Should You Speak at a Conference?

 
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By Allen Underwood, Michael Outlaw, Joe Zack, Allen Underwood, Michael Outlaw, and Joe Zack. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

We discuss the pros and cons of speaking at conferences and similar events, while Joe makes a verbal typo, Michael has turned over a new leaf, and Allen didn’t actually click the link.

The full show notes for this episode are available at https://www.codingblocks.net/episode169.

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Survey Says

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How likely are you to give a presentation?
  • Extremely likely ... to attend one. Oh you mean, speak at one, oh no. Definitely not.
  • Extremely likely ... to think about giving a presentation. Maybe a little day dream about how awesome I'd be at it.
  • Extremely likely ... to say that I will give a presentation. But go through with it? Ain't nobody got time for that.
  • Extremely likely ... to actually give a presentation. I love the opportunity to learn something and share it with others.

News

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  • Thank you to everyone that left a review!
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  • How long does it take to get the Moonlander? (ZSA.io)
  • Is the Kinesis Gaming Freestyle the current favorite? (Amazon)
  • Atlanta Code Camp was fantastic, see you again next year! (atlantacodecamp.com)

What kind of speaking are we talking about?

  • Conferences
  • Meetups
  • Does YouTube/Twitch count as tech presentations?
    • There are some similarities! Streaming has the engagement, but generally isn’t as rehearsed. Published videos are closer to the format but you have to make some assumptions about your audience and can get creative with the editing.

Why do people speak?

  • Can help you build an audience
  • Establish credibility
  • Promotional opportunities
  • Networking
  • Free travel/conferences
  • Great way to learn something
  • Become a better communicator
  • Is it fun?

Who speaks at conferences?

  • People speak at conferences for different reasons
  • Couple different archetypes of speakers:
    • Sponsored: the speakers are on the job, promoting their company and products
    • Practitioners: Talks from people in the trenches, usually more technical and focused on specific results or challenges
    • Idea people: People who have a strong belief in something that is controversial, may have an axe to grind or an idea that’s percolating into a product
    • Professionals: Some companies encourage speakers to bolster the company reputation, promotions and job descriptions might require this

How do you put together a talk?

  • How do you pick a talk?
  • Know who is selecting talks, go niche for larger conferences if you don’t have large credentials/backing
  • Sometimes conferences will encourage “tracks” certain themes for topics
  • What are some talks you like? What do they do differently?
  • Do you aim for something you know, or want to know?
  • How do you write your talks?
  • How do you practice for a talk?
  • Differences between digital and physical presentations?
  • How long does it take you?

Where can you find places to speak?

  • Is this the right question? What does this tell you about your motivation?
  • Meet new people who share your interests through online and in-person events. (Meetup)
  • Find your next tech conference (Confs.Tech)
  • Google for events in your area!

Final Questions

  • Is it worth the time and anxiety?
  • What do you want out of talks?
  • What are some alternatives?
    • Blogging
    • Videos
    • Open Source
    • Participating in communities

Resources We Like

  • Is Speaking At A Conference Really Worth Your Time? (Cleverism.com)
  • We’re 93% certain that Burke Holland gave a great talk about a dishwasher and Vue.js. (Twitter)
  • Monitor you Netlify sites with Datadog (Datadog)
  • Netlify (docs.datadoghq.com)
  • Risk Astley – Never Gonna Give You Up (Official Music Video) (YouTube)
  • Simple Minds – Don’t You (Forget About Me) (YouTube)
  • Foo Fighters With Rick Astley – Never Gonna Give You Up – London O2 Arena 19 September 2017 (YouTube)

Tip of the Week

  • Next Meeting is a free app for macOS that keeps a status message up in the top right of your toolbar so you know when your next meeting is. It does other stuff too, like making it easier to join meetings and see your day’s events but … the status is enough to warrant the install. Thanks MadVikingGod! (Mac App Store)
  • How do I disable “link preview” in iOS safari? (Stack Exchange)
  • Here is your new favorite YouTube channel, Rick Beato is a music professional who makes great videos about the music you love, focusing on what makes the songs and artists special. (YouTube)
  • Hot is a free app for macOS that shows you the temperate of your MacBook Pro … and the percentage of CPU you’re limited to because of the heat! Laptop feels slow? Maybe it’s too hot! (GitHub, XS-Labs)
  • What is the meaning of $? in a shell script? (Stack Exchange)
  • Did you know…You can install brew on Linux? That’s right, the popular macOS packaging software is available on your favorite distro. (docs.brew.sh, brew.sh)

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