NDC Sydney

NDC Sydney wrapped up last month, and because it happened between a bunch of other things (preparing for our move to Seattle, recording the podcast with Scott Hanselman, a conference call with Jon Skeet & Jakob Bradford – post coming soon!), I hadn’t take the time to digest it all.

My talk

First, my talk – Video Transcoding at Scale for ABC iview. It was the last rendition of this talk I’d be giving, especially since I’ve already left the ABC. I’m glad I got the chance to present it one last time. I’ve written about my general experience with public speaking, and lessons learned. Here are the slides:

It was so nice to see feedback from my talk on Twitter 🙂

Other talks

A lot of the content at NDC was quite Microsoft heavy (not surprising), however I really enjoyed some alternative talks that weren’t about MS tech.

Lynn Langit’s session on Teaching Kids Programming was a highlight! Having done a lot of work writing tutorials before, and running sessions for people to learn, I understand how much work has been put in to produce the course materials. It was so inspiring hearing what the kids can do, and seeing some examples.

Lars Klint’s talk on Mastering Your Inner Developer was a really personal story.  Judging by twitter traffic, a lot of people really loved the session.

Tess Ferrandez’s a Developer’s Guide to the UX Galaxy was also really interesting. What are the tenets of design that we should be aware of, and what happens when they go wrong? She walked us through Microsoft’s 12 UX guidelines. Unfortunately I can’t find a link to the cards she was using, but it was a great checklist.

Niall Merrigan’s session on black hat tools was eye opening. I learned that all devices on the internet can be scanned in 2m30s if you have enough machines to do it. So, don’t rely on security through obscurity.

I met some pretty awesome people, and got selfies

Yes, that’s right, I totally did.

From left to right:

  • Scott Hanselman
  • Niall Connaughton – my other half who was also speaking at NDC
  • Tess Ferrandez
  • Troy Hunt
  • Jon Skeet – note the #HeForShe shirt! I love, love, loved that he publicly called out for better diversity.

Diversity

As I mentioned above, Jon Skeet publicly issued a challenge to improve diversity, both with a #HeForShe shirt, and a mention at the beginning of both his talks. It was my favourite moment of the conference. ❤

Subsequent discussions led to a conference call with Jon and Jakob Bradford (one of the NDC organisers) to discuss strategies to increase diversity at future events. More on that in a separate post shortly.

Organisation & Social events

The most challenging aspect is seven speaker tracks, which makes it difficult to pick which session you go to. (And as a speaker, knowing you’re up against 6 other people!)

Having said that, NDC is very well organised. Some really big name speakers, there’s plenty of space in the agenda to mingle, professional AV and video recording, and the social events – a boat cruise, drinks, and lightning talk PubConf – are well catered. Love the conference swag too – a black hoodie that I’m actually using!

Looking forward to next time, and keen to see next year’s speaker lineups!

My podcast with Scott Hanselman

Yes, that’s right – I recorded a podcast with Scott Hanselman 😀 There’s a story behind it too…

I bumped into Scott at NDC Sydney. It was the evening before the main conference started, and we were both helping out with the Kids Code Club. We started chatting about what I was presenting on Thursday – video transcoding systems, cloud services, various price points, why our new system was worth building.

Scott: “Hey, would you like to do a podcast? It’s just a really casual chat, just like this.”
Me: “Sure! Sounds good.”

Just to make sure I was prepared, I wrote some notes about video transcoding, AWS services, and reviewed bits we’d built in our system. A couple of weeks later, we caught up via Skype:

Scott: “Great, thanks for doing this! It’s usually best to talk about something you’re really passionate about. What would that be?”
Me: “Um…” thinking: video transcoding is pretty awesome, but it’s not my #1 super-fun-happy-thing. But now I have to come up with thirty minutes of content I haven’t prepared…

I’m not really good at impromptu. That’s why formats like my blog (where I can draft things), and public talks (where I can prepare), work okay for me. So doing a thirty minute discussion flying blind was a terrifying prospect.

However, Scott was really, really supportive. After some back and forth, we came up with a blend of topics that include continuous learning, becoming more social, finding your tribe, and making it work for you. You can listen to the podcast here.

I’ve got a healthy respect for Scott’s work now that I’ve seen how much time, effort and support he puts in to the things he does.

If you haven’t heard Hanselminutes before, give it a try. There’s some great slices of developer life in there. And now I’m one of them. 🙂