👋 Hallo!

I'm Alex 🌮


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Debugging the Ghost of Stagnation


This talk is WIP 🚧


Oh the romanticidealized and damaging tech industry clichés!


  • Super rational, brilliant, performant 10x dev.
  • Making 15% more money every year.
  • Conference speaker jet-setter life.
  • Climbing  the IC ladder and becoming a Principal Engineer or EM
  • Twitter celebrity status (free of drama)
  • Happy family and brilliant kids on the side.


Stagnation in the tech industry is real and  common

(and it's time to start talking more about it)

Stagnation is a taboo

What is stagnation?

As most things, it depends on who you ask.

"Stagnation is the state of not moving, flowing or growing."

An stagnated developer

(A developer that  it's not developing its own self)

A hamster on a wheel, not learning anything new or deriving happiness from the turning of the wheel/coding. It was just going through the motions

No one else can decide for you if you're stagnated

  • It's a personal call
  • It's about realizing if you are deriving happiness and satisfaction from your work.
  • Are you learning? It's not precisely about your tech stack.

Is it age specific?

Not precisely. But sometimes.

  • The pace of new frameworks and conventions in the tech industry is a hard pill to swallow.
  • Statistics about getting hired after 35 can be scary.

So, what can lead to stagnation?

  • LIFE
  • Raising a family, getting sick.
  • Being in the same company for too long
  • Poor management and/or crappy communication
  • Burning out.
  • Not being able to be able to code on the side?

Story time

  • Code was an escape mechanism in my 20s 🎉


  • Being "good"  made me able to travel and become a "digital nomad"


  • Met wholesome humans. "Made it out".


  • Also...stopped doing side-projects.

Moved to Berlin with the love of my life...and then, reality hit me

The tech industry had changed...

"That" conversation with my manager...

When I realized I was feeling stagnated, I told my manager, this is not a matter of ego, this is a matter of mental health

So, what’s the cure?

  •  Awareness

  • Communication

  • Kindness


The obstacle is the way

Discomfort  does lead to growth

How we see ourselves

  • Rational beings having goals and developing skills.

But then, failure

Someone fails...

they must be either


Lazy,  stupid or bad

We are not rational actors taking rational decisions.


We don’t fail out of lack of intelligence.


We are emotional human beings.

The  narratives we tell  ourselves protect us from the world.


(fake rationality)


Intuition is the real connection to experience.

The experimental approach

  • Approach every single day as a series of experiments instead of a series of TODOs

  • Debug what you’re feeling. Observe your thoughts and reactions.

  • What are you deriving happiness and purpose from?

Where can we learn and find purpose?

  • The best place is work.

  • Coding outside of  work is  amazing but also an unhealthy habit to reinforce

A healthier approach is to foster the environments in our work places to experiment.

(10% time, education  budget, space to be playful)


Humans are like little islands of universes trying to understand each other.

Radical Candor Framework

Please don't use it to be a terrible human

Talk about  it

Talk to your manager


Talk to your peers


Talk to anybody in

this room


Aim to be compassionate in a truly caring way.

(to yourself and those around you)

A quote from my favorite person

"If you're wondering if you're stagnated, it means  you care, it means you belong here."

Sara Vieira ❤️

Being a human is fucking wonderful, but it's not always easy.


Talk. Give yourself and others kindness. Fight for what you want.

Thank you! 🎉


The Ghost of Stagnation

By Alejandra Villa

The Ghost of Stagnation

Debbuging the ghost of stagnation in the tech industry

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