GHC16 & (NoobTips | VolunteeringOpportunities | ScheduleExperiment)

by Zaza Soriano

Noob Tips

I remember my first year attending GHC, I am too tired to calculate the exact year, but I remember that it was in Atlanta, GA and had maybe 0x07D0 attendees. Yet, I was still extremely overwhelmed. If it wasn’t for being a hopper (one of the ladies (or men) you will see running around in red vests), I wouldn’t  have talked to any one. As it was, I would go hide in my hotel room when I wasn’t volunteering. Now though, I am a social butterfly!! I thank GHC for part of that, I think having a ton of like minded women around made it easier to hone in my networking skills and break out of my shell.

Two years ago I made a prezi with some useful tips/tricks for getting the most out of GHC ( When I made that Prezi there were only going to be roughly 0x1F40 attendees, but now there are going to be 0x3A98!! The same tips will apply, but I would like to emphasize a few things below.

  • The schedule this year is keeping similar sessions clustered together, this is good except for if you want variety. So keep in mind how far away your next session is, and always have a backup in case it fills up and you can’t get in. 
  • Bring a lot of extra batteries, a charging cable, and my favorite, a printed out copy of the schedule. 
  • If you get overwhelmed, don’t be embarrassed to go find a quiet hiding place to recoup (yes they exist, you just need to be creative). 

I would also reccommend reading the blog post just before this one, as it also gave a lot of good tips/tricks for first timers. 🙂

Volunteering Opportunities

As the GHC Communities Committee chair this year, I feel I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t tell you how awesome it is to volunteer at GHC. 🙂

If you have attending GHC at least once and feel like you are ready to give back and get a unique perspective from the conference, volunteering is a great way to do that. You get to take on some responsibility, grow your network, and work on your soft skills (employers love those). Volunteering is also good for those first timers that like to just dive right in!!

The official volunteer page (with info on each opportunity) can be found here: ( The committee is in charge of organizing the Speed Mentoring and the Blogging/Note Taking volunteers. So I will talk a little about each below, and you can apply to either of them here: (

Speed Mentoring

Mentoring will happen: Friday, 21 October 2016
Applications close: Friday, 30 September 2016

Attendees are looking for various mentors to give advice on career paths, graduate schools and personal aspirations.

Blogging/Note Taking

Applications close: Wednesday, 14 September 2016
Extended till: Friday, 30 September 2016
This is a great opportunity to work on your writing skills and to give back to the community. A lot of times the attendees womaning the booths can’t attend the sessions (not to mention all the woman who couldn’t register this year). They rely heavily on the notes and blogs that our volunteers do on most of the sessions. 
If this interests you, you will need to create an RSS feed for part of the application. The instructions are below: 

Schedule Experiment

Hopefully by now you have all seen the official schedule ( In an effort to make the schedule more user friendly and similar to the old style where you could easily see what sessions overlapped, I started putting together a google sheet version (

It started out simply as a plain excel sheet that had blocks for each session. In an attempt to procrastinate (coding >>>>>> writing), I spent the night learning the Google API scripting language and added in a way to display the details on a session on a right panel. As you can see in the gif below, the panel updates based on what session is selected.

You will need to log into your Google account to view the sidebar. You will also need to allow the script to run. In order to get the authorization prompt you need to open the script editor and run one of the functions (see ‘Adding Functionality’ section below). At which point you should be able to go back to the sheet and see it populate with the session info of your selected cell.

The Experiment

If you look at the sheet you will see that I completed Wednesday and just barley started on Thursday. THERE ARE SOOOO MANY SESSIONS!!! The link above allows anybody to edit the file. I would like to see if as a community we can make a better, more useful schedule for everyone. Can you contribute? Even a couple minutes here and there will help tremendously, I mean… with  0x3A98 attendees, I think the odds are in our favor.

How to Contribute?

Below are some basic instructions to help get you started. The main thing is to follow the format that is already there and please try not to break anything. 🙂

Adding a new item 

Merge the cells that cover the block of time. Color it according to the cluster.

To have the side panel pull up the session info, you need to add a link to the cell. I found it fastest to right click on the ‘[More]’ to copy the link and then paste it into the cell.

Adding functionality

If you are familiar with writing scripts for Google apps (or just want to learn), feel free to help with that as well. Again, please don’t break anything. 🙂


  • Currently the sidebar cuts off the description, so you have to scroll to the right to read everything. 
  • If you try to click on a speaker, it will break and you need to reload the sidebar. 
    • I replaced the href with the full url, but the schedule site has a cross-domain block. If anyone has experience with this, your input would be a HUGE help. 
If you are interested in learning more about the development side, leave a comment below. If there is enough interest I can make a YouTube video of a walk-through of the code. 
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