I’m writing this as I’m flying back home. Which is a couple days ahead of schedule. I had to change plans due to some family matters, and miss the SVG Open. Don’t worry, nothing life threatening, just something that required me back home. Here’s my summary of the XMLDevCon.
Take about 120 people that grok XML, mix about 20 XML based presentations, and one dynamic master of ceremonies, and shake until mixed well. Then wait for the ideas to explode out of that mixture. Well that’s my philosophical view of it anyway. As for reality, it was probably the best conference I’ve been too. Why? Because it was small enough so that everyone got a chance for some one on one face time with each other. You don’t get that at the bigger conferences. I know I came away with a bunch of new ideas, and hopefully I sparked some new ideas in the others.
As for my presentation, I’d give it a “C”. I had excellent material, but the delivery was off the mark. In trying to get a more natural feel to the presentation, I tried not to create a script for each slide (like I’ve done in the past), and just try to go off the bullet points. Well that may work for some folks, but not me. In trying to make it feel natural I almost blew it. Once I started with questions, things turned around, and had that natural feeling to it. I come off so much better impromptu, otherwise it sounds canned. Once the questions start, then I can go with the flow, and think on my feet. To me, it is just another conversation, and I came across the way I want.
What I was trying to do was to create my own style. I hate presentations where the person seems to be reading from a script. I also don’t like waiting thru a whole presentation to ask questions. Either I read the slides prior to the presentation or in the first couple minutes. Now, I’ve got questions, and have to wait until the end to ask them. What I wanted to do is to create a style that lets me be more off the cuff, and solves the question problem. The style I tried at XMLDevCon almost worked, I just need to tweak it a bit, and it will work.
As for the rest of the conference, it was incredible. I’ve made a bunch of new friends, and learned a lot. Chris Sells did a great job, and had a real cross section of XML related topics. I was disappointed that Don Box left right after his presentation (the first presentation at that), but I understand that he had to go back to Redmond. Sam Ruby missed the conference, which was also a bummer, but things happen. Beside the actual topics, I also concentrated more on the different deliveries of each presenter, and tried to find little bits that I could add to my style (or which ones to avoid). I’ll definitely be at the next Chris Sells conference.