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PluralsightLIVE 2018, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA: A Lens into the Future

It was a long journey from Dublin to Salt Lake City, Utah to attend the PluralsightLIVE 2018 conference organised by Pluralsight Inc., but it was so worth it.

Pluralsight Inc. is a technology learning platform that helps solve problems and develop skills that scale. Its US headquarters is based in Utah and its EMEIA headquarters is located in Dublin.

The conference was held in The Grand America Hotel, Utah and it definitely lived up to its name. The facilities, accommodation, main conference and breakout rooms were excellent.

I also liked that there was a dedicated app and internet connection for the event. The app was very useful to research speakers, find locations and book attendance at various sessions. It also provided a map of the hotel as well as other general information. Transport was provided by Pluralsight Inc. to bring attendees to and from Salt Lake City airport to the hotel, which was a nice touch.

Each morning breakfast was served outside in the hotel’s beautiful courtyard area, with lots of delicious food and drink choices. Lunch was in the same location with more tasty food options to choose from. Al fresco dining in the sunshine was great for the soul!

Every day there were plenty of refreshments available to help keep the energy levels up. The conference and hotel staff were all extremely helpful and positive; nothing was too much trouble.

The main themes and topics of the conference were:
  • A lens into the future
  • Democratizing technology skills
  • Pace of digital disruption and technological transformation
  • Addressing the digital skills gap

Some stats:

  • 2,500 Attendees
  • 75 Breakout Sessions
  • 4 Product Announcements
  • 1 Nobel Peace Prize Winner

During the keynote presentations it was reassuring to hear how executives in companies such as Target, T-Mobile, Oracle, and Google were encouraging their tech talent to continuously learn and embrace the challenges that digital transformation were imposing on their organisations.

Thomas Kurian, President, Product Development Oracle commented:

“To get engineers motivated about the future, and building products that change the future, it can’t be about money or shareholder value. You have to imagine the future before the future is there.”

It was inspiring to hear from female leaders about how they were making changes and adapting to digital disruption within their organisations. Female keynote speakers such as:

  • Karenann Terrell, Chief Digital Technology Officer, GSK
  • Jamie Teevan, Technical Advisor to the CEO, Microsoft
  • Dr Heike Laube, Global VP and Chief Learning Officer, SAP

Other key insights and takeaways from speakers included:

Aaron Skonnard, CEO and co-founder Pluralsight Inc.:

“Every company is a tech company. Either you are leading or you are trying to keep up.”

David K. Liu, Technical Architect, Google:

“Formal education is not designed to keep up with the pace of technological change.”

For myself, I know that change and disruption of any kind can be very challenging to work through. However, Brendan Dawes, a UK based Designer and Artist who explores the interaction of objects, people, technology and code, presented a slide on how the process of creativity works. This really resonated with me. He said:

“We worry too much about beauty in the beginning. Everything starts out ugly.”

Learning that the journey from confusion to clarity is a process and it is knowledge worth sharing, especially in the digital space.

In the evening, it was time to visit The Exchange. This was the room where the event sponsors and other companies exhibited. Music, food, drinks and nibbles were available and served at the venue. Attendees had the opportunity of collecting some great swag as we visited each exhibitor. This was when an extra suitcase would have come in handy for me!

On the first evening it was time to mix and mingle at the Welcome Reception where lots of music, fun and games were provided. The next night we were treated to live music from the indie band Bleachers. It was great to relax, network, dance and let your hair down after a packed day of listening and learning.

The biggest highlight of the conference was on the last day when Aaron Skonnard, CEO Pluralsight Inc. interviewed Malala Yousafzai.  Malala champions the right for children to have access to education and is the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

Her main messages were that she wants women to feel empowered and to know that they are equal even though some of them are not even aware of this.  As she travels around the world she sees that we all have so much in common and this is something she encouraged us to appreciate and celebrate.

For me, PluralsightLIVE opened up the topic of democratizing tech skills. It provided businesses with the knowledge of how they can empower their organisations and their tech talent with the knowledge and tools to keep up with the ever changing landscape of digital disruption and technological transformation.

I was also encouraged to see more female leaders being given the opportunity to share their knowledge and expertise in the tech space. It was inspiring to see women who were similar in years to me on the stage and among the attendees.

About Pluralsight

Pluralsight is an enterprise technology learning platform that delivers a unified, end-to-end learning experience for businesses across the globe. Through a subscription service, companies are empowered to move at the speed of technology, increasing proficiency, innovation and efficiency. Founded in 2004 and trusted by Fortune 500 companies, Pluralsight provides members with on-demand access to a digital ecosystem of learning tools, including Pluralsight IQ, directed learning paths, expert-authored courses, interactive labs and live mentoring. For more information, visit

PluralsightLive 2019:

The date for the next PluralsightLIVE event has been set for 26 – 29 August, 2019 in Salt Lake City, Utah.



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