May 16 2020

The aftermath

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 14:24

The Spring I/O Virtual conference was a success. Sergi Almar, the organizer did an amazing job, and his decision to stream it on YouTube while the speakers were Zoom-ing each other made sure everybody would got a very good experience. Discord was used to communicate between the 2500+ plus participants, to submit and answer questions, which was yet another amazing decision, because it made sure no message was was missed. I enjoyed the experience, even if, like I said in my previous entry I was very anxious about it.

Here is my presentation if you are interested.

There is more than one reason for being anxious about it and I decided it would be a good idea to write here about what it took to get this ready.

I received the email from Sergi and I was honoured to accept. After accepting I started working on the presentation. The first draft was very … disorganized. I had a lot to say about Spring and about the learning process. I needed help to make sure it was coherent enough. So I involved my colleagues from Cloudsoft. I did a mock talk with them when the presentation was not even ready. Also, it was done using Google Slides, and I was quite surprised when the slide show was slow even if it only had about 20 slides. I also sent the presentation to a few friends of mine and got their feedback too. After the first demo, I created a document with all the feedback and started working on it. I really tried using Google Slides, but the slide show looked like an internet page being loaded using ADSL. It was not suitable to an event as big as Spring I/O is.

So I installed Libre Impress and re-did it. I was now at the 3rd version of the presentation and I had hours of talking to myself trying to stick to the script and saying all I needed to say in 30 minutes and not forgetting anything. I also had to keep personal details to a minimum – there is a limit to how much you can tell about yourself in a presentation before people start to think you are a narcissist. I had to make it interesting, keep it coherent and drop a joke here in there, so people won’t fall asleep. But the Libre version was slow as well. I had a few animations and pictures and that seemed to give it trouble.

So I was forced to get Microsoft Office, which I thought I would never need on MacOS. And there I was, re-doing it. It was looking good and it was moving as a presentation should. I’m not fond of any other Windows products, except the Office suite. The Office suite is one of their best products and I hope they never manage to fuck it up.

And then, I found the Couldsoft presentation template and it looked better than the one I was using. And this is how the 5th version happened.

In the morning of the talk, I realized the presentation needs a references slide and added that in. At this point, I was at version 6. And that is the one I actually used.

That was the process of making it happen. Let me tell you about the day of the talk.

I could barely fall asleep the night before, but I managed. I woke up at 3 and decided to try to sleep some more, because that is not a normal hour normal people start their day. And I had a nightmare in which I overslept and missed the talk. And I woke up terrified and with an upset stomach. I thought some water and coffee would settle it, but while viewing the talks before mine it was actually growling. I was thinking to myself that it would be ridiculous if that happened while I was speaking.

I tried to put on a little make-up with the Zoom camera on to see how my face looked like. No matter what I did my left eyebrow looked crooked. On camera, it looked like it had a big dark spot right in the middle of it. I tried four different eyebrow pencils… nothing. So I just gave it up all together, cleaned up my face and just put on some foundation to make sure my face was not 50 shades of pink.

And then, it was my turn to be live. I had a slide to introduce myself and I forgot to mention that I was working for Cloudsoft. Who does that? Who forgets to mention the company that actually pays their bills? Well, obviously somebody like me. But I remembered quickly enough, and managed to flawlessly mention it in the context of another slide. And because I had to improvise, I had to give up the in my spare time I actually work for a living joke.

I forgot to start my timer, so I might have talked more than 30 minutes. Especially since I somehow managed to talk more about me than I should have. Sergi told me he will signal me when I am close to the end of my time, but I realized mid-talk that he did not tell me how(because I confidently told him I will use a timer). Would it be a hand signal, a paper sheet with the number of minutes left on it, what was the sign? At some point I thought I’ve seen him doing a hand signal, so I cut it short. I’m still not sure that was it. :)))

And I forgot to breathe, obviously… And there where quite a few hms and yeahs. After it was all done, I felt like laughing at myself and my own panicked attitude on the talk. I mean, there were only 900 people watching, it was not that big of a deal. It was nothing compared to the Christmas concert in November, when the sound wasn’t working and my entire choir looked like a lip-sync group in front of thousands of people(those that participated to the opening of the Edinburgh Christmas market in November 2019, know what I’m talking about).

But it is finally over. I am absurdly critical of myself, but I know that my perception of the talk being a disaster is not real. Still, it took a few friends and colleagues to convince me that is was quite cool, actually. And some of them, I did not even knew they were really interested in Spring. That was a nice surprise.

Consider me masochistic, but I will probably do this kind of thing again in the future. Why? Because I did it this time and the sky did not fall on me. ;) And because, just like anything else, I will get better at it as long as I practice enough.

Stay safe, stay happy and stay inside!

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