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Unbabel Talks: Tech insights from Lisbon to the world

I’ve spent most of my life learning from others. In university, first as a student of computer science, and then as a Ph.D. researcher in machine learning and Natural Language Processing, I tried to soak up as much as I could from some of the brightest minds in technology.

And if there’s one thing I’ve learned from the years of arduous study and research that later led me to co-found and become Unbabel’s CTO, it’s that knowledge needs to be shared.

At Unbabel, the impulse to share our findings is a key facet of our culture. That’s why we make sure to present at top conference around the world, most recently at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics. But just as importantly, we encourage employees to present their learnings to the team, organize workshops and training sessions, and often invite world class experts to our Lisbon headquarters, to share their advice and expertise in a series of internal knowledge sessions.

Before long, we realized this wasn’t enough. If knowledge really is to be shared, we have to make it accessible to the widest possible audience.

Introducing Unbabel Talks

That’s why, in May, we launched Unbabel Talks: knowledge sharing sessions that are open to members of the public.

Recent talks have covered the distance from service architecture to team performance, specifically:

“How can you benefit from a service mesh?” with Suhail Patel, Backend Engineer at Monzo. In his talk, Patel explores:

  • The potential of new microservice architectures, such as Istio, Envoy Proxy, Linkerd2
  • Increasing the reliability and resiliency of systems with a service mesh
  • Concrete business uses cases

Solving the puzzle of building high-performing engineering teams,” with Ricardo Brízido, CTO at Seedrs, the leading online equity platform. In his session, Brízido draws from his experience to give a real-world overview of:

  • Guiding principles for structuring teams in product, research, and engineering
  • Strengthening collaboration between team members

We had a full-house at both events, our office packed not just with Unbabel employees, but members of the broader Lisbon tech community. And for those who couldn’t attend, we have shared the talks on YouTube.

The early bird gets the actionable insights

“Why are Unbabel Talks in the morning?” you ask.

We get this question all the time, as most similar events are late afternoon. But we’ve made a conscious decision to do it in the morning instead, for several reasons.

I often feel frustrated when there’s interesting meet-ups I would really like to attend that are after working hours. This means that in order to attend these events I won’t be able to pick up my daughters from school and that I won’t get to spend time with my family. And this really shouldn’t happen.

So if these talks are so valuable to our work and professional development, why not host them during working hours?

Unbabel Talks present a great opportunity to learn from experienced and talented people. If the topics we’re covering interest you, we think it shouldn’t be too hard to convince your boss to let you join us. But just in case, we’ve prepared a sample email that you’re free to use and modify:


On DATE, Unbabel is hosting TITLE OF UNBABEL TALK, as part of its Unbabel Talks series, regular sessions designed to bring members of the tech community closer together. Rooted in real world examples, the upcoming session will cover:

– Sub-topic #1
– Sub-topic #2

I’d like to attend the session in order to broaden my skills in AREA and bring actionable insights back to our office.

The talk will be hosted at TIME, at Unbabel’s headquarters in Lisbon. I’d love to take the morning to learn from SPEAKER NAME, an expert in FIELD, with years of experience at LIST OF COMPANIES.

If you think it could be useful to the broader team, maybe we can get a small group together.

You can also get a feel for the series by watching Ricardo Brízido’s recent session on building high performance engineering teams here.

Let me know what you think!

Oh, and one more thing: breakfast is on us.

So if this all sounds good, join us for our next Unbabel Talk, on September 24, with John Graham-Cumming, CTO at Cloudflare. In this session, John will discuss how Cloudfare has transformed web infrastructure and security; practical steps businesses can take to keep their online resources secure; and prominent examples of poor digital security over the years.

I hope to see you there.

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