Introverted Nerd Discovers Public Speaking, Enriches Self

I spoke at Twin Cities Code Camp this weekend, which is perhaps the largest software developer conference in Minnesota. I gave a talk on KnockoutJS, a JavaScript library for data-binding in HTML/JavaScript apps.

My ridiculous slides and code available for download here.

The talk went really freaking well! It was a lot of fun to give the talk: the audience was sharp and engaged, asked some tough questions, and I had good answers for most of them. The auditorium was quite full, a packed house, which makes things all the more interesting.

Afterwards, I went on Twitter to see what people had to say about my talk. I was ecstatic reading these. Seeing these praises from my peers sent me on a day-long high of endorphin release. Excuse me while I toot my own horn, but I’m just so stoked to hear all this:

Jeff is a well-known developer here in the Twin Cities, and, if I’m not mistaken, a co-founder of The Nerdery. Hearing this was particularly encouraging.

“Coding without a net” refers to writing a lot of code on the fly in front of the audience, along with some impromptu changes to the code in reaction to the questions and promptings from the audience.

The audience was really sharp. “What happens when you do this? Does X follow?” So I tried it out, right there on stage. It was a blast.

During the talk, after all these challenges from the audience, and successfully getting them working, I joked, “I’d better see some good stuff on Twitter about this!”

There were several questions from the audience that I had anticipated and built into my talk. This caused a few people to joke that I had planted ringers in the audience to ask the right questions.

Well folks, I am stoked. I am really happy I summoned the courage a year or two ago to try my hand at public speaking. As a formerly-homeschooled, introverted nerd, I was frightened to death by the idea of public speaking. Now that I’ve done these tech talks 4 or 5 times, some in front of rather large audiences, I’m patting myself on the back for getting myself out there and just f-ing doing it. I freakin’ love giving talks now. And my career advances as a side benefit.

So yeah! Go me!

Hearing praise from your peers, particularly from intelligent, successful people in the industry is all the more encouragement. Can’t wait to do it again next year.

Are you serious about your craft? Get out there. Go meet other developers, give a talk, surround yourself with other nerds. You’ll be glad you did, and a better developer for it.