Depending on how you look at it me speaking at the Spring One Platform is or isn’t somewhat surprising. On the one hand, I’m a Pivotal employee and part of the Spring Data team. As such I kind of had an advantage when submitting a talk to the Spring conference organized by Pivotal.
On the other hand, I had the same option last year and very consciously decided not to submit a talk. So what changed?
I’d be happy if I could claim that the situation for democracy and human rights in the US improved. But that would be lying. The Trump-administration keeps flattering dictators. They fight against open and free media. They trample basic moral standards and openly push racism.
What changed is my standing within Pivotal. When I made the decision last year I just had started at Pivotal. I never thought that anything bad for me would come from my political opinion at Pivotal. But still, if you just got basically your dream job you don’t want everybody at your employer know you as “The guy who got sent back at the airport.”
And that changed slowly but surely during the last year. I met more of my coworkers, including some of the famous ones. I even talked to the CEO. And all the interactions turned the knowledge of security I had about a year ago into a feeling of security.
Today I have no problem tweeting my opinion about Trump. This recent exchange on twitter really catches my thoughts about this:
Me: “I think I finally got it. @realDonaldTrump is Ken M! It’s basically Andy Kaufman on steroids. Feeling much better now.”
Michael Simons: “Careful. Remember who wants to go to S1P. ;)”
Me: “If I speak at S1P I’ll be hardly noticed next to all these awesome and famous speakers. But if I write a blog article about how I was sent back home at the border I’ll reap so much exposure from that.”
Or to spell it out less tongue in cheek: I don’t think about what effects my tweets have on my chances to be allowed into the US. If I see something that I think people should hear my opinion about I’ll tweet it.
I do hope I’ll get allowed in and are actually confident I will. And if you are at Spring One let us meet. Especially if you disagree with my thoughts about Trump and are interested in an honest friendly discussion. I know it will be difficult for both of us but I’d like to understand. I won’t convince you and you won’t convince me, but if we understand each other just a little better we are moving in the right direction.