This is just a pointer to the two new blogs that are replacing the old culann.com - going forward, I’ll be posting work/career stuff to benscofield.com, and personal things to the new culann.com. This site will continue to be available at archive.culann.com, though.
Wow! Last night, I gave my second significantly-constrained presentation of the past couple of weeks (Pecha Kucha Pittsboro back on 27 July, and Ignite Raleigh last night). It’s a totally different style of speaking, as well as of preparing, and I’m really glad I was able to take part in both events. I’m still digesting many of the lessons from both nights, and I’m sure they’ll both be influential in improving my presentation style going forward.
Both sets of slides are online, so here they are… Of course, like most presentations of this sort, they won’t be particularly useful without the audio. I do know that Ignite’s presentations were recorded, so I’ll make sure to add a link to that when it’s posted.
I just got back from London, where I spoke at Rails Underground. Like so many others, I’m really enjoying attending regional conferences these days - there’s an energy and an atmosphere that’s unmatched at larger events (which, granted, have their own benefits), and I often get to see speakers and talks that I haven’t encountered before. Some of the new (to me) standouts this time were Joseph Wilk on Cucumber and Elise Huard on RFID and other practical technologies; in addition, the known heavy-hitters (Charlie Nutter, Jim Weirich, and Yehuda Katz, for instance) did their usual bang-up jobs. I hear that Dr Nic’s blue-ridge presentation went very well, too, but I wasn’t able to attend as we were scheduled against each other.
My talk didn’t go as well in London as it did at Railsconf, and I’m interested to see if I can figure out what exactly changed. Luckily, all the sessions were filmed, so (as much as I hate watching myself), I’m hoping to be able to glean some lessons for future presentations from it.
Of course, many (most?) people enjoy conferences more for the people they meet and chat with more than the sessions themselves, and I’m happy to report that I had a great time talking, eating, and hanging out with friends both old and new (dinner with Alan, Paul, Jim, and >Duncan in particular was a treat).
London itself was very enjoyable, though the weather was somewhat inconsistent - it’d go from sunny and warm to torrential downpour with little warning in the afternoons, and I rarely found myself dressed properly for all the weather I’d encounter in a walk. I didn’t get to see as much of the city as I’dve liked to, due to some lingering illness from before the trip and an unfortunate scheduling issue with the hotel, but I did enjoy Regent’s Park and the British Museum. I guess I’ll just have to go back to see the rest… and to eat a few more chocolate bars. It’s amazing how many of the smaller brands are still in the market there, as opposed to the state of things here in the US.
If I could figure out how to bottle and sell the inspiration that a good conference breeds in its attendees, I’d be a millionaire. I was terrifically motivated by the work I saw and heard about this last weekend, and I’ll be spending a good portion of my free time hacking and writing away at a couple of projects that were reinvigorated by this particular conference. All in all, I couldn’t ask for anything more. Thanks to Mark Coleman for organizing everything, and I look forward to seeing how it grows in the years to come!
I’ve been both a productivity pr0n consumer and a procrastinator for quite some time now - I discovered GTD back in my days at Nextel (so at least five or six years ago), and have tried and abandoned more task management software than I care to remember (I’m using The Hit List now, if that’s important to anyone). I’m usually pretty good about recording and planning next actions for projects, but I still sometimes fall down in actually doing those actions. Lately, though, I’ve gotten a bit better, and I owe that improvement to the Top Five practice.
Basically, I have a list of things to do/actions to take that grows and shrinks every day (through recurring tasks and whatnot), but averages somewhere north of 15 or 20 items. When confronted with such a big list, though, I tend to get stuck in the weeds, and spend too much time evaluating priorities. To avoid this difficulty (and to help trick myself out of procrastinating), every morning I pull out five things from the big list and write them in a notebook. That gives me a smaller target to focus on, and (so far) has resulted in many getting more things done, consistently.
I’ve talked to various people about this lately, but just to make it official here: Developer Day is coming to Boston on August 15th. We’re still finalizing some of the details, but registration should be open in a couple of days, and we’re hoping that this will be the best one yet (which will be tough, because Durham and DC were both great!)