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Episode 41

Tech Conferences 101

Show Notes

We have some one-off episodes to share while we are hard at work on our new series. This week, we tackle speaking at tech conferences.

Tech talks aren’t just for unicorn CEOs and high-profile prodigies. With a little bit of work, anyone can speak at a conference. Our guests go over the preparation, dish about showtime jitters, and share a few tips for when things go awry on stage.


00:02 — Johan Philippine
It's an exciting time in tech. One that comes every year. It's conference season. And if you work in tech, odds are you have a number of events on your calendar. Those gatherings range from high-profile, to things that are more niche, more specialized. They could be tailored to a certain type of job industry or a discipline. Maybe you've attended a conference, and you've looked at that in-person or virtual stage and thought, "Hey, maybe one day I could do that." But the path from watching a talk to actually speaking at a conference may seem unclear. Do you apply? Or is it all about who you know? What do you need to apply? How does one decide what to talk about? And is the thing that I want to talk about really important? Doesn't a person have to be an expert in their area?

00:49 — Johan Philippine
The truth is tech talks aren't just for the CTOs of the world. With a little bit of work, commitment, and perspective, speaking at a tech conference is an attainable goal. But where does one start working towards that goal?

01:08 — Brent Simoneaux
This is Compiler. An original podcast from Red Hat.

01:12 — Angela Andrews
We are your hosts.

01:13 — Brent Simoneaux
I'm Brent Simoneaux.

01:14 — Angela Andrews
And I'm Angela Andrews.

01:16 — Brent Simoneaux
We go beyond the buzzwords and jargon, and simplify tech topics.

01:21 — Angela Andrews
Today we untangle the process of speaking at a tech conference.

01:28 — Brent Simoneaux
Producers Kim Huang and Johan Philippine have a thing or two to say about it.

01:36 — Francesco Tisiot
One of the first times that I spoke in public, I had one person in the first row that started sleeping during my talk. And this person was one of my best friends.

01:54 — Angela Andrews
Oh my gosh, that hurts.

01:56 — Kim Huang
This is Francesco Tisiot. He is a senior developer advocate at Aiven, a software company based in Finland. He's done a lot of speaking at tech conferences. As you can probably tell, he's had a lot of different experiences at them as well. I came across his profile when I was doing research for this episode. And he wrote an article that was meant to demystify one of the more, well, opaque aspects of speaking at conferences. The abstract.

02:31 — Angela Andrews

02:32 — Kim Huang

02:32 — Angela Andrews
So as someone who has submitted an abstract for maybe one conference. And it was shot down "pew, pew." And it was just like, "No, we don't want to talk about that." So I had to regroup and come up with something totally different. When I say different ends of the spectrum, different ends of the spectrum. That abstract was received and the comments were, "This is the best abstract we ever seen." How do you go from zero to 100? Oh, so I know how it feels when you're so passionate and you think you got it right. And you put your heart out there and they're like, "Nope." And it's like...

03:15 — Kim Huang
Oh my goodness.

03:16 — Angela Andrews
It's devastating. It really is. But we pick ourselves up. And we regroup. And we kind of figure it out.

03:22 — Kim Huang
Yeah. So Angela, in your own words, what is an abstract?

03:27 — Angela Andrews
It's that thing that tells the audience what the talk is going to be about. It breaks it down. So if I'm looking for sessions to attend, the abstract is what's going to grab me. That's what's going to pique my interests. I love a good abstract.

03:42 — Brent Simoneaux
I think there are two audiences for an abstract.

03:45 — Kim Huang

03:45 — Brent Simoneaux
Right? So one of them is conference attendees.

03:50 — Kim Huang

03:51 — Brent Simoneaux
The other one is the organizers of the conference.

03:55 — Kim Huang

03:56 — Angela Andrews
You're right, because I was on a CFP committee, where I had to read hundreds of abstracts, and trust me, the bad ones go real fast.

04:05 — Kim Huang
Oh, wow. Wow. Johan, really quick, I want to talk to you because you have a specific experience with abstracts as well. Can you talk about that?

04:15 — Johan Philippine
Yeah. It used to be part of my job to help my colleagues, my coworkers write abstracts for tech conferences to help get them-

04:25 — Angela Andrews

04:25 — Johan Philippine
Yes. Yep. To try get them to conferences.

04:29 — Angela Andrews
Oh, that's fascinating. Nice.

04:29 — Johan Philippine
And it was a lot of work. And not all abstracts got accepted just because of the nature of the conference circuit. I mean, there are only so many slots. And no matter how interesting your abstract is, sometimes they just don't have the room for it. Sometimes it's not the right track and an abstract that might be accepted at one conference, even a really big one, might not be accepted at another one.

04:54 — Johan Philippine
So my advice there would be try not to take it too personally. But Angela, what you've been saying so far is right on the money that it's got to really grab you. It's got to be pretty short because people want to go through the list pretty quickly and figure out, A, is it right for the conference. And then B, for the attendees, is it something that they actually want to go see without having to read a very long and involved summary of your talk.

05:21 — Angela Andrews

05:24 — Kim Huang
I want to get back to Francesco because after seeing a lot of people that he knew struggle with writing abstracts, he decided to write a blog about the process.

05:34 — Francesco Tisiot
The abstract job is to convince people that they should absolutely listen to your talk. Not all the abstracts will be successful. You will get some of them accepted. You will get some of them rejected. But the main thing is that if you don't write any abstract, there are no chances to go and speak in public. So I started writing about how you can build what I think is a successful abstract. Or something that is more likely to be accepted at conferences.

06:07 — Kim Huang
So let's talk about that for a bit. Both here, and in his blog, he says that there's no foolproof formula for writing an abstract that is going to guarantee success. Even he has dealt with rejection in that regard. Yeah.

06:24 — Angela Andrews
Oh, I'm sure. Well, one, I can't wait to read the blog post because I'm really interested in what he thinks about that. And the other thing is rejection is a part of the game. Think about it. If a conference has 60 sessions, and 700 submissions are submitted, that's a lot of rejection. But you really can't take it personally. I think having that mindset, it's almost like a numbers game. It's a lottery. You just have to do your best to put your best foot forward, and maybe you'll be at the top of the heap. But you're right, you have to deal with it. I think everyone who's ever presented has had to deal with some sort of rejection like that.

07:06 — Kim Huang

07:07 — Brent Simoneaux
Yeah. The abstract is a very strange genre. You have to do a lot of work in a very little space, and I think sometimes we want formulas. Sometimes we want, if I just do X, Y, and Z, then it will be a great abstract. That's what we want. But that's just not reality, because communication is so much more of an art than a science.

07:37 — Angela Andrews
That's true.

07:37 — Kim Huang
I do want to get into the finer points because there are some things here, and most of them won't surprise anyone here, but they're all good things to remember.

07:51 — Kim Huang
So first off, the title. Please keep it simple and clear. People know what they're getting into when they read the title. A funny title does show off your personal style, but you should also be careful to demonstrate what the attendee will learn from the session. You always want to make that the emphasis. And also, obviously, it goes without saying, every event has their own guidelines. Please pay attention to those as well.

08:20 — Brent Simoneaux
If you think about how the audience is going to encounter that title.

08:26 — Kim Huang

08:26 — Brent Simoneaux
It's really important. So context matters here.

08:29 — Angela Andrews

08:29 — Brent Simoneaux
It's going to be on a conference website. It's going to be on the conference app if they have one. It will be perhaps if it's a smaller conference in a booklet. And people are going to be scrolling and scrolling and scrolling through so many titles. It's almost like a sea of titles in some ways. So I think that's something to remember.

08:58 — Kim Huang
It is. And-

08:58 — Angela Andrews
It's a tidal wave.

08:58 — Kim Huang
Yeah. And to really-

08:58 — Brent Simoneaux
Did you say "title" wave?

08:59 — Kim Huang
Oh my gosh.

09:03 — Brent Simoneaux
She sure did.

09:03 — Kim Huang
Oh, another really great thing to remember, and I'm glad you brought this up, Brent, is the digital aspect of it. From a digital perspective, because there's so many different places and areas where the title of your abstract can appear...

09:16 — Brent Simoneaux

09:16 — Angela Andrews

09:16 — Kim Huang
It may appear truncated.

09:18 — Brent Simoneaux
Oh yeah.

09:19 — Kim Huang
You have to kind of keep that in mind, kind of a little UX that you're keeping in mind. Where if this person's looking on it on a mobile phone, is my title going to be fully read? Or is it going to be truncated or cut short? So that is something to keep in mind.

09:33 — Angela Andrews
Simple and clear. If you have a really long lofty title, something may get lost in translation.

09:41 — Kim Huang

09:41 — Angela Andrews
You just think about it, we're in the middle of conference season. And I'm looking at conferences and I'm trying to figure out, well, where will I spend my time? And again, if it's not grabbing you, if it's not in your wheelhouse, if it's not clear. And there's so many things that can come into play where, wow, this won't catch someone's attention.

10:07 — Brent Simoneaux
What about the abstract itself, Kim?

10:09 — Kim Huang
A couple of things that he points out about the abstract itself. He says that you should describe what the value is for both attendees and event organizers. Kind of going back to what you were saying earlier, Brent. You also want to make sure that you write a really short elevator pitch. So maybe not the full version of the abstract, but the cliff notes of a larger kind of abstract. So something that you can say in 15 seconds, you should also think about what problem or challenge that your talk is actually going to address. You want to make it about your experience personally, not someone else's experience. And you also want to talk a little bit about your takeaways of whatever thing that you're presenting. Not just about the technology itself.

10:53 — Brent Simoneaux
This is so important. Having your abstract be audience centered and making it really clear what your audience is going to get out of it. I think sometimes our impulse is to talk a lot about the technology.

11:10 — Kim Huang

11:10 — Brent Simoneaux
Because it's really cool.

11:10 — Angela Andrews
Yes. Yes.

11:12 — Brent Simoneaux
It's really cool. And also about ourselves, which is not a bad thing. But it has to be in the service of your audience. So what is your audience going to take away from it? What value will they get from it?

11:26 — Angela Andrews
Exactly. You hit the nail on the head because you're going to read that abstract and say, well, what am I getting out of this?

11:32 — Brent Simoneaux

11:33 — Angela Andrews
You want to spend your time wisely. What am I getting out of this? So if that is included, people know what they're getting. And that just makes choosing your talk that much easier. This is definitely what I want to walk away with for sure.

11:49 — Kim Huang

11:50 — Johan Philippine
One of the big things I would suggest is keeping your abstract itself really short and getting to that point right away for all the reasons we've just been saying. But a lot of the tendencies I saw in my day-to-day job back in the day was that they would pretty much put the entire talk in the abstract.

12:12 — Angela Andrews
Oh, I've seen that.

12:12 — Johan Philippine
And it gets to be really long, and when you're going through the abstracts and you're trying to figure out what you want to go see, you see this huge block of text and you're like, "I don't want to read that right now. I'm just trying to set my schedule". They don't need to see that in the abstract. They're going to see that in your talk. So you just want to grab their attention just enough to be like, "oh, I want to go see this, this looks interesting". And then you can give them all those details in the talk itself in the presentation. So, two very short paragraphs would be what I would suggest.

12:44 — Brent Simoneaux
You bring up a really interesting point, Johan. And thinking about context of that second audience, which is the CFP committee or the selection committee. And the environment in which they are encountering your proposal or your abstract.

13:02 — Angela Andrews
It's not the friendliest way to read anything. So, be mindful.

13:07 — Brent Simoneaux
Well, Angela, you said that you've been on a CFP committee, right?

13:12 — Angela Andrews
Yes, yes.

13:13 — Brent Simoneaux
Can you maybe pull the curtain back on that process a little bit?

13:16 — Angela Andrews
I would love to, actually, I should probably bring up the information. So they try to put it in a format in an app where you can sort by topic, by location, where your presenter is from, just all this other stuff. Who's attending, who's it for? So you try to do your sorting. And once it's sorted, you're looking through them. So there's always the title and you're reading the title, and then you get to the square that has the abstract in it.

13:50 — Angela Andrews
And because you have to read hundreds, sometimes thousands, you think about how big some of these conferences are when you're scrolling and scrolling and scroll... You're getting through this, oh, it's like, I can't even want to read this. Sorting is important, I think, especially when you're trying to sort and read abstracts that are in your wheelhouse. I don't want to judge someone's abstract that's talking about, I don't know, building spaceships.

14:20 — Angela Andrews
I don't know anything about building spaceships. I only want to be able to grade the things that I can read and liken myself to say, "oh, this is great. Oh, they've hit the marks. Oh, I want to see this talk". So that you're on the CFP committee, but you're putting yourself as an attendee. And do I want to see this? And you want to put stuff out there that folks really want to see that they're going to get their time's worth and their money's worth. So that's basically what it is. And then you check it off, you say, needs work or heck no, or this is awesome.

14:54 — Brent Simoneaux
How do those decisions get made though?

14:57 — Angela Andrews
Well, we have a rubric.

14:58 — Brent Simoneaux

14:59 — Angela Andrews
Which to follow, and because how you interpret the rubric can be very personal, it really does help to give you those guideposts on how to select a topic. So like I said, I'm going to want to see something based on things that are in my wheelhouse. The committee, they try to select it from a swath of people with different technology backgrounds. So you're not just getting this one technologist who knows this one thing. Hopefully it has a lot of depth in it so we can be able to bring a lot of personality in a lot of different technologies to the conference.

15:38 — Angela Andrews
So that's the main thing. You want a diverse group of folks. Different backgrounds, different technology backgrounds that are grading these abstracts. These event organizers are really being very thoughtful in who they pick and choose to be on their committees, which is smart.

15:56 — Kim Huang
Francesco says that a person who can focus on telling their story and talking about their experience working on a project or learning a new process or technology, that is the best approach to take when you're thinking of submitting for a talk. And those are the types of talks that leave a good impression on attendees.

16:16 — Francesco Tisiot
The fact that you were able to share your experience, that you were able to help others, probably avoiding a problem that you had. Or helping others, having a short connection to solve a specific issue because you already solved it and you demonstrate how you solve it, is something, which to me is amazing.

16:38 — Kim Huang
And when you think of speaking on a stage, you think a lot about sharing your victories. But Francesco says, speaking at conferences isn't all about sharing the good news. It's also sharing about the bad and the failures as well.

16:54 — Francesco Tisiot
It's not only about success. There are really good stories to tell about failures, and you can help others make the same steps or avoid the wrong steps that you did in your first experience. So my suggestion is not wait to have always the complete feature about every single detail on a specific topic. Because there are chances that you will never have the super complete picture. But try to be solid in what you say. Try to back up with some expertise that you're doing on the field. And go on stage sharing your passion, sharing what you learn. And the steps that you did in order to learn what you did.

17:41 — Angela Andrews
People love steps. People like the top three or these are the steps I followed. And that's how we think. You think about when you are reading a magazine and what usually catches your attention? Something that's telling you exactly how to do something.

18:00 — Kim Huang

18:01 — Angela Andrews
But in that, I think when he talks about the failures, because we know that they're going to be some, I love it when people are open and say, "Don't do this because this is what happened when I did it. This is not the best practice. This did not work for me." And you want that awareness. It's like, wow, I learned something here. Maybe I was heading down this path, and it was definitely the wrong path. So you get to hear someone else's perspective. The good and the bad.

18:30 — Kim Huang
I asked Francesco for some parting advice for up and coming speakers. Here's what he had to say.

18:35 — Francesco Tisiot
Don't wait until you have the full picture of a technology before going on stage. Talk about your experiences. You have a ton of things to share even if you are not 10 years into a technological field. Conferences need new speakers. Conferences need new voices. Technologies need new eyes to help understanding of the things that we old people gave for granted.

19:04 — Kim Huang
So all right, let's imagine we're trying to submit an abstract for a talk. And the abstract is complete. We've written it. We've had a friend of ours read over it. And we have submitted. And it's been approved. What happens when it's time to deliver a talk?

19:22 — Angela Andrews
You panic.

19:22 — Kim Huang
We're going to hear...

19:25 — Angela Andrews
Because now you have to do the work.

19:27 — Kim Huang
Oh boy. Yes. A lot of work as we talked about and a lot of time commitment too, but what happens when it's time to put rubber to the road? We're going to talk about that next.

19:44 — Johan Philippine
Francesco told us a bit about... Well, not just a bit, a lot about how to apply for talks. Kim and I also spoke to Sharon Gai who shared her path from tech to a career in speaking.

19:56 — Sharon Gai
My name is Sharon Gai, and I've been in e-commerce for 10 plus years. Throughout my career, I fell into the speaking world. And so now what I'm doing full-time is hosting workshops and keynotes in different conferences around the world.

20:14 — Johan Philippine
She told us about her first time speaking and how nervous she felt. But also why she was feeling so nervous.

20:23 — Sharon Gai
Not really sure what the audience was expecting. How I should position myself. What words I should say or not say to offend people. But I think in that instance, it was a lot easier once it was finished to know that there was not many things to worry about anyway. And I think that's usually how I always feel after going on stage in front of hundreds or thousands of people is the beginning part of it is very nerve wracking. And then you step off and you are just like, it could have been any sort of talk with any number of people and it would've probably been just fine.

21:04 — Johan Philippine
That last bit is pretty key. It seems pretty daunting, but once you're up there and you're done with the talk, it's not as bad as you thought most of the time. I mean, there's always the risk of totally bombing a talk or a presentation. But more often than not, things go pretty well. Now, Kim, I know you've given some talks, Angela, you as well. Does that ring true to you?

21:28 — Kim Huang
I feel like it does. I feel like it does. I've definitely made my fair share of mistakes and been incredibly nervous. And had a lot of the same thoughts and anxieties as Sharon was describing. But all in all, my approach is to just do it and don't look back. That's kind of like my... That's my mantra.

21:49 — Angela Andrews
I like your approach. Well, mine is pretty similar. I mean, I think I over prepare and overplan and I stress, and there is just, you don't want to be terrible. You want people to walk away with having learned something. And it's a lot of pressure that I think we put on ourselves. But when you're going through it, once it's over, it is the biggest exhale like I didn't die. Nothing bad happened to me. It wasn't the worst. And when people either clap or want to talk to you afterwards, it's like, oh my God, it wasn't terrible.

22:33 — Angela Andrews
So I think we do it to ourselves. I think that stress that goes in when you're speaking, it makes you nervous. But trust me, they're just people like us. And they want to hear what you have to say. And once you've done, you've probably done a great job.

22:50 — Brent Simoneaux
I will say, a couple of years ago, I was at a large tech conference that will remain nameless. There was probably 7,000, 8,000 people in the audience. And this guy gets up on stage from a very well-known company. And he walks out on stage and nothing happens. It's like, he's frozen. He can't talk.

23:14 — Angela Andrews
Oh my God.

23:14 — Johan Philippine
Oh no. Poor guy.

23:17 — Brent Simoneaux
And the audience was very supportive and very cheering for him and all that kind of stuff, but he couldn't do it. He just could not do it. And he had to just kind of walk off stage.

23:33 — Angela Andrews
Oh. That's heartbreaking. And he probably prepared and was ready. Oh, I'm sorry to hear that.

23:41 — Brent Simoneaux
I know. This is my stress dream though. Even when it's not related to actually speaking at a conference, it's like when I get stressed out, just in my work life or my personal life, this is a stress dream that I have. That I have to give a talk and I prepare and prepare and prepare. And then I walk out on stage and I'm just sweating and I can't speak. And I can't remember what I was supposed to do. That stress is real. It is so real for me.

24:12 — Johan Philippine
For sure. Well, Sharon shared with us a little bit of how she continues to succeed on stage and not freeze up.

24:22 — Sharon Gai
I think confidence is key, but obviously easier said than done, I think what is that classic saying? "Imagine everyone in their underpants." That definitely works to an extent. I think knowing that everyone is there to listen to you. And just knowing that you are there because somebody put you there. Or you might have put yourself there, you might have volunteered yourself. That's totally fine too.

24:50 — Johan Philippine
Personally, I'm not a fan of that very first one. Because if I'm thinking about or trying to imagine something, I'm not thinking about my talk as much and I'll end up getting distracted and lose my train of thought. But if that works for you, then go for it. What I try to remind people when they're preparing for a talk. And they've been accepted and they're writing their presentation and maybe running through it with me, is that very last part. Everyone in that room is there to hear your story. People rarely go to conferences and breakout sessions expecting to, or hoping the speaker to fail.

25:26 — Johan Philippine
And when there are moments where someone gets frozen on stage, I more often than not, I would say it's like what Brent was just telling us about, where even this guy was clearly terrified or something. The audience started clapping and cheering and saying like, "Hey, it's okay. You can do this and together we'll get through it."

25:45 — Kim Huang
Yeah. People get understand.

25:45 — Brent Simoneaux
It's okay.

25:48 — Angela Andrews
I love that. We're rooting for you. You don't ever want to see someone fail like that.

25:55 — Kim Huang

25:56 — Johan Philippine
Now, though it might not seem like your experiences are worthy of people's time. You shouldn't limit yourself. Apply for a talk, submit an abstract. And then let the conference organizers and the audience be the judges of that.

26:10 — Sharon Gai
I think it is valid that everyone does have a story. And I think that is why in the speaking world, topics like leadership, like creativity, they're almost very simple things. And if you really listen to a lot of the things that these speakers are saying, it sometimes might get repetitive. But there is still value in it because it's different people telling that story.

26:36 — Johan Philippine
This is a big one, and it's not just for the big keynotes and the things that you might hear from tech companies that sound all the same. What I would tell people who were reluctant about applying to conferences is that they are the only person or one of the very few people working exactly on what it is that they're doing. Now for some, that's the latest and greatest technology and they get to tell the world about it, but even then I found it difficult to persuade colleagues to apply for talks.

27:05 — Johan Philippine
On the other hand, you might be working on implementations or see yourself as a code monkey. There are others doing that same kind of job, but they're probably not doing it in the same way. They might be getting some roadblocks that you have cleared at some point. And like Francesco was telling us earlier on, there's a lot of value in sharing that even if it's not at a conference. Conferences are only a part of the speaking ecosystem. Meetups, special interest groups and all sorts of other opportunities to speak and share.

27:37 — Johan Philippine
So if you're not quite ready for a conference, try out the smaller venues. Work your way up. You have something to add. And as Sharon's about to tell us, it's part of a tradition that goes back a really long time.

27:50 — Sharon Gai
All these information tools and buttons existing is somebody telling a story to a group of people. And that's how we spread information back in the day. So there was almost like an ancient nostalgic inkling to that way of sharing information and sharing knowledge. That's a small silver lining to also me being in the speaking world.

28:18 — Brent Simoneaux
There's something really special about conferences and events.

28:22 — Angela Andrews
It is.

28:24 — Brent Simoneaux
It happens in that exchange from people who are giving talks to the audience. And then there's this other great thing that happens after the talk too, where everyone's kind of talking about what they just heard and discussion happens, and new knowledge is created. There's something really special about that.

28:44 — Kim Huang
Yeah. It makes me think of something I was mulling over earlier. Hearing you, Brent, talk a little bit about your experiences and what you thought about the abstract process and the application process and CFP. I feel like tech conferences are a collaborative experience where the communication is not linear, right?

29:06 — Brent Simoneaux

29:06 — Kim Huang
It's not just from speaker to audience or a speaker to attendee.

29:10 — Angela Andrews

29:10 — Kim Huang
It's from it's speaker to attendee and back to the speaker again, it's attendees to other attendees who spread word about what they've heard in a session. It's not linear. It kind of builds out. It kind of has a ripple effects where it reaches a message can reach a lot of people just from one talk.

29:30 — Brent Simoneaux
And as a speaker, I think that kind of takes some of the pressure off.

29:34 — Angela Andrews
Oh, it does.

29:35 — Brent Simoneaux
Because it's like you're just having part of the discussion, you're sort of getting the discussion going. Think about it as kind of starting a discussion at the conference or in the industry or something like that. It doesn't have to be the most perfect definitive talk on that topic. It's really, it's just one voice in an ongoing discussion that's going to continue after you've given your talk.

30:03 — Angela Andrews
I agree. I think conferences are an amazing thing to attend. If you ever get the opportunity to. Someone who's been to probably close to 30 conferences so far, if I'm looking at all the badges on my wall over here. What you get out of it is not just that one way conversation, the way Kim had mentioned it. But because this is about speaking at tech conferences, you think about this is that way that we used to learn with almost like this apprenticeship where you're listening to someone and you're learning from them and their successes and their failures and the sharing of information. And the sharing of knowledge. And being even able to have a conversation with the speaker at the end is just, it's an amazing feeling.

30:53 — Angela Andrews
Then there is the hallway track and the networking, and there is so much that goes into being a conference attendee, but definitely being a conference speaker, you're going to get so much, you're going to get so full after that when you get off that stage. It's such a great feeling and all that work you put into it, you see it come to fruition. It's a beautiful thing.

31:19 — Brent Simoneaux
All right. Kim, Johan, Angela, I'm kind of curious about your one takeaway from this episode. Kim, do you want to go first?

31:30 — Kim Huang
Sure. I think that speaking at a tech conference is a holistic experience. And if you're thinking about speaking at a conference, please don't hesitate because you feel like you don't know enough about a topic. It's not about proving your proficiency with a technology. It's about sharing your experiences with other people who are probably in the same position as you. So please keep that in mind.

31:49 — Angela Andrews
I like it.

31:50 — Brent Simoneaux

31:51 — Johan Philippine
I'm going to repeat my advice from earlier, which is that when you're writing an abstract, keep it short, to the point and give just a little bit of information to get people's attention and then hold the rest back for your actual talk itself.

32:08 — Angela Andrews
Oh, good one.

32:09 — Brent Simoneaux
How about you, Angela?

32:10 — Angela Andrews
My takeaway is that you should just do it. I think we put too much pressure on ourselves as people. And just do it. Go ahead and put in that abstract. And the worst that can happen is that they'll say no. But if you don't put in for it, you're definitely getting a no. I think Francesco said that.

32:31 — Kim Huang

32:31 — Johan Philippine

32:33 — Brent Simoneaux
I think it's important for me to remember, and I think for all of us to remember that sometimes stress dreams, I should say most of the time, almost all the time, stress dreams are just dreams, right? They're just dreams. They're not reality. And so I love the advice that we got that more times than not, almost all the time, you're going to look back at your talk and see that it was actually great. And all that stress dreaming was not worth the stress.

33:05 — Angela Andrews
I like how you said that. So this was an amazing episode, and thanks for taking this journey with us. I'm hoping, if you were ever thinking about putting in for a tech conference, you got your sign. Go ahead and do it. We want to hear what you think about this episode. Make sure you tweet us at Red Hat. Use the #CompilerPodcast. We definitely want to hear what are your thoughts on the podcast and what conferences are you going to apply to now? We'd love to hear it.

33:39 — Angela Andrews
And that does it for this episode of Compiler.

33:42 — Brent Simoneaux
Today's episode was produced by Kim Huang, Johan Philippine and Caroline Creaghead.

33:48 — Angela Andrews
And a big thank you to our guests, Sharon Gai and Francesco Tisiot.

33:53 — Brent Simoneaux
Victoria Lawton encourages all of us to take center stage and share what we know, even if it makes her fall asleep in the front row.

34:03 — Angela Andrews
Our audio engineer is Christian Prohom. Special thanks to Shawn Cole. Our audio team includes Leigh Day, Stephanie Wonderlick, Mike Esser, Brent Simoneaux, Nick Burns, Aaron Williamson, Karen King, Jared Oats, Rachel Ertel, Devin Pope, Matias Foundez, Mike Compton, Ocean Matthews, and Alex Traboulsi.

34:31 — Brent Simoneaux
If you'd like today's episode, please follow the show, rate the show, leave it a review, and share it with someone. It really does help us out.

34:40 — Angela Andrews
Thank you so much for listening. Until next time, take care.

34:44 — Brent Simoneaux
All right, see you next time.

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Francesco Tisiot
Sharon Gai

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