This month, we have four short talks around the theme of feedback loops. Given his interest in feedback loops at all different levels, Steve Sanderson of Food on the Table has organized four short talks on how feedback loops affect us at multiple levels - from specific implementations examples to product development and our community.

Technical Feedback Loops - Marcus Irven

A/B Testing is a method of running experiments which test two or more alternatives in order to learn which one performs better. Marcus Irven will demonstrate how to easily perform A/B testing in Rails applications using Vanity and discuss some of the ways Food on the Table has used A/B testing to improve customer acquistion, activation, retention, and monetization.

Product Feedback Loops - Ash Maurya

When you first launch a product, lots of things can and do go wrong. The first challenge is getting users over what Kathy Sierra describes as the “suck threshold”. After that, the challenge shifts to keeping users interested and engaged. Throughout this process, there are several product feedback loops that help you move users through the adoption cycle. We’ll talk about this feedback loop and discuss some practical techniques for building and measuring these loops.

Process Feedback Loops - Steve Sanderson

Most of us have worked where there’s tremendous effort on planning, anticipating the needs of our customers, testing before release to our customers, re-thinking, re-considering and re-coding. To a developer, the only thing that may seem worse is when there’s none of this. Regardless, we expect to know, in advance what’s true about our customers. What if both alternatives are wrong? What if, instead, we assume we’re ignorant and use our creativity to learn? Find out how we decide what to do next using feedback loops of continuous learning and continuous deployment and some of our results.

How My Community Saved My Life - Mando Escamilla

(cultural feedback loops)

We all know what to do when our software isn’t working: but what do we do when our life isn’t working? This is the quick story of how my own life almost killed me and the people that saved me.

Volunteers Needed!

You can help Austin on Rails next year by taking responsibility for planning the talks (or other activities) for one or more of our meetings. Damon needs your help to keep Austin on Rails sustainable.

Please ping @damon and add yourself to the 2011 schedule to take ownership of a monthly meeting. You will plan the meeting and emcee the meeting. He will assist as needed.

Rails Connections

You can connect with Austin On Rails members on a few different networks:

Members App
Working With Rails

Meeting Time and Location

We meet at Datran/OtherInbox (enter through the stairs of the Omni Building at 7th and Brazos and head up the elevators to the 8th floor) from 7-9PM on Fourth Tuesday. Socialization practice follows after the meeting at B.D. Riley’s on 6th.