a Mac laptop covered in stickers, many for AWS events

My life in tech

Note: This page is being continually updated. Don’t miss the lessons learned at the end. Talks I gave are highlighted in bold.

My career in tech spanned about 40 years, starting with the part-time jobs I did to help pay my way through college. Over that time I worked for four startups (Team Technologies, Incat Systems, TVBlob, Joyent), five major multinationals (Sun Microsystems, Oracle, Ericsson, Amazon, Intel), and a couple of mid-sized companies (Adaptec, Roxio), in and from and for multiple countries (US, Italy, Sweden, Australia). Not counting all the days and hours I worked remote from various travels and vacations. And the years I worked freelance. I retired in February 2023. I have Amazon (as well as Brendan) to thank that I could afford to — I got lucky with stock allocations that tripled in value from when they were granted. Stock I had in various other companies before and since never amounted to anything.

early 1980s

How I became a tech writer, and what happened after that




Publish Yourself on CD-ROM


…and later: “family” photos with Incat Systems colleagues in Milan and California


Incat Systems was acquired by Adaptec, for whom I then worked as a contractor for about five years. I mostly worked from my home in Milan, traveling four times a year to spend weeks at a time with my colleagues in the Bay Area home office.








CES 2006


^ Intervista al RomeCamp, a cura di Elisabetta Locatelli per dolmedia.tv.




August, 2010 – filmed 3 Sun execs doing a podcast






Intel Developer Forum, August — I worked this one for Ericsson, just returning to conference life while finishing cancer treatment.



My AWS laptop with various stickers about open source and diversity, plus Elfquest, Kliban, and Gorey

Open Compute Platform Summit, March — this was the one where a young man at a booth made the assumption that I didn’t know anything about hardware.

SCaLE, March

Open Networking Summit, April

Dockercon, April

First week at AWS, Seattle, June

Netflix 100M Party, June

AWS Evangelists’ Summit, Seattle, July

Marketing Your Open Source Project, Linux Foundation Open Source Summit, Los Angeles, September (not filmed, but there’s a writeup and slides)

Kernel Recipes and EuroBSD, Paris, September — Brendan spoke at both, I went along for the ride and mostly worked while he was conferencing, the rest of the time we were in Paris together. The BSD conference included an evening cruise on the Seine. I was highly amused that I often seem to do these things in the company of geeks (like myself).

At EuroBSD, I live-tweeted my AWS colleagues’ presentation – Julien Simon and ?


Netflix Open Source meetup, August

AWS re:Invent 2018, November — I had not been allowed to attend re:Invent in 2017, my first year at AWS. In 2018, I went as a designated social media person, which made for an exteremely busy and interesting few days. My birthday happened to fall on one of them, but I was too damned tired to do anything about it. I dragged myself back to the Wynn hotel and walked into the first restaurant I found, which happened to be Italian. I told them it was my birthday and they treated me very kindly.

Yow! December — In one of the more insane things I ever did travel-wise, I flew from re:Invent in Las Vegas via LAX to Brisbane, where I joined Brendan on his tour with the Yow! conference. Met a lot of cool people, heard some interesting talks.


  • Marketing Your Open Source Project, AWS Summit Berlin, February
  • Marketing Your Open Source Project, AWS Summit Milan, March

^ Marketing Your Open Source Project, OSCON, July – slides


  • Marketing Open Source (builders’ session), re:Invent, Las Vegas, December

re:Invent, December


As a product marketing manager, I launched three new observability services for AWS: AWS Distro for Open Telemetry, Amazon Managed Grafana, and Amazon Managed Service for Prometheus – the latter two were major launches at re:Invent, and a day or two after all that was done we moved to Australia.




Interviewed by Corey Quinn on Screaming in the Cloud

Joined Intel.



Quit Intel.

Lessons learned

About being a woman in tech

About tech in general

Remote work

Deirdré Straughan on Italy, India, the Internet, the world, and now Australia