Friday, May 24, 2013

Slides for my KalamazooX Conference Talk

Mike Eaton was kind enough to invite me back to give a talk at the KalamazooX Conference. KalX is my second favorite conference of any I’ve gone to. I’ll even put on my pompous hat and point out that I’ve now been to a lot of conferences across the US and a number of international ones. KalX blows all those away.

KalX is very special to me. I do CodeMash for the community, not for me. I do conferences like StirTrek for friends and the community, not for me. I do conferences like StarEast for my job, not for me.

KalX? It’s all about me. Sure, I do one 20 minute talk, but the rest of the time I’m getting re-energized, motivated, and inspired. I’ve been in bad need of that this last year, and once again Mike and his crew pulled off an amazing day.

My contribution was a variation of my “It’s Not About You” deck that I’ve done a couple times as a five minute lightning talk. I added on a section trying to address some things that I think are killing conferences—and that tie directly back to how we as individuals try to communicate. (Note: there’s profanity in some of the slides as examples, if that sort of thing bothers you.)

Great communication happens only when the person trying to deliver a message cares more about how they’re delivering that message than what the message actually is. Too often people let their personas take over and build walls between themselves and their intended audience. (“Audience” being the person across the table from you or 5,000 people in a conference keynote hall.)

I used examples including a conference keynoter, the PyCon train wreck, and Jesus Christ washing his disciples’ feet. I hadn’t thought about the range of those examples until Michael Letterle Tweeted about it:


That’s a pretty awesome compliment, and as you can see I’ve starred it to keep it in my Favorites list on Twitter for those times when I need a smile.

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