Sumana Harihareswara's Talks & Presentations

I'm Sumana, the founder of Changeset Consulting, and I frequently write and speak on open source, management, and other topics. I also perform stand-up comedy specifically written for tech audiences, and speak on podcasts and panels.

Invite me to speak.



  • I'll be attending Readercon in Boston, MA, USA in July 2024, and will likely be scheduled to speak there.

Below is a list of some of the public talks and presentations I've given, with links to audio and video recordings, notes, slides, and transcripts.

Keynote addresses

Other conference talks and presentations

Technology & adjacent topics

Fandom & adjacent topics

  • 2023:
    • WisCon, May 2023. Hosted the Otherwise Auction and spoke in Opening Ceremonies as well as the Sunday night Dessert Salon (videorecording of the latter). Also spoke on several panels:
      1. Imaginary Book Club (also moderated)
      2. How to Proceed with Procedurals? (also moderated)
      3. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in SF/F (also moderated)
      4. Not Another F*cking Race Panel
      5. Otherwise Award 2021 and Beyond (also moderated)
  • 2019:
    • At WisCon 43 (2019) in Madison, Wisconsin, USA, I served on:
      1. "Ethics In The Good Place And Crazy Ex-Girlfriend", panellist.
      2. Tiptree Auction: comedian and auctioneer, as recorded in this cartoon.
      3. "Imaginary Book Club", panellist.

Podcasts and interviews

Stand-up comedy

Six-minute audio sample of my comedy from 2011.

Invite me to speak

Please contact me to invite me to speak (seriously or comedically) at your event or organization, or on your podcast, or to give testimony in a legislative or judicial hearing. If your organization or conference is for-profit, I will be much more likely to be able to speak to you if you offer an honorarium.

How to pronounce my name. (1MB video, download.)

Availability: For COVID risk reasons, I'm mostly interested in virtual appearances for the foreseeable future. I could make an exception for events in New York City, or someplace <5 hours' journey by train, if you're doing serious risk management at your event (e.g., it's entirely outdoors, or mandatory arrival testing every day, things like that). I'm available starting in August 2024. [Last updated: 26 March 2024.] I usually need two months' notice to deliver a new talk (including performing stand-up comedy), and two weeks' notice to speak on a podcast or panel. I need less notice to reprise a talk I've already delivered.

About me: Sumana Harihareswara is a project manager, programmer, and standup comedian who leads a consultancy to help open source projects level up. She led the rollout of the new, and has worked on Zulip, HTTPS Everywhere, Mailman, MediaWiki, and several other open source projects. Most recently she has managed improvements to pip's dependency resolver and user experience, and has expedited the release of new versions of pipenv and autoconf. She's working on a book to teach what she's learned about rejuvenating legacy open source projects. She earned an Open Source Citizen Award in 2011 and a Google Open Source Peer Bonus in 2018, and participated in Recurse Center in 2013 and 2014. She lives in New York City and founded Changeset Consulting in 2015.

Topics for my serious talks include: Careers and management in free and open source software, consulting in open source, grants and corporate sponsorship to fund open source work, mentoring midlevel open source contributors to grow maintainers, the Python software packaging toolchain, HTTP, and Python. I can speak for five to fifty minutes.

My comedy sets (10-30 minutes long) include: What weird unusual licenses should the Open Source Initiative consider next? Where's the fine line between maintainer success and maintainer burnout? Should we alias git reset --hard to git regret --hard? I've been in free and open source software for years, and I perform stand-up comedy about it. I joke about why I don't use Facebook, bug reporting and why it ought to be taught in schools, what it means to "succeed" in free and open source software, and more.