“How to Make Things Faster” Workshop / Keynote

Cary Millsap can help your whole department think clearly about performance (and not just Oracle). Choose your favorite topic from his new book, How to Make Things Faster: look at it, method, profiling, measuring performance, optimizing, delays, waste, problem solving, predicting, latency hiding, fallacies, testing, planning, and politics.

I can’t believe I was in my forties the first time I saw how to optimize a system the way Cary and his team do it. Now, it doesn’t even make sense to me that anyone would try it any other way.

Richard Russell, former 7-Eleven enterprise architect
Objective:Understand why systems perform the way they do
Topics:Topics chosen from the textbook’s table of contents
Textbook:How to Make Things Faster
Instructor:Cary Millsap
Format:Workshop, keynote, or combo
Venue:Live (some locations) or Zoom


Slow systems are frustrating. They waste time and money. They can even kill projects and jeopardize careers. However, making consistently great decisions about performance can be surprisingly easy, …if you understand what’s going on.

A How to Make Things Faster workshop or keynote explains in a clear and thoughtful voice why systems perform the way they do. It is an event for anybody who is curious about how computer programs and other processes spend their time, and what you can do to improve them.


The customizable course covers any of How to Make Things Faster’s 111 chapters that you want to explore, at whatever depth you choose. Here’s a peek at the 15 major sections of the book:

  • Look at It
  • Method
  • Profiling
  • Measuring Performance
  • Optimizing
  • Delays
  • Waste
  • Problem Solving
  • Predicting
  • Latency Hiding
  • Fallacies
  • Testing
  • Planning
  • Politics
  • Just for Fun


How to Make Things Faster, written by Cary Millsap (and influenced over 20+ years by Jeff Holt), is a lively 250-page book filled with stories and lessons about the performance of computer systems and everyday things. An electronic copy of the book is distributed as part of the event. Printed copies are available at Amazon.

Format and Duration

A How to Make Things Faster course can be delivered in formats ranging from a high-level 1-hour keynote to a multi-day workshop with deep discussions about your own challenges. We recommend a combination such as the following:

  • a 1½-hour kickoff session for your whole department, featuring an introductory presentation by Cary Millsap and lots of discussion to set context for the day
  • a 3-hour instructor-led workshop for your technology specialists, featuring presentations and discussion on the topics you select
  • a 1½-hour department-wide capstone session to discuss lessons of the day and future plans


Cary Millsap has been been optimizing computer software since 1987. He has earned an international reputation as a performance specialist, having visited countless clients in person and influenced hundreds more through his network as a former vice president at Oracle Corporation. He is the author of the course textbook, How to Make Things Faster, which is a fast-paced, story-form compendium of the optimization lessons he’s learned throughout his career. He also wrote the revolutionary O’Reilly book  Optimizing Oracle Performance, and he is published in professional journals including Communications of the ACM.


If you have specific problems you’d like to work on together, let us know while we’re planning your event.