Functional Geekery Episode 56 – Garrett Smith

In this episode I talk with Garrett Smith. We talk his introduction to Erlang, building communities, conferences as a place for serendipity, and more.

Our Guest, Garrett Smith

@gar1t on Twitter


This episode is sponsored by Use the coupon `geekery` to save $5 on your first month, and make learning part of your daily routine with

This episode is sponsored by project management tools for software teams. Visit to sign up for a free trial and a $50 credit. Clubhouse: dream, develop, deploy.


PolyConf 2016 will be taking place on June 30th – July 2nd. Visit to keep updated with news as more details become available.

Curry On is taking place July 18th and 19th in Rome. Visit to find out more and to register.

Full Stack Fest will be hold in Barcelona on September 5-9th. You can check out to find out more.

PWLConf 2016 is the first full-day Papers We Love conference, co-located with the preconference events at Strange Loop in Saint Louis, Missouri on September 15th. Keep an eye out for updates on

The Erlang User Conference is coming up in Stockholm, Sweden, the 6th through the 16th of September. Early Bird tickets are now available and get a 10% discount on the conference when you use the code: FunctionalGeekery10 when registering.

Destination Code, a new unconference starting in Utah, is having its inaugural event this December. Visit to find out more.

CodeMesh is taking place the 3rd and 4th of November with tutorials on the 2nd of November. Tickets are available now, but they are going fast. Visit to register and submit your talk.

If you have a conference related to functional programming, contact me, and I will be happy to announce it.


About Garrett
How Garrett got his start into programming
Garrett’s exposure to Erlang
Joe Armstrong’s Erlang Book
Using Erlang for getting past a brick wall
Narrowly defined projects to introduce Erlang
Learning curve with the Erlang/OTP model
Chicago Erlang User Group and Martin Logan and Eric Merritt
“You tend to focus on very small problems, and then move onto the next one”
“[OTP is] The set of best practices codified into a library”
“There is absolutely no substitute for mentorship and guidance”
Introducing Erlang into an organization
“A lot of what makes Erlang successful is with folks who have experience running things in production”
Impact of thinking about programs after being woken up at three in the morning multiple times
“Erlang faces a real uphill struggle to get adopted at any level”
Tips for building a community
“Just do it”
“All the merit resides in the content”
Bryan Hunter and NashFP
Workshops to introduce functional programming to new programmers
Cross pollination amongst groups is underrated
Chicago Erlang
Erlang Solutions
Erlang Factory
Erlang Factory Lites
An eye toward conference experiences
Conferences as a respite and retreat
Importance of creating a space for serendipity
Micro-conferences and workshops
Focus on the content
More concerted effort for functional programming in introduction to programming
Matthias Felleisen talking about teaching Racket to middle schoolers
Simon Peyton Jones talking about Computing at School
Visibility of teaching functional programming to beginners
Erlang User Conference

As always, a giant Thank You goes to David Belcher for the logo design.

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