Productivity

LCA2012 Diary: I Came, I Spoke, I Zonked

Lest my previous diary instalments give the impression that all anyone does at LCA2012 is stress about their speech and sweat a lot, I should point out that I’m definitely in the minority. Social activities at the event continue long into the night, as this “morning after” evidence in our communal living area demonstrates.

I had literally no idea this was going on; I finalised my presentation, did a practice run-through of the entire speech to an empty room, then retired early and slept right through. This detritus of scotch remnants suggested to me that quite a few people might struggle to make it to the opening keynote.

That would have been very much their loss. Karen Sandler gave an awesome speech about how being forced to get an electronic heart regulator implant which ran on closed-source software made her realise how utterly vulnerable everything is to software failure and hacking. I haven’t yet written a post about this because it doesn’t lend itself to easy reduction; I think I’ll wait until there’s a video everyone can see for themselves.

But before I knew it, it was 11:30 and I was in front of an audience myself. I’ve already published the entire text on Lifehacker so I won’t repeat what I said. But I was really pleased with how it went. The audience seemed interested and asked perceptive questions afterwards; I spoke almost exactly to time, despite having armed the audience with newspaper balls to throw at me if I spoke too quickly; and there seems to have been a lot of discussion on Twitter around what I said. I must have absorbed something from all the tips on presentations that we’ve featured.

Remarkably, given my ability to bust virtually anything, there weren’t many major tech glitches. The VGA cable for the presentation wouldn’t lock in properly, but I only knocked it out of place once. At one point I accidentally managed to jump too far ahead on my Kindle, which had the text notes for my speech, but it wasn’t a major hassle. And the Kindle itself is a great device for keeping the notes on; much easier than trying to read them on the same screen as the presentation notebook.

The 50 minutes flew by, I got given a crystal penguin with gold highlights as a thank-you, and that was that. I was spent and starving and headed straight to the buffet lunch, knowing I wouldn’t have to do that again. Probably.

There’s an option for attendees to vote for favourite talks to be repeated on the last afternoon of the conference, and a few people have apparently voted for me. But I’m just going to assume it won’t happen. Through if it does, at least I know the speech is the right length.


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