#wdyk Brisbane

12 September 2013

It's been a crazy month for the ABC News Online team. We were pulling everything together for our live online coverage of the Australian federal election, whilst turning out charts and reports from the data we've been receiving from the Vote Compass app that has been running throughout the election campaign. With that in mind, you can understand why I was a bit worried about also committing to giving a talk at What Do You Know (WDYK) Brisbane, last night.

When Maxine (@maxine) and John (@johnallsopp), the organisers of Web Directions invited me to talk at WDYK, I accepted immediately, worried that if I gave it too much thought, I'd talk myself out of it. I turned down their offer in April because I don't think I'm that great a public speaker, and (like many) I'm incredibly nervous when I do it. Since then, I've decided that the only way I'll get over my fears and actually get good at this shit is to stop saying no, and just go for it.

On the night, I was the second of five speakers including one of the SilverStripe team, who actually got me excited about what can be done with PHP in the right hands. They also picked up the bar tab (thanks guys!).

I thoroughly enjoyed the other talks. Andy Fitzsimon (@AndyFitz) opened the night with an entertaining dig at UX, which was all the more awesome because he gets paid to do UX. Anna Gerber (@AnnaGerber) gave us a great introduction to the Internet of Things, showing us lots of cool network-aware devices and discussing how this nascent technology will affect our privacy in the future. Davy Rennie (@davyrennie) closed out the night with a presentation urging us to simplify our design process and put a bit more faith in pen & paper. I loved his presentation style, which had the perfect blend of sage advice and suppressed anger.

I presented "Reusable Responsive Charts with D3.js", which covered my first experience creating interactive content for the ABC (back in May), through to my most recent work for the Vote Compass reports. My slides are on Github. I was really impressed by how John had wee introductions prepared for each of us. I can't speak for any of the other guests, but I feel it added that little extra credibility to what I was about to present, and gave me a shot of confidence to offset my nerves.

Thanks to Maxine and John for the invitation, to the other presenters for entertaining us, to Ash (@AshKyd) & Adrian (@Adritek) for helping me prepare, and to everyone else who came along and listened!

Presenting at #wdyk Brisbane