICS obsessed. How often do we deploy apps? How many story points did we complete? What's our MTTR? What's the network admins eNPS? An obsession with developer productivity is good at small doses, but it becomes a distraction when taken too far. And, besides, who is this focus on productivity really benefit? In this talk, I'll first give an overview of the latest in developer productivity metrics. Second, I'll go over some techniques to avoid descending into metrics madness. Finally, I'll go over what we should be paying more attention to instead of productivity.

We built it, and no one came - How to Market Your Internal Developer Platform

You’ve built the perfect platform, but those pesky developers aren’t using it. I’ve hear this story frequently over the years. More than not, it means the platform team is not doing the marketing needed. Branding, t-shirts, platform advocacy, community management, staffing for marketing, and the other basics of a marketing program. I know: you read the word marketing and you feel a little revolted. For a successful platform in a large organization, though, you need it! Thankfully, there are many years of organizations figuring out what platform marketing is and how to do it. This talk will go over what platform and product marketing is and then tactics learned in organizations like Mercedes-Benz, ING, BT, Garmin and others.

Lessons learned from 7 years of running developer platforms

This talk covers best and worst practices for Platform engineering. The trick is, we didn't always use this phrase, so we actually have many years of experience to learn from. Who are you? You're in a DevOps, wait, I mean SRE...nope, scatch that..."platform engineering" team. People are coming at you to get kubernetes up and running and then build some kind of platform on-top of kubernetes. But you just got a build pipeline in place! Getting kubernetes ready for developers may be a new problem, but building and running developer platforms has been going on for at least ten years. This talk will cover the lessons those organizations have learned such as: product managing the platform, attracting and retaining developers, seeding trust and skills, re-skilling existing ops staff, and more. Examples are drawn from organizations like Mercedes-Benz, the US Airforce, large insurance companies and banks, and more.

Escaping the Legacy Trap - a proven method for application modernization

You're facing a big, multi-year re-write of your core applications. How do you start? This talk will explain one method used by large organizations, SWIFT. Sadly, older applications and services too often slow down and stop business innovation. Yet, 76% of executives said they are too invested in legacy applications to change. They’re caught in the legacy trap! Organizations simply can’t figure out how to prioritize this invisible work over adding new features and apps. But today, there’s no room to avoid modernizing core systems if your business wants to keep up. No more new features can be added to software and no more progress can be made on transformation journeys until this fear is faced. Come hear how people are escaping the legacy trap. This talk is based on the book by Coté and Marc Zotter, The Legacy Trap.

Low Growth DevOps

We're in an era of low-growth DevOps. Recent surveys find that anywhere between 50% to 70% of respondents are not automating their builds and tests, let alone deployments to production. Survey respondents also say that only around 35% of their apps are managed with a DevOps mindset. Meanwhile, first and second generation DevOps companies are tinkering with OSS licenses or merging into mega-tech companies. The business of DevOps is not what it used to be. Is this good? Is this bad? Is this expected? Is it helpful? How did platform engineering sneak into our party and drink all the cold beer? In this talk, Coté will give an analysis of DevOps usage and DevOps businesses 15 years later. So much has improved, and there's more improvement to come. Hopefully.

We Fear Change

Changing how 10 people work is difficult, changing how 100 work is very difficult. And, barring Planck's principle, changing how 5,000 or more people work is, typically, impossible. When it comes to improving how large organizations build, release, and run software, scaling to thousands of people is the real challenge. If you're trying to move beyond your initial success at transforming how your organization builds and runs software, you've experienced this scaling challenge. Thankfully, most of the problems in this challenge are common challenges. Though you may feel cursed and alone, in our experience talking with hundreds of organizations, most of the problems are the same.

This talk will look at several of these common challenges and cover tactics to address them. Part of applying a tactic successfully is understanding why the challenge exists in the first place, which the talk starts with.

NDC Oslo 2024 Sessionize Event

June 2024 Oslo, Norway

Infobip Shift 2023 Sessionize Event

September 2023 Zadar, Croatia

PlatformCon 2023 Sessionize Event

June 2023

TEQnation 2023 Sessionize Event

May 2023 Utrecht, The Netherlands

DevOpsDays Austin 2023 Sessionize Event

May 2023 Austin, Texas, United States

Future Tech 2023 Sessionize Event

March 2023 Utrecht, The Netherlands

Build Stuff 2022 Lithuania Sessionize Event

November 2022 Vilnius, Lithuania

DevOpsDays Austin 2022 Sessionize Event

May 2022 Austin, Texas, United States

DevOpsDays Zurich 2021 Sessionize Event

September 2021 Winterthur, Switzerland

NLVMUG UserCon 2020 Sessionize Event

January 2021 Utrecht, The Netherlands

DevOpsDays Austin 2020 Sessionize Event

May 2020 Austin, Texas, United States

devopsdays Amsterdam 2019 Sessionize Event

June 2019 Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Michael Coté

Amsterdam, The Netherlands


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