Hi! I'm Alan! And, this is who I am...

Passionate software engineer. (I ❤️ Ruby!)
Empathetic leader (@ Cisco Meraki). 
Fallible human. 
Environmentalist. Feminist. Ally. 
Swell photographer. Rusty drummer.
Loving twins dad and husband.
Man of several hats.
Goofball.

I'm also an experienced public speaker, willing and able to deliver presentations in public or private, to live or virtual audiences. I'm comfortable talking about most of the stuff above, but especially the following topics:

  • Software development and testing (especially in Ruby)
  • Leadership (especially vulnerability, trust, and psychological safety)
  • Accepting your fallible self, moving past fear, and finding your why

Publicly available content

Presentations I've given to private audiences that could be adapted

  • Composite Architecture (about modularizing monoliths)
  • Empowering Emotional Intelligence (continuation of When Persuasion Fails)
  • When Persuasion Fails
  • Always Be Planning
  • Agile Retrospectives

Talks that are under development

  • A Not Entirely Made up Story about the Dangers of Coupling Code
  • Recalculating: Leaning into the Curves in your Career
  • The Other Side of Fear
  • Finding My Why...
  • Come in, We're Hiring
  • Extracting Services with a Façade

The Secret Ingredient: How to Understand and Resolve Just about Any Flaky Test

Flaky tests are an inscrutable bane. Hard to understand. Annoying. And, so frustrating! My personal nemesis is Daylight Saving Time. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tripped over it. Let’s just say I was well into the “shame on me” part of that relationship, until I discovered the secret ingredient that nearly all flaky tests have in common. Turns out they only seem inscrutable. It really is possible to understand and resolve just about any flaky test.

  • RubyConf 2023 (November, 2023, in San Diego, California, USA)
Alan Ridlehoover behind the RubyConf 2023 lectern, presenting a slide entitled Reproducing, Identifying, and Fixing Flaky Specs
Alan Ridlehoover talking about flaky tests at RubyConf 2023

Code and the Coding Coders who Code It (Episode 24)

Another double-guest episode! This time, I'm joined by Alan Ridlehoover and Fito von Zastrow from Cisco Meraki. There's almost too much great content in this episode to provide a proper summary. We discuss everything, from the modularization of massive Rails apps to building a toy framework. Alan and Fito have a ton of experience and are working on some awesome things.
~ Drew Bragg


A Brewer's Guide to Filtering out Complexity and Churn

Mechanical coffee machines are amazing! You drop in a coin, listen for the clink, make a selection, and the machine springs to life, hissing, clicking, and whirring. Then the complex mechanical ballet ends, splashing that glorious, aromatic liquid into the cup. Ah! C’est magnifique!

There’s just one problem. Our customers also want soup! And, our machine is not extensible. So, we have a choice: we can add to the complexity of our machine by jamming in a new dispenser with each new request; or, we can pause to make our machine more extensible before development slows to a halt.

  • Tropical.rb 2024 with Fito von Zastrow (April, 2024, in São Paulo, Brazil)
    • Video (when available)
    • Deck (after presentation)
  • RailsConf 2023 with Fito von Zastrow (April, 2023, in Atlanta, Georgia, USA)
Fito von Zastrow (standing to the left) and Alan Ridlehoover (standing behind RailsConf 2023 lectern) with a picture of a mechanical coffee machine on screen.
Fito von Zastrow (standing to the left) and Alan Ridlehoover presenting at RailsConf 2023
Alan Ridlehoover presenting (with Fito von Zastrow) at RubyConf Mini (in 2022), with a picture of a cartoon ruby on a large screen
Alan Ridlehoover speaking at RubyConf Mini (in 2022) (Co-presented with Fito von Zastrow)

Inside Out Development

A 5 minute RailsConf lightning talk about how > rails new is the biggest mistake you can make when starting a new project. Rails isn't the problem. The problem is starting with your least valuable code (the framework), rather than your most valuable code (your business logic).

  • RailsConf 2022 (May, 2022, in Portland, Oregon, USA)