Wow! Another fantastic That Conference experience. This was my third time in a row going and I couldn’t have been happier with how it turned out. Some highlights:
- My first public talk! I’ve been wanting to speak for years but the timing was always off or I procrastinated. I spoke to a packed room about developing Hybrid Mobile apps, leveraging my experience building Fitwatchr. The audience was very engaged, asking lots of questions both during and after my presentation. I was nervous at first but had practiced extensively (about 10 times) so once I got going, I was in the zone and spoke fluidly. I really enjoyed the experience and look forward to giving the talk again. I plan to record a video of it, as well. The biggest lesson learned is that it takes a lot more time then you’d think to put together a well made, focused, hour long talk. I thought it would be hard to come up with 1 hour’s worth of material; quite the opposite, in fact! I had to cut out a bunch of content. Overall, it took me about 30 hours of effort to plan, research, create, tweak, and practice my talk. I have a new found respect for speakers now!
Kids activities: Each year, the number of full families that attend is noticeably increasing. This is fantastic not for the water park aspect, but for the exposure to programming/development. We have a severe lack of engineering/science graduates in the U.S., so getting children interested in science by bringing them along to Mom or Dad’s conference is a great way to remedy this. This year, kids actually gave talks (and I thought it was cool that I gave one! ha!) and also had more adult-lead sessions to attend. If I have kids someday, I will definitely be exposing them to programming.
- The experience: Between the opportunities this conference offers, to the community of amazing people, That Conference is such a joy to attend. Every year I’ve been able to do something that has helped me grow professionally: in 2012 I won a hackathon, in 2013 I built software for charity, and this year I presented a talk. Naturally, I’m looking forward to 2015!