I was recently lucky enough to speak at DDD2020. I spoke at DDDNorth last year, but this was a completely online and very different to anything I’d done before. The organisers did an amazing job and created an amazing virtual event.
Personally I hope they consider doing an online version of the conference even once the shadow of covid has gone.
If you would like to watch my talk you can find it on youtube along with dozens of other talks from the day.
The guys were kind enough to send me a shiny certificate!
I hope you enjoy the video. If you have any questions please get in touch!
One of the initiatives I sponsor at work which I’m most proud of are our weekly tech talks. The company had a long history of doing them, a small group of people would volunteer to talk about something for about an hour on a Friday afternoon. But the prep was hard work and there was no consistency. We could have talk three months in a row and then nothing for the next six. Worse still the same people always felt pressured into talking which seemed very fair on them.
Inspired by this I went back to work and set about seeing if we could pull off something similar. Sophie had explained how important it was to keep the schedule going week after week. If you start missing weeks those odd weeks develop into hiatuses and then the entire thing stops. She also strongly advised bacon sandwiches but I didn’t have a budget so we relied on BYOB (Bring your Own Buttie) instead.
Over the next few weeks I set about pitching my idea and recruiting speakers. I wanted twelve. I figured that if I could find twelve people willing to give a talk and get them on a weekly schedule then it would be worth doing and I might stand a chance of the talks becoming a sustainable weekly occurrence. I got fifteen.
We booked a meeting room and opened up Skype for anyone who wanted to dial in. We also made sure we recorded all the sessions so if someone couldn’t attend they could watch it at a later date.
At the time of writing we’ve had:
60 consecutive mic drops pausing only for holidays
Over 20 different speakers
20+ hours of recorded videos
Even the global pandemic didn’t slow us down, we simply moved to 100% online!
So here are my steps for starting up your own weekly tech talks:
Plan out your first three months in advance to make sure you have sustainability
Hold your talks at the same time and place every week
Unless for a specific reasons the talk and questions should take less than 30 minutes
Don’t limit to “Tech Talks” some of our best talks have been on sleep, agile, management practices, books, and communication skills. Encourage variety!
Always have a back up speaker, try to have two
Survey your department to find out what talks people are interested in
I’m very proud to say that I’m going to be giving a talk entitled “A Geek’s Guide to People” at DDD2020 on the 12th of December. I’ve loved being involved (both speaking and attending) at the DDD conferences for many years and am glad I can contribute this year. It’s going to be interesting doing it virtually!