Discussions about the necessity and relevance of Codes of Conduct for tech communities and at conferences or other events has been returning every few months over the past years. I’ve put together a list of fantastic resources about the topic that were written by great people. So I thought I’d make the list public here (jump to beginning of list).
From my (privileged) perspective as a co-organiser of conferences, speaker, attendee, and member of Open Source communities, I find Codes of Conduct extremely important. I’ve seen their relevance play out in practice many times over the past years.
A few weeks ago, @Charlotteis asked on Twitter about resources for preparing / giving conference talks. Their tweet reminded me that I had meant to write down my process for a very long time. So here it is. I’m planning to write two posts about this topic – this first one will focus on preparation of talks (so basically everything that happens before I pack my bags to travel to the event). I’ll write about everything related with actually giving the talk in the 2nd post.
Also: you can invite me to speak at your event. Topics I speak about include tech and Open Source culture, communities, diversity and inclusion, mental health and empathy. And I have a few open speaking slots in 2016 left. I’m also available for hire. But now, to our topic.
Almost two years ago, I gave my first talk at a frontend meetup, and, a few weeks later, spoke at my first tech conference. Since then, I have given six talks and three keynotes at tech conferences around Europe. I’ve also been parts of the orga teams of two conferences and have been part of committees that did the first blind-selection round of proposals.
There are a few things which frame my experience and capabilities in preparing and giving conf talks:
I really love public speaking. But I get ~extremely~ nervous beforehand (more on that and how I (try to) deal with it in part 2).
I’m not a software developer. With one exception, my talks are usually not technical, meaning that they usually center around human-related topics. This also means that there are some things you may be confronted with that I don’t have to deal with, like working demos, displaying code samples, or similar.
Also, I’m a white, cis, able-bodied woman who doesn’t have to do care work, so I usually have more or less enough time on hand for my preparation.
Given this, some of the things I outline here may not work for you. But hopefully, there are a few useful tips in there that come in handy for you. I’ve added a bunch of links to more resources at the end of each section. There are also several speakers that have inspired me and that I’ve learned from. If you have more useful tips or resources, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or get in touch!
Only a few more hours are left until 2015 is coming to a close. This year went by both extremely slowly and super fast. It has been a no-good year for me, and I’m not really in a good position to write a decent retrospective right now. But I’ve done these posts before and didn’t want to give up the tradition. Also, maybe the writing will help.
Came back from a lovely week in Norway and went back to work leading a software dev team for an NGO.
Spent most of my non-work-time preparing my upcoming conference talk.
Wrote a super long blog post and never published it.
Third month with severe dental issues and pain killers. In the session during which the tooth was supposed to be fixed, it broke. Bye tooth.
After a veeeeeeeery long pause, I had my first piano lessons. Getting back to making music is very exciting and rewarding, and my teacher is fantastic. Unfortunately, I’ll have to stop taking lessons after only a few months. I hope to take this on again at some point in 2016.
I had ~really~ looked forward to traveling to the US for the very first time in my life, and to speaking at &yetConf. Unfortunately, I had to cancel everything last-minute because I wasn’t recovering fast enough to be able to travel.
Got to go to Napoli for a few days (all photos are here), ate lots of pizza and enjoyed the sun:
After sleeping on only mattresses for the past ~7 years, I finally got a bed. This was exciting.
Wrapped up my work as CEO and co-founder of The Neighbourhoodie.
Had a wonderful time working briefly with a few people on a ~really~ nice project. Did a photo shooting with them which was really fun. This short project was the best thing that could have happened to me by end of this year.
I took more than 4,300 photos, including some event photography, and a few commercial photo shootings.
Some of TV Shows I watched this year (some of which I can recommend):
How to get away with Murder
Gilmore Girls (I did two full re-watches this year, mainly because this show has proven to be a good distraction for me.)
Master of None
Scott & Bailey
The Good Wife
Grace and Frankie
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
The Mindy Project
Garfunkel and Oates
You’re the Worst
I also watched a lot of standup comedy and many, many documentaries.
Things I learned this year:
Building good environments is hard. And extremely rewarding.
Sometimes the only thing left for you to do is to remove yourself from an equation.
Realising that you need help is hard. Finding help once you’ve realised that you need it can be even harder.
Things I want to do next year:
I want to get back to traveling more. I’ve been missing that a lot.
I also want to work harder on amplifying the voices of people who have important things to say.
I also want to get better at supporting the work of other feminists in tech and at showing my solidarity with them.
I want to do more public speaking again. (If you know of any good events, please let me know!)
I also want to start looking for and find a new job.
I will remember this year as the year in which only few things started, while many things came to an end. The year in which I was mostly not who I wanted to be. And the year in which my hair finally grew longer.
Right now, I have no idea where I’m going and what’s going to happen. Most of the time, this is very frightening for me. But, hey:
“If everything was perfect, you would never learn and you would never grow.”
We won’t solve problems if we don’t allow ourselves time to think about them.
… I read a few months ago in a post about the tech industry’s pace.
A few minutes ago, I ate a bowl of strawberries and mango pieces and this sentence popped up out of nothing.
Many major things in my life have changed over the past few months, and one of the most important ones was its pace. The pace that I’m moving at. My very own pace.
These changes that happened also led to a quite unintended slow-down, and, even more important, allowed me time to think. For many years before, the way I was moving felt like there was constantly wind whirling my hair because I was running so fast. (I hate running.) This clock that is ticking, each and every second that goes by, gives me distance.
Time is a giver. It’s giving me new perspectives, new insights and, consequently, learnings.
What I have right now are many pending drafts, many notions left unspoken, many ideas only thought out loud. For now, I’m writing them on pieces of paper, I’m quickly typing them into notes, I’m waiting for more time to pass. The day will come when I’ll know that enough time has passed for them to be said out loud. I don’t think that I’ll be solving problems when this day comes. But I’m damn sure they will be ready to do something then.
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