Under the Radar

Under the Radar 51: Speaking at Conferences


00:00:00   welcome to under the radar a show about

00:00:02   independent iOS app development I'm

00:00:04   Marco Arment and I'm David Smith under

00:00:06   the radar is never longer than 30

00:00:07   minutes so let's get started so today we

00:00:09   wanted to talk about speaking at

00:00:11   conferences David and I have both done a

00:00:14   lot of it David you're right in the

00:00:16   middle of two conferences now and we a

00:00:20   lot of developers you know both attend

00:00:22   conferences and also many developers are

00:00:24   asked to speak at developer conferences

00:00:26   and so there's there's certainly a lot

00:00:29   of I don't know if interest around this

00:00:32   topic I'd say and we figured we go over

00:00:35   like kind of what it's like to speak at

00:00:38   a conference why you might want to why

00:00:40   you might not want to the process

00:00:43   involved and kind of had to manage it

00:00:44   that seemed reasonable

00:00:45   yeah and I think it's a kind of thing

00:00:47   that I remember being very intimidated

00:00:51   by when I was early in my career I

00:00:54   didn't when I was in the phase where I

00:00:56   would really only ever attend

00:00:57   conferences and I'd kind of go and that

00:00:59   see these people do this they this thing

00:01:01   up on a stage and it would feel very

00:01:02   scary and my hope is that we can kind of

00:01:05   make that a little less scary or at

00:01:08   least put some handles on it for if

00:01:09   you're someone who is trying to think

00:01:12   about getting into this or wanting to

00:01:14   start doing conference speaking to make

00:01:17   it a little bit less scary because it's

00:01:18   but not really as scary as it may

00:01:20   sometimes feel yeah and so you know

00:01:23   first you know it's let's assume that

00:01:25   there's a conference that you either

00:01:27   want to submit a proposal to or that has

00:01:29   asked you to speak so so assume

00:01:30   basically that you're in the planning

00:01:31   process or the deciding process one

00:01:34   thing to think about is like is this the

00:01:37   kind of thing you want to do and and

00:01:39   what are you looking to get out of it it

00:01:41   is not a quick or easy process it is it

00:01:44   is not something you can just kind of

00:01:45   blow off and and get on with your life

00:01:47   it takes a lot of time to prepare for a

00:01:49   conference speaking and you know like I

00:01:52   mean I would say most of my talks I'm

00:01:54   probably preparing for maybe a week

00:01:57   ahead of time like salt a solid weekend

00:01:59   I might not that might be spread out

00:02:00   across you know more time spans but it's

00:02:04   about of about a week of work I would

00:02:05   say for a good talk is that is that

00:02:07   about it right for you I'd say so I mean

00:02:09   I think I probably spend typically two

00:02:12   to three days

00:02:13   is just getting the talk like I want it

00:02:17   in terms of the structure and the slides

00:02:19   and the overall kind of flow of it and

00:02:23   then it's probably another couple of

00:02:25   days this is where it starts to become

00:02:26   more spread out but if just practicing

00:02:29   of going through and doing it over and

00:02:31   over again and especially depending on

00:02:33   how long your conference slot is you

00:02:35   know so sometimes I've done the

00:02:37   conference speaking where I'm only doing

00:02:39   you know 15 20 minute talks where

00:02:41   rehearsal is a bit easier because you

00:02:43   know doing a full run-through you can do

00:02:45   pretty quickly but I've also done in

00:02:46   talks where it's 45 minutes to an hour

00:02:48   where then the rehearsal schedule gets a

00:02:51   little bit longer and more drawn-out

00:02:52   because if you want to do a single

00:02:54   run-through takes you know it takes a

00:02:55   full hour to do that run through but

00:02:58   overall yeah I'd say it's about about a

00:03:00   week if you want to do it well and I

00:03:03   think that is something that I when I

00:03:06   was first sort of mouth my the first

00:03:08   time I ever said yes to doing a

00:03:09   conference speak speech I remember

00:03:12   having no real concept of how long it

00:03:14   was going to take I was like oh you know

00:03:15   it's the kind of thing maybe it's like

00:03:16   I'll spend an afternoon kind of putting

00:03:19   it together and you know how wrong I was

00:03:22   about that I think is a good thing to

00:03:24   say just because if you don't plan for

00:03:27   it in that way and Vout and factor that

00:03:28   in whether you can both they have afford

00:03:31   the time for it and then if you actually

00:03:33   just have the ability to do it is

00:03:36   definitely something that if you're not

00:03:37   expecting it like it's it's easy to

00:03:39   imagine that you know the output only

00:03:43   Tiffani were just trying to put together

00:03:45   a 15-minute song

00:03:47   it seems like that should be really easy

00:03:48   but trying to have something that's

00:03:50   concise and to the point in that period

00:03:52   of time takes way more effort then you'd

00:03:55   probably even imagine yeah I mean like

00:03:57   like one of the places I usually start

00:03:59   is by writing out the the bulk of what

00:04:02   I'm going to say kind of like in like an

00:04:05   outline format that's kind of like an

00:04:06   informal outline so it's kind of like

00:04:08   halfway between an outline and a

00:04:10   blogpost because what the basis of any

00:04:13   good talk is some kind of coherent story

00:04:16   that runs through it so you know a good

00:04:18   talk should basically read like like if

00:04:21   you if you read transcription of it it

00:04:23   should basically read like a good blog

00:04:25   post you know like a persuasive essay or

00:04:27   good story or something like that and so

00:04:30   it really helps a lot to write it out

00:04:32   you know even if you're not writing out

00:04:34   exactly every word you want to say just

00:04:36   to at least write out like a general

00:04:39   overview that is readable so that you

00:04:41   can then treat it a little bit like a

00:04:43   blog post as you're writing it and be

00:04:45   able to edit things move things around

00:04:47   reframe things in ways that make more

00:04:49   sense as a coherent story because if you

00:04:52   don't do that and so and I've had talks

00:04:54   where I've done that I've had talked to

00:04:55   where I haven't done that the ones were

00:04:57   the ones where I just opened up keynote

00:04:59   and just started making slides have

00:05:01   always been substantially worse the ones

00:05:05   that I start out like just as if as a

00:05:07   presentation that way I just always

00:05:09   worse it my best talks I haven't done

00:05:12   that many but ultimately like my good

00:05:14   talks are the ones where I have written

00:05:16   it out basically as as a blog post style

00:05:19   of speaking and structurally first and

00:05:22   then gone and made the slides from that

00:05:24   point and this is all to say also that

00:05:26   you know that that you should treat it

00:05:29   not as this kind of full waterfall

00:05:32   process of like you write it all out

00:05:33   then you make the slides then you go

00:05:35   give them all of my talks I have edited

00:05:38   up until like the night before I've

00:05:41   given them some times the same day I've

00:05:42   given them I'm still editing them

00:05:43   because what you realize during

00:05:47   rehearsal which you should you should

00:05:49   always rehearse your talks hopefully

00:05:52   even more than once if you have the time

00:05:54   before you give them because rehearsing

00:05:57   it like by yourself running through it

00:05:58   like actually like standing up with a

00:06:01   clicker and having your lap up in

00:06:03   presentation mode like actually like

00:06:05   running through it as you would give it

00:06:06   giving it to a room of nobody is

00:06:09   incredibly valuable to get a sense for

00:06:12   kind of what works what doesn't you know

00:06:13   how it flows how it doesn't flow like

00:06:16   what parts you stumble over what parts

00:06:18   need to be rethought or don't belong or

00:06:20   kind of break the rhythm or whatever

00:06:22   else the the rehearsal part of it is

00:06:25   invaluable and I highly highly recommend

00:06:28   that you never give a talk that you have

00:06:30   not rehearsed if it's this kind of

00:06:32   format and we'll get to well I have some

00:06:34   pics about this format that I get to

00:06:35   later but in the kind of traditional

00:06:37   format of you have a person standing in

00:06:39   front of a crowd with a microphone and

00:06:41   station clicker going through a slide

00:06:43   deck and talking you need to have

00:06:44   rehearsed that because otherwise it

00:06:47   basically it shows if you haven't

00:06:49   rehearsed it and it really helps to get

00:06:51   a lot of the a lot of the the problems

00:06:53   that you kind of stand them away if you

00:06:55   go through some rehearsals and realize

00:06:57   what doesn't work and edit what needs

00:06:58   what needs to be edited yeah and I think

00:07:00   - it's what I find is most helpful when

00:07:03   I'm preparing some of the talk and I

00:07:05   don't quite do that through the road

00:07:06   that you do where you kind of outlined

00:07:07   it like I tend to think it through in my

00:07:10   head and it's the kind of thing that

00:07:13   once I sign up for a talk I'll take in

00:07:15   the back of my mind for like a month I'm

00:07:17   kind of running through this vague sense

00:07:19   of what I want to accomplish and I think

00:07:21   one of the key things that I found is

00:07:22   that if I can condense what I'm trying

00:07:26   to say to you know a few sentences or a

00:07:31   1 minute kind of overview like I can

00:07:33   kind of get this kernel of like this is

00:07:35   the thing that I want the audience to

00:07:37   come away with and I can be very concise

00:07:40   and specific about that I always find

00:07:42   that's very helpful for me to prepare a

00:07:44   compelling talk and as I go through my

00:07:47   rehearsals I can kind of judge if I'm

00:07:50   going down any dead ends or things that

00:07:52   aren't connecting back to that main

00:07:55   point because the reality I think - is

00:07:57   as like I used to be really scared of

00:08:01   public speaking in and a lot of that was

00:08:04   coming from overemphasizing I think the

00:08:06   the reaction that your audience is going

00:08:08   to have to your talk that you put all

00:08:11   this time and effort into it and the

00:08:12   reality and you kind of you in initially

00:08:14   I used to think that everyone is going

00:08:16   to be like hanging on every word and

00:08:18   really thinking about it and and I can

00:08:20   turn Eliza knit but then I started to go

00:08:22   to conferences and I realized that I

00:08:24   would I leave with a talk is a general

00:08:27   impression far more often than I do like

00:08:29   a specific like a detailed understanding

00:08:31   or analysis of what someone just said

00:08:34   like you kind of get this high level

00:08:36   well that's kind of what they were

00:08:38   saying and if what you want to do as

00:08:40   you're preparing it I feel like is to

00:08:42   make sure that that impression that

00:08:44   you're going to be leaving someone with

00:08:45   is the actual impression that you're

00:08:47   trying to leave them with and so as you

00:08:49   do it if you have this the core thesis

00:08:51   that you can kind of compare all of your

00:08:53   notes slides with compare all the

00:08:54   like anecdotes or the lines of thinking

00:08:56   you're doing towards I feel like that

00:08:58   makes it a much more compelling thing

00:09:00   because everything is just pointing back

00:09:01   to the same point over and over and over

00:09:03   again you know when when you're writing

00:09:06   it or when you're thinking about what

00:09:07   what it will be like to be to give a

00:09:09   conference talk and maybe you're

00:09:10   stressing out about it like one of the

00:09:12   things that that I that I read I think

00:09:14   it was like the there's that one book

00:09:16   like a bad that everybody reads I giving

00:09:18   presentations I've totally forgotten

00:09:19   what it is this is well and I read like

00:09:23   the first I'd rather the intro basically

00:09:25   that's it because I don't read very very

00:09:27   well but one of the things I learn from

00:09:29   that which which is a very valuable

00:09:31   lesson is that you know if you think

00:09:34   about what people stressed out about

00:09:36   most of the time people are stressed out

00:09:37   with the project of giving the talk

00:09:39   about what if I say too much or I

00:09:43   stumble over a sentence or or I I fumble

00:09:46   something or I don't say something right

00:09:47   and the reality is that if you actually

00:09:50   if you've been to conferences if you

00:09:53   actually think about it and actually pay

00:09:54   attention to what people are saying word

00:09:56   for word detailing a little

00:09:58   transcription for a minute in your mind

00:10:00   and you'll see that people on stage are

00:10:02   constantly fumbling look you know

00:10:04   fumbling over their words are constantly

00:10:05   saying or more alike and you are

00:10:09   actually Auto correcting that in your

00:10:11   head as you're listening so it doesn't

00:10:13   really matter at all that is not that is

00:10:15   not a kind of thing you need to worry

00:10:17   about when you're doing that kind of

00:10:19   public speaking it basically the room

00:10:20   does not care if you say uh they just

00:10:23   don't care so that's not that isn't we

00:10:25   have to worry about and you're right

00:10:26   that you also have to worry less about

00:10:28   like the every single thing you're

00:10:29   saying being greater accurate or tied

00:10:32   together because the room is going to

00:10:34   have very different levels of people

00:10:36   paying attention especially you know

00:10:37   look around a tech conference anybody

00:10:39   you see with a laptop they're not paying

00:10:41   attention to anyone with the phone in

00:10:42   their hand they're not paying attention

00:10:43   anyone who's going to get a coffee or

00:10:45   drink they're not paying attention so

00:10:46   you know you're talking to maybe a third

00:10:48   of the room who's actually listening and

00:10:50   but where it can help to have a coherent

00:10:53   story is to keep people's attention like

00:10:57   if you're kind of all over the place

00:10:58   where there's some rough spots in the

00:11:00   presentation where like you're throwing

00:11:01   in stuff that didn't really need to be

00:11:02   there or you're not really saying or

00:11:04   telling some kind of long convoluted

00:11:06   story doesn't really make sense or

00:11:07   whatever else

00:11:08   you're giving people opportunities to

00:11:10   tune out and so if you can keep them

00:11:13   engaged with something that's a little

00:11:14   bit better rehearsed and edited more

00:11:16   people will hear what you're trying to

00:11:18   say and and people who want to pay

00:11:20   attention will have an easier time

00:11:21   paying attention and I think it's also

00:11:23   bright fair to say it's always better to

00:11:24   run short than run long yes

00:11:27   you know you mean obviously conference

00:11:29   organisers if you if you're somebody

00:11:30   give you a slot you want to be

00:11:32   respectful of you know if they say it's

00:11:33   a half hour slot don't show up and do a

00:11:35   ten minute talk like that probably

00:11:37   wouldn't go well but on the flip side if

00:11:39   you have to go one way or the other I

00:11:41   always run short no one's ever gonna be

00:11:43   like oh you know it's like if you leave

00:11:45   the audience being like oh I wish you

00:11:47   would just talk had talked for hours and

00:11:48   hours it's like you're doing great don't

00:11:50   worry about it but on the flip side if

00:11:52   someone's like oh why won't he is like

00:11:54   is he ever going to finish is this like

00:11:56   where is this going that is far more

00:11:58   problematic than things like being too

00:12:00   short exactly and then I guess the nice

00:12:04   thing to talk about is kind of like if

00:12:05   you're going to do one of these talks

00:12:07   kind of the mechanics of like what what

00:12:10   should your presentation include what

00:12:12   should it not include how to do certain

00:12:14   things I mean number one that these

00:12:16   presentations almost always include is

00:12:18   slides you have some kind of slide deck

00:12:20   usually from keynote or if if you are in

00:12:23   the Microsoft world from PowerPoint and

00:12:24   you go through the slide deck and and it

00:12:27   can be like you know meaningfully

00:12:29   structured or whatever else it could be

00:12:31   heavily designed it could be very

00:12:34   bare-bones it could be all pictures or

00:12:36   all text or whatever else I would say

00:12:38   from my experience making slides there's

00:12:41   always going to be other people at the

00:12:43   conference whose slides look way better

00:12:45   than mine and that will make me feel bad

00:12:47   but the reality is that spending a lot

00:12:50   of time on your slides especially the

00:12:52   kind of conference is that that

00:12:53   listeners of the show would attend or be

00:12:55   asked to speak at you know a lot of like

00:12:57   kind of nerdy one spending a ton of time

00:12:59   on your slides is a massive time sink

00:13:02   that will never end and is probably not

00:13:04   worth stressing too much out about like

00:13:07   I mean one of my talks I gave at at

00:13:10   singleton a few years back I didn't even

00:13:12   have slides because I was like I had had

00:13:14   a bad experience with slides and at a

00:13:16   previous conference and I said all right

00:13:17   next next time I do one no slides it was

00:13:19   totally fine

00:13:20   like if you have a good

00:13:22   story to speak and you can keep people's

00:13:24   attention well enough by what by just

00:13:26   the words and it's a little bit harder

00:13:27   but it's possible then doing without

00:13:29   slides is actually kind of freeing and

00:13:31   wonderful but you know if you're gonna

00:13:34   have slides I would say again for the

00:13:37   people listening to this show doing like

00:13:38   you know geeky and programming types of

00:13:41   conferences I would say don't spend a

00:13:44   whole lot of time trying to make them in

00:13:46   the most incredibly designed slides ever

00:13:48   keep them very simple you know don't put

00:13:51   a lot of text on them just keep it keep

00:13:52   it simple you know you know single

00:13:54   sentences or words pictures if you have

00:13:58   to show pictures definitely don't be

00:14:00   reading off of them you know simple

00:14:01   stuff you can get from pretty much any

00:14:02   you know guide on how to do good

00:14:05   presentations and I think in many ways

00:14:07   it reminds me of app design in the way

00:14:09   that I have to approach it myself where

00:14:11   I always admire slide decks that are

00:14:15   beautiful and really well and put

00:14:17   together and really clever but the

00:14:20   reality is in the same way that I'm not

00:14:21   really an app designer and I can't make

00:14:23   like there's a certain kind of design

00:14:25   that I love to look at in an app but I

00:14:27   just can't do myself I understand that

00:14:30   in the same way when I'm designing a

00:14:32   keynote deck I can't make it look pretty

00:14:35   in that way and so all of my - all of

00:14:37   them the presentations I think I've ever

00:14:38   given I opened up keynote I choose the

00:14:41   first template which is a black

00:14:43   background with white text that's very

00:14:45   important by the way because if you if

00:14:47   you you know at any conference you see

00:14:49   like you see the problems when somebody

00:14:50   has a white background basically this is

00:14:52   being projected by a dim crappy

00:14:55   projector onto a gray wall or or screens

00:14:58   like anything that that has like a white

00:15:01   edge it's gonna be all like you know

00:15:03   this blurry white edge and those screws

00:15:05   it just goes like a big big square in

00:15:06   the middle the wall like whereas if you

00:15:08   have a black background and white

00:15:11   elements then those elements seem like

00:15:14   they're floating in the middle of the

00:15:15   wall there's you don't see the borders

00:15:17   around it basically and that's why

00:15:19   that's why Apple's slide deck so are

00:15:21   always you know when they're presented

00:15:22   things it's always black backgrounds

00:15:24   with things just kind of floating in the

00:15:25   middle that's why it looks better and

00:15:27   it's easier to see for the people in the

00:15:28   room and then beyond that I think like

00:15:31   just like you said it's being careful to

00:15:33   I for me my slides are usually

00:15:36   like a short phrase like two or three

00:15:38   words on each slide they're just there

00:15:40   for emphasis they're not there to convey

00:15:42   any information typically like every now

00:15:45   and then they'll have a slide that's you

00:15:46   know it's like it's a graph or it's a

00:15:48   picture or diagram we're supposed to

00:15:50   convey information but otherwise it's

00:15:52   just you know essentially whatever

00:15:54   sentence I'm saying right now if there's

00:15:56   something I want to emphasize it's on

00:15:58   the slide behind me and it's kind of

00:16:00   like not like a transcript in that way

00:16:02   but it's if you just went through and

00:16:05   listened and looked at the slides

00:16:07   they're just there to emphasize things

00:16:09   but then actually also I wanted to

00:16:11   mention too is it's the importance of if

00:16:13   you actually are doing this and you

00:16:14   actually think the experience of doing

00:16:15   it so you know you signed up you've

00:16:16   built this a presentation the actual

00:16:19   experience of going and giving a talk

00:16:21   something's to keep in mind one is you

00:16:24   always want to ideally you'd always want

00:16:27   to do it like a run-through in the in

00:16:30   the venue but you ideally will have your

00:16:32   slides on the machine that they're going

00:16:35   to be run on you're going to want to

00:16:37   have a clicker you want to stand on the

00:16:38   stage and you know just hit next slide a

00:16:40   few times make sure everything looks

00:16:42   good make sure you feel comfortable with

00:16:43   where everything is like the worst thing

00:16:46   is if you just you know at the last

00:16:48   minute hand somebody a drive which is

00:16:50   kind of amusing but in conferences or

00:16:52   the only situation and I can counter now

00:16:54   where I ever have to use like old USB

00:16:56   thumb drive yeah because that seems to

00:16:58   be the universal way of getting

00:16:59   conference slides to the organizers but

00:17:02   you hand that to somebody like you don't

00:17:04   want to be handing that to them the

00:17:05   moment before you step onstage because

00:17:07   who knows what's gonna happen when they

00:17:09   go try and open that keynote deck and

00:17:11   you want to do a quick run-through you

00:17:13   want to make sure everything's together

00:17:14   and for me at least I find too that it

00:17:16   helps it makes me a little less nervous

00:17:18   if I it's like if the all of the

00:17:21   practical logistic parts are taken care

00:17:23   of that I know I know where I'm gonna be

00:17:26   I know what I'm going to hold in my hand

00:17:29   what kind of microphone it's gonna be

00:17:30   for example like it makes a big

00:17:32   difference in terms of if you are gonna

00:17:33   have a handheld microphone where you're

00:17:37   gonna have to be aware of keeping that

00:17:38   in this you know in a constant place

00:17:40   where your mouth is if it's a lapel

00:17:42   microphone where you have to be careful

00:17:43   of how you move your shoulders because

00:17:45   if you have a lapel microphone sometimes

00:17:47   you need to be careful that you don't

00:17:48   turn your head

00:17:50   the opposite direction of your shoulders

00:17:51   where suddenly you kid that you your

00:17:54   voice starts to fall off from the

00:17:55   microphone or if it's the really cool

00:17:57   ones the ones that can like stick out of

00:17:58   your ear and come down where you can

00:18:01   have a bit more flexibility but it's a

00:18:03   good thing to run through that and in my

00:18:05   experience if you ask an organiser hey

00:18:08   I'd love to do a quick run-through of my

00:18:10   slides like I want to be more prepared I

00:18:13   very rarely will you encounter an

00:18:14   organizer who's like no no no you know

00:18:16   that we can't do that like their other

00:18:18   goal is for you to do well and so it's

00:18:21   always a good idea to try and do that do

00:18:23   a quick run-through make sure you feel

00:18:25   comfortable in the space and are

00:18:27   confident that everything's gonna work

00:18:28   and so you don't have those things

00:18:30   weighing on you as you're getting ready

00:18:32   to actually do it alright so now we're

00:18:34   going to talk about basically you know

00:18:37   things like is it worth doing doing

00:18:39   conference speaking and why you might

00:18:41   want to in the format etc but first our

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00:20:16   supporting this show so we basically

00:20:19   talked so far about like if you want to

00:20:20   do conference speaking like how you know

00:20:22   some general tips and pointers as much

00:20:24   as we can fit into like 18 minutes of

00:20:26   how to do it kind of you know how to

00:20:27   write and how to how to do some

00:20:29   technical sides of it I want to talk a

00:20:31   little bit about though reasons why you

00:20:33   might want to do this at all and reasons

00:20:35   why you might not want to do this at all

00:20:36   this you know if you if you get to any

00:20:39   level of notability in a field

00:20:43   especially in the tech field you are

00:20:45   likely to be asked to speak at some kind

00:20:47   of event or conference and especially

00:20:50   you know like in the in the in our

00:20:52   little world of app and tech people we

00:20:54   have lots of conferences big and small

00:20:56   many of them are kind of more

00:20:59   commercially run and where the speakers

00:21:01   are getting paid a substantial amount

00:21:03   and the tickets are cost a lot of money

00:21:05   and they're usually larger and they

00:21:07   usually appeal to like wide you know

00:21:09   wider markets like a Java conference or

00:21:11   whatever and then you have a lot of

00:21:13   these like smaller indie ones that I

00:21:16   think the iOS world has more of those

00:21:18   typically where you have like smaller

00:21:20   budgets oftentimes the speakers are not

00:21:23   getting paid either at all or like that

00:21:25   you know they might have their travel

00:21:27   expenses and ticket covered but no

00:21:28   additional money after that or some some

00:21:30   small amount like you know under $2,000

00:21:33   say obviously that their it varies for

00:21:35   you whether that's consider a small

00:21:36   amount but some something in that range

00:21:38   you know and so you can you can look at

00:21:41   like whether to do this as like

00:21:44   basically if you're going to be a

00:21:46   professional conference speaker if you

00:21:48   are going to if you want to speak for

00:21:50   money if the money is what drives you

00:21:52   here you really need to be doing it a

00:21:54   lot and that's why I like the people who

00:21:56   speak on conference circuits they tend

00:21:58   to make a small number of talks and give

00:22:01   each one a high number of times

00:22:03   sometimes they'll give the same talk all

00:22:04   around the country or are on the world

00:22:06   of different events for like a whole

00:22:08   year because that's their business that

00:22:10   they make one amazing talk that is

00:22:12   applicable to a wide audience in a

00:22:13   certain industry and they go around the

00:22:15   world and they

00:22:16   paid good money because that is

00:22:18   effectively that that's their full-time

00:22:19   job or that is most of their job or they

00:22:23   you know maybe they use that to build

00:22:24   credibility to sell more books or or

00:22:26   they write books to increase their

00:22:27   speaking fees my boss speaking so it's

00:22:30   that is a whole career and if you want

00:22:32   to do that that is a very different

00:22:33   career than being a software developer

00:22:36   and that might be well suited to you but

00:22:38   I you know you have to decide we know

00:22:40   whether that's the kind of career that

00:22:41   you want and all the things come along

00:22:42   with it like a lot of travel and things

00:22:44   like that if if that's not your goal if

00:22:48   your goal is simply to speak at a

00:22:51   conference because it might be fun or

00:22:53   you want to attend that conference and

00:22:55   that's an easy way to attend it or you

00:22:58   want to promote something that you are

00:23:00   doing like an app you're making that's a

00:23:02   very different job and that in that kind

00:23:04   of case whether or how much you're being

00:23:07   paid is way less important because

00:23:09   chances are whatever they're going to

00:23:10   offer you is not going to be worth the

00:23:13   week plus of work that you're going to

00:23:15   lose by if I agree to do this not to

00:23:18   mention that you know the value of

00:23:19   whatever stress it might put you through

00:23:21   so the money part of it I think is

00:23:24   almost irrelevant for most people who

00:23:26   are in our kind of business because it's

00:23:29   not going to be enough money where the

00:23:31   money is going to matter to you

00:23:32   in all likelihood so I would say ignore

00:23:36   the money part of it and and really

00:23:37   think about like do I want to do this to

00:23:40   promote something or to give back to a

00:23:43   conference I've I've loved for years or

00:23:45   or to just get better at public speaking

00:23:48   or whatever else and that's a very

00:23:50   different question and so like to me

00:23:52   I've actually decided over the last

00:23:54   couple of years that it is almost never

00:23:56   worth doing it for me because I get so

00:23:59   much stress about it and I lose so much

00:24:02   time to it and that even when I go to a

00:24:04   conference to speak at it I end up not

00:24:06   really able to enjoy that conference

00:24:08   until my talk is over which is often at

00:24:11   least halfway through it and and so it

00:24:13   is and like all like the the fun like

00:24:16   socializing and and and things that

00:24:17   happened before my talk I basically

00:24:19   don't enjoy or don't even get to attend

00:24:21   so I I have recently found that I would

00:24:24   rather just do like podcasts and

00:24:26   occasional blog post to get my message

00:24:28   out

00:24:29   hardly ever speak at conferences and

00:24:31   then just attend conferences because I

00:24:32   enjoy them and that way I'm able to

00:24:34   enjoy them rather than really do a lot

00:24:36   of talks and that that's why I do almost

00:24:38   no talks anymore what do you think so I

00:24:41   think there's a tricky balance and I

00:24:44   think for sure I think you're right in

00:24:45   the sense that I don't do conferences

00:24:47   for financial reasons like they're out

00:24:49   there they're definitely a loss part of

00:24:52   my professional career at this point

00:24:54   like that's and going down the route of

00:24:55   trying to do it more professionally

00:24:57   where you would actually get reasonable

00:24:58   speaking fees and things it's just a

00:24:59   whole other world that I don't really

00:25:01   have much interest in and I think when I

00:25:04   was starting out I had the first time

00:25:06   like a conference organizer reached out

00:25:07   to me and said hey I think you'd be a

00:25:08   good fit for this conference I remember

00:25:12   it's like I wanted to do it mostly just

00:25:14   just so that I would have done it and

00:25:17   none it's nothing like a like a oh look

00:25:20   at me I've done it kind of thing but a

00:25:22   bit to eliminate this like the fear of

00:25:24   it that I think public speaking is one

00:25:27   of the things that it's so easy to get

00:25:30   scared of to really have genuine honest

00:25:32   fear about but the only way you can

00:25:35   really get over that is to sort of work

00:25:37   on it and try it and if you're well

00:25:39   prepared it's a it's less scary than you

00:25:42   might expect and largely I do conference

00:25:45   speaking now just for the purpose of

00:25:47   practicing and developing that skill to

00:25:50   make it easier and better for myself

00:25:52   down the road to give myself

00:25:54   opportunities that I may not otherwise

00:25:56   have to speak at there are some

00:25:58   conferences that I you know have would

00:26:01   have always wanted to go to for example

00:26:03   and it's like you have the goal of like

00:26:05   well maybe one day I could get to speak

00:26:06   at that and the only way you're going to

00:26:08   be sort of good enough to do that is if

00:26:10   you have practiced and one thing I will

00:26:13   say is a nice way to start out if you're

00:26:17   kind of trying to feel this out for

00:26:18   yourself is this something that's worth

00:26:20   it for you is it something that you'd

00:26:21   like to do is to start small and there's

00:26:24   a lot of conferences that are small like

00:26:27   really like I think of like Coco Kampf

00:26:29   is an example of this where it's a

00:26:31   relatively small multitrack conference

00:26:33   that is probably able you know anyone

00:26:36   with who is able to put in some

00:26:38   preparation could probably speak at or

00:26:40   another example there's a lot of user

00:26:41   groups you know Wow

00:26:43   often speaking is a bit more

00:26:44   sophisticated a lot of local you know

00:26:47   user groups will have monthly things

00:26:49   where someone gets up and talks for 10

00:26:51   minutes 20 minutes about something cool

00:26:52   they're working on and you can kind of

00:26:53   get a feel for it but it is a tricky

00:26:55   question to say like is it worth it

00:26:58   because I think it's something that you

00:27:01   typically are doing for reasons other

00:27:03   than strictly rational reasons like it's

00:27:06   for me it's a lot of it's about

00:27:07   conquering of fear and being comfortable

00:27:10   doing this so that I don't have this

00:27:12   part of my professional skill set that I

00:27:16   feel like is do is you know isn't there

00:27:18   because while the nature of being an

00:27:20   developer and doing work you know

00:27:23   largely by myself it's not that I need

00:27:25   to keep working have tremendous

00:27:27   communication skills but I would feel

00:27:29   bad about letting those skills just sort

00:27:33   of fall waste and so overall I think it

00:27:36   is a tricky thing to find that balance

00:27:38   and I think it is very important to

00:27:40   understand that it is a huge cost and

00:27:42   sink in terms of time that you know it

00:27:45   we're all said and done like I'm

00:27:47   speaking at all this year and that's a

00:27:50   conference that's in Ireland so in

00:27:52   addition to like roughly it may be a

00:27:54   week's worth of prep I'm also going to

00:27:56   be flying somewhere and dealing with jet

00:27:57   lag and then dealing with jet lag on the

00:27:59   way back in many ways we had these

00:28:01   similar conversations when we're talk

00:28:02   about going to WWDC like is it worth it

00:28:05   to go to that where you know you can

00:28:07   kind of get a lot of the the feeling of

00:28:09   it without actually going you can get a

00:28:12   lot of the information but there is

00:28:13   something different about actually going

00:28:15   and for me conference speaking is a

00:28:17   great way to kind of get myself to go to

00:28:19   more conferences because I feel it's a

00:28:22   hard thing to sometimes decide uh-huh

00:28:24   you know do I want to pay to travel

00:28:26   don't want to pay to buy ticket and be

00:28:28   away from my family to attend it makes

00:28:30   it a little bit easier where I feel like

00:28:31   I'm I'm accomplishing something by doing

00:28:34   that that I'm getting better at speaking

00:28:35   as a result and typically it's helpful

00:28:37   that they pay for the accommodation the

00:28:39   travel and the ticket but there is

00:28:42   definitely a balance to be struck there

00:28:43   between is am I getting enough out of it

00:28:46   and the nice thing about conference

00:28:48   speaking is you know if you really want

00:28:50   to do it and pursue it a lot you can

00:28:52   probably find opportunities to do that

00:28:53   if you only want to do it one or two

00:28:54   times you can probably find a way to do

00:28:56   that

00:28:57   like there's an easily scalable up and

00:28:59   down between the two extremes yeah

00:29:02   and I mean you know to close this out

00:29:04   cuz we're out of time now I think I

00:29:06   would say if you are on the fence about

00:29:07   whether to speak at a conference reasons

00:29:10   that you that you don't need to worry

00:29:12   about are things like what if I'm

00:29:13   terrible at it what if people laugh at

00:29:15   me is like that that doesn't really

00:29:16   happen in this community like that that

00:29:19   literally never happens so you don't

00:29:21   have to worry about that I think what

00:29:22   you mainly have to worry about is is it

00:29:24   worth it to me and and if you've never

00:29:26   done it before it's a good reason just

00:29:29   do it as you know just just try it just

00:29:30   to find out if it's worth it for you you

00:29:32   might find that you love it

00:29:33   you might find that you hate it but you

00:29:35   should you know if you have the

00:29:36   opportunity to try it try it and then

00:29:39   decide from there exactly and I think

00:29:41   that's the right way to think about it

00:29:42   just keep an open mind to it and it's an

00:29:45   important thing to just try and if it

00:29:49   doesn't work that's no problem

00:29:50   but if you've learned something about

00:29:51   yourself in the process alright thanks

00:29:54   everybody for listening and we'll talk

00:29:55   to you next week bye