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Amos King

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 Chris Keathley

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 Anna Neyzberg

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Episode Transcript

 

Amos: Welcome to Elixir Outlaws, the hallway track of the Elixir community.

Chris: I was trolling Amos and then realized. That is a hundred percent. I own that one. I feel like it’s important to take responsibility for your, for your actions. Uh, I’ll never do it again. I promise.

Anna: Don’t make promises you can’t keep.

Chris: I mean, it’s one thing to make a promise that you can’t keep. It’s another thing to make a promise that you’re just going to blatantly not keep. I’m not sure which of those is worse.

Anna: I mean, I feel like the latter is worse.

Chris: Is it?

Anna: Assuming the first one is unintentional. It’s still bad. I mean, the outcome matters, right? More than the intent. Maybe they’re the same.

Chris: This is some real trolley problem type nonsense.

Amos: I don’t know – if you intended to not to keep your promise, that’s a little far beyond…

Chris: What if you promise to never donate to charity again, though? Amos?

Amos: That’s brilliant. That’s a brilliant move right there.

Chris: And then you break your promise because you donate to charity again.

Amos: You get the random phone call and you’re like, “Oh, I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I can’t donate to your charity. I’ve made myself a promise to never donate to charity again.”

Chris: Let’s just say, for instance, Heifer International calls you again for the second time in a week because you give money to them every year. And they’re like, “Do you want to give us more money?” And I’m like, “I’m going to give you money. I promise.” And then you don’t or you do, or they call you in so many times. They’re so annoyed that then you’re like, “I don’t want to give you any money anymore. I will never give you money again.” But then you get to the end of the year and you’re like, “You know what? Just because they call me a bunch of times and annoyed me doesn’t mean I should take a literal cows out of, you know, out of someone’s life.”

Amos: I don’t even know what this Heifer International is.

Chris: It’s a metaphor, Amos, but you like legitimately don’t know what Heifer International is?

Amos: No, I’ve never heard of that.

Chris: Okay. Never mind. We can we’ll skip on. It’s a really, it’s a cool charity. Um, anyway, anyhow, so Nx came out. You want to play with that yet?

Anna: Nope. Nope.

Amos: Is that how you pronounce it?

Chris: I don’t know.

Amos: I don’t know either. I mean, maybe we should start there. How do we pronounce this thing – Niz? Nix? Neenks?

Chris: Numerical Elixir? You can just say it.

Amos: Yeah. NomEx.

Chris: I don’t know. Anyway, uh, I haven’t had a chance to actually look at it yet. I keep saying, I keep not.

Amos: I just read the code. I have not actually run it. I was reading the code behind it to just explore and it’s pretty interesting. It’s good. Good to read and look through that stuff. I think sometimes.

Anna: Yeah. What was it, what did you find?

Amos: Um, just how they’re, how they’re, uh, compiling and, and I guess, I guess it’s just like reading the Elixir core code to like the whole, how you’re build a language in a language and kind of like the, the setup that they have around being able to combine all the different back ends. I don’t have anything like really eye opening. I don’t think, uh, it, it was just neat to see how that’s done. Cause I, I had never thought about how that would be done and, and what you could do. It’s been a week since I looked at it. So maybe I should prepare for the show a little more.

Anna: I mean, that wouldn’t be our style.

Amos: No, not at all. Not at all.

Chris: That’s not really true, but, uh, but yes. And yes, yes. And yes. And sometimes, sometimes I prepare. Yep.

Anna: Amos, what does your shirt say?

Chris: Read it for the listeners at home.

Amos: It says Catholic.

Anna: I couldn’t, I only saw, I couldn’t see-

Chris: Just in case you forget?

Amos: Established 33 A.D.

Chris: That’s what I am.

Amos: I had no idea what shirt I had on. I just like, grab whatever’s in my drawer on top of this morning. Welcome to my Catholic shirt podcast. Hello.

Chris: Do you have a lot of those?

Amos: Podcasts or shirts?

Chris: Shirts.

Amos: I have several shirts, multiple podcasts, multiple Catholic shirts…

Chris: What’s even what’s even happening right now.

Amos: Welcome back, Anna. It’s been a long time.

Anna: Exactly. Sorry. I’ve been super busy with less fun things. But it’s nice to get to chat with you all again.

Amos: Have you done any fun things though? Since last time we spoke?

Anna: Um, well the last time we spoke, geez, that that was recorded. It was a long time ago, months probably. Um, yeah, nothing that’s – I mean, nothing super crazy. Been hanging out in the mountains, some snow, some skiing. That’s about it. Pandemic life continues. We’re a year in now. So, you know.

Amos: It’s quieting down here for finally.

Chris: I mean, it’s quieting down everywhere, let’s be clear, but it’s like, all still, you know, if that’s a well, but like, you know, you’re talking about some interesting scales, right. You know, it’s like, just cause you’re, you’re dipping. Like it doesn’t mean you’re not at the top of the scale still. Right. That makes sense.

Amos: I don’t know. I just know where at lower rates than the last July, which is awesome.

Anna: My parents got vaccinated and it’s great.

Chris: Things, you know, people are getting vaccinated. It’s awesome. It’s great. My dad got vaccinated. Andrew’s mom’s vaccinated now.

Anna: Yeah. My parents are now vaccinated, so that’s great. Yeah.

Chris: It’s good. It’s good. Get vaccinated., y’all. Then we can get back together.

Anna: When do y’all think conferences are going to start happening in person again?

Chris: Next year.

Anna: 2022?

Chris: I don’t know. I think next year is for the bulk of it. Right. But there might be some stragglers at the end of this year, like Strange Loop is tentatively saying they’re going to have an in-person conference. Cause it’s in like October typically. And you know, if we hit like some amount of herd immunity which actually, you know, they’re saying we’re going to, it’s going to happen earlier rather than later, because probably a lot more people have had it than realize.

Anna: And also the Johnson and Johnson EUA way will make things better.

Chris: Yeah. There’s a, there’s a, there’s a, you know, anyway, listen. Hope is in the air everywhere I look around, I have hope. I hope I dare to dream the dreamers dream. I dream the dream of time gone by when we used to go to conferences. I hate conferences and I am so excited to go to a conference-conference.

Anna: You don’t hate conferences.

Chris: No, I- Here’s the thing about conferences – they happen. Okay. There was a point in time where I was going to. This was back in like C5 era where I was going to a concert every month, like every month.

Anna: I was speaking at a conference almost every month.

Chris: It’s exhausting.

Anna: Especially when you are stupid and try to do a different talk every time. I stopped that pretty. After a few months I was like, “Nope, we’re going to reuse some material here. Cause this is too much work.”

Amos: We’re doing the same one.

Anna: Yeah. It’s too much work. It’s yeah. So what were you going to say, Chris? I cut you off.

Chris: Uh, I actually really enjoy conferences and up until like, you know, day four, five or whatever, especially if like you’re doing training. By the time you travel, you got to travel there. So let’s say you’re doing a training or are you just showing up early to be able to hang out with your friends, which I’ve also done, you know, you show up, you fly in or drive in or whatever. And then you chill that night and you gotta be around people. And then you do the conference thing for X number of days, you gotta be around, people need dinners, you gotta be around people. And if at the end and all that, when I’m heading home, I’m like, “Oh my gosh, I just want to go home to my bed and be in my bed.” Like that’s. So I like, I have this weird relationship where I love conferences, but by the time it’s over, I’m like, get me out of here. Especially because if you are talking, talking is like, so emotionally draining for me. Not during it, but like, definitely after you get like the post-gig blues and you, you know, like your adrenaline starts crashing again. Like I love giving talks. I love that moment of being on stage, which is, you know, why I keep doing it. But I mean, let’s, let’s be real. I mean, just being totally transparent here that people don’t talk about like speakers, don’t like to talk about this a whole lot. And it’s like all altruistic, you know? Oh, “I just love like sharing knowledge.” And it’s like, I enjoy that, too. But also there’s something really viscerally exciting about being on stage. Like I think it’s important to acknowledge that.

Anna: Yeah, no, totally. It’s really fun. I mean, people wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t – it’s not fun for everybody, but people wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t fun in some way.

Amos: That first 10 seconds is not fun for me. I just get up there. And for that first 10 seconds, I’m like, “Do I make sure I don’t have a bugger in my nose? Like did, did I check my pants?’ Are you going to like. Feel your legs and be like, “Oh no, my pants!” And then a little gremlin runs off the side stage in a little red mask like, “Ha ha! The pants thief strikes again!” and then like, runs off with your jeans. And like disappears.

Amos: That’s not what I meant.

Chris: Pants goblin again!

Anna: He was checking for the dollar bills that Dave Thomas was trying to. Um.

Amos: Exactly. Yeah. I’m not ever worried about what I’m about to say. Normally by that point I’ve got it all figured out and I’m like, it’s either going to be good or bad and whatever, but it’s always like, am I up here looking awkward and is like, you know, is there somebody standing up there in the audience that’s like, “Oh my gosh, he’s got like, he’s got a piece of lettuce stuck between his teeth” there and just staring at that. Cause I don’t know that that stuff concerns me. It’s like a first date, our first date.

Anna: When was the last time you went on a first date, Amos?

Amos: Uh, it’s been a long time. Yeah. I don’t ever want to go on another first date. Just, just to be clear.

Chris: And yet you still do talks.

Amos: That’s right. Well, I don’t want to go on a first date because I mean, I went on a date last night with my wife who was fantastic. We had pot pie. I don’t worry about whether I have food in my teeth. She’ll let me know. We’ll just move on. Maybe that’s where Anna is with her speaking. Now, if you’re all comfortable, maybe you’re just at that point where you’re like, they’ll let me know and I’ll move on.

Anna: I don’t know. It’ll be what it’ll be, but it’s yeah. I don’t know. That might change if I don’t do it for a while, I just didn’t do it. I was doing a lot of it for a long time where I was like, I feel like I’m at a point now where I’m like, I could do it again. But I was speaking so much at one point, then I was like, I’m tired. I can’t do this for a while. I need to not give any more talks. It’s a lot.

Chris: I think the more you do it, obviously the better you get right. As anything.

Anna: Well, like anything else, right? Like, and if any, and I say this to people all the time who asks me for like speaking advice or whatever, but also like reminding them, like if you see someone give a talk and it’s absolutely excellent and super polished that is definitely not the first time they have given that talk. I can almost guarantee almost guarantee you like, if it is like super, super on it, it almost guarantee you it’s not the first time because it just gets better. Like if you give the same talk multiple times, like it becomes more polished.

Amos: Stand-up comedy club and watch somebody fail on a joke horribly. If somebody gets up there and they give a perfect routine and everybody’s laughing, same, same thing.

Anna: Right. Totally. It’s not the first time.

Chris: The bar, what’s the right way to say it. You start at such a low level, right? Like public speaking is not is, is like you start at kind of everybody. I think just generally starts at a pretty low level in terms of, you know, you don’t have any tricks. You have, no, you don’t have any, you don’t have your own. Any amount of practice that you start to gain really like compounds your ability. And I would also say for conferences, the bar is so low for like delivering a good talk that you, you know, you know, you don’t need that manage a bunch of practice, but it is a thing where you have to get the first bit of practice. You have to get that first thing.

Anna: But also for technical talks, like the most interesting technical of all the time, are not about like the tech itself. Yeah. Right. Like there needs to be something you can pull out of the tech itself that can still be technical, but there’s like a larger idea or something that makes it interesting. It’s not about explaining the thing itself ever. At least not in my experience,

Amos: Some story to attach the idea to the story, the memorable part.

Anna: Great. And like, we, I think it’s in general, like human beings, internalize information, remember information often through some kind of narrative. Right. And so depending on the narrative you provide, right. That’s what makes it engaging and interesting and memorable or not.

Amos: My goal is always to try to get the technology into some kind of, not, not just a narrative, but like a metaphor almost because I, I remember those better than, than a story about writing. Some software is great. Like that helps me remember what happened, but if we can instead change that to a metaphor about something else, it really builds that in my mind,

Anna: Same. Yeah. I think almost all my talks try to pull to some larger problem in a larger idea, but like tell like the kind of shape the arc of that shapes as I’m telling, giving the talk.

Amos: Alright. Favorite talk you’ve ever given.

Anna: Content-wise probably the one I gave at Lone Star – the keynote. I think it’s important.

Amos: What was that? It wasn’t that I was sick as heck at, so before lockdown, right before lockdown conference.

Anna: It was talking about building community, but from the perspective of like, not a lot of what are the norms or etiquette and how that gets pressed out and like kind of shifted into like, well, how do we share that? But we’ll be to do that. We actually need understand. People think so when a little bit into like how the human brain works and how people think, and then extended really out into like the importance of being, bringing other people in, because there’s some big problems to solve in the world. And we can’t do that if we don’t have, you know, a bunch of different perspectives thinking about them, like, and then talked about some of those big, like, you know, water and climate change experience, short, it was fun. It was really fun.

Amos: Yeah. I don’t remember. It was so bad. I think my favorite one really, it wasn’t even technical. It was the, the thinking is greater than learning talk. Um, is the best conference talk that I think I’ve given, um, I’ve actually enjoyed like little workshop things that I’ve done it at meetup groups more than, than the conference talks, but the thinking is greater than typing. Not greater than learning. Thinking is greater than typing was really my favorite one. It was really hard to prepare for, because I think the technical talks are a lot easier for me to prepare for. Cause I kinda know I can go with the flow of whatever the code is and put the narrative with that where the thinking one, I had to completely figure out a flow from scratch. Like I didn’t know where I was going to go. I had all these ideas and it was a lot of work and maybe that’s why it felt so rewarding is because, because it was so much work that I was able to bring it back. But then the light, the lightning talk that where we met in, in Colorado when I did the, uh, but that was just cause I had a van to graph generator that made it fun. How about you, Keathley? What was your favorite talk?

Chris: My favorite talk, uh, that I, my favorite talk that I’ve given in terms of like the visceral excitement and enjoyment of the delivery of it was my, uh, closing talk at Gig City.

Amos: You made me cry.

Chris: Most fun that I’ve had speaking. I actually don’t think that’s the technically best talk I’ve given in the sense of like, I actually don’t think that’s the best presented talk I’ve ever given. I think like probably there, I think I’m trying to think of what I would rate higher than that, but there’s other talks that I’ve given where I think I was like more polished and was, uh, just did a better job of like delivery. Um, but I, but I enjoyed that one the most for me personally, it’s not like the best given talk I’ve ever given, but it was like my easily, my, my favorite, if that makes any sense. I’ve re I re watched it and I like kind of like looked over it a lot more with like a much finer, like sort of a critical eye and was like, yeah, there’s a lot of mistakes like in this talk. But I think there’s talks where I delivered them and felt like there was many worst delivery mistakes, but yeah, but that’s, but it doesn’t matter. That’s still like my favorite experience-wise and it’s like the time I felt the most connected to like, to an audience as well. Um, and so like that still holds a very like important, special place for me. And it’s like not a talk I’ll probably ever deliver again. It’s like, that was like, probably that’s like a, one-shot like, you know, not gonna reuse it so.

Amos: Well, I think if anybody hasn’t seen that talk, they should go watch it. It’s fantastic. Whether it’s whether you’re a technical person or not. Um, although most people, I don’t think there’s probably only technical people listening to this…I’ve told people to go watch that talk by you. It’s really good. I felt connected during your talk, like the whole time yeah. Like going back and watching talks. What talk do you think was the worst that you’ve given?

Chris: And the worst? Oh man, that’s a hard, that’s like a toss-up between like 10 things. I don’t know – everything.

Anna: Yeah. Seriously. There’s so many moments or I feel like it did not go well,

Amos: My, my first one, you couldn’t read the slides.

Chris: I had some real bad ones in my early, you know, and I was just getting started.

Anna: I got super nervous. Yeah. It was bad. Which is a reminder to people who are starting out speaking. Like you don’t start out it’s you just, it takes practice.

Chris: Yeah, absolutely. Well, and being critical with yourself and just saying like, “That was bad.” Like, That was not good.” Okay. So the worst talk I ever gave was at Code Mash, uh, in Ohio, which is a conference giant, giant enterprise-y conference in Ohio. It takes place at a indoor water park hotel. And like, it’s this massive sprawling thing and it’s in the winter. So you can’t go outside anyway because it’s freezing, freezing cold and there’s snow everywhere, but there’s an indoor water park that people come to in like Sandusky, Ohio. And so it takes a long time just to even get out to this place. Like you’ve got to land and then drive out there and all this sort of stuff. And it’s this massive thing. And it’s a very weird visceral experience because, you know, it’s like, you go to like one night, they like rent out the entire waterpark for the attendees and such and you. So you’re like cruising down the lazy river with like, you know, people trying to pitch you on using IBM Watson. It’s like, there’s a lot of that, like business insider intelligence stuff. Uh, it’s a real, it’s a real head trip. So anyway, I was in, there are multiple eateries, uh, inside of this place. There’s multiple little restaurants inside of here. And I was, I had given a really bad talk, like a really, really bad talk, like just didn’t go the way I wanted. I hated it. It was like, I left feeling just totally like demolished. And so I went and I like, like was just going to like shame eat like in this bar, because like, I was like, I, I feel, I just like, I don’t deserve to go have dinner. So I was like, I just ordered a plate of nachos. And I was like, this is just be my dinner. Now I was going to eat my feelings. Uh, and they brought out the soggy, just grossest chips with like cold shredded cheese on top of it. And like wilted white, like just a tinge of green lettuce. And like clearly, you know, just like ground beef that they had like kind of tossed onto this thing on his plate. And like, that was it. That was like the sum total of nachos. And I looked down at it and my friends were sitting there and like, they were like, it’s not that bad, Chris. And they looked at the nachos and like, please don’t do this. It really, the talk wasn’t that bad. And I looked at the nachos. I said, this is what I deserve. And I ate that entire plate of shame, nachos. But then every time we went back to Code Mash for a different, uh, that was the thing is like, if you gave a bad talk, you were required then to go order shame, nachos. It was all fun. It was really not good. That’s a weird conference, both the talk. And the nachos were my fault. I think there is a part, right? Like that’s part of getting better at talks is realizing when a talk is going poorly. And like, course-correcting like the first, sometimes you just, you’re doing everything you can to control the thing. Right. And like, that’s a big part of it, right. Is like the, initially when you get started, it’s basically just, you know, like, you’re just like thrown from a car, you know what I mean? You just like, you wake up and you’re like, I don’t know if it just happened, but like, uh, you know, eventually it starts to slow down and you can start to gauge how the audience is reacting and you can start to try to course correct or like punch through some things faster. Like slow down. If you feel like they’re getting lost or, you know, I don’t know, turn up the jokes more or whatever it is.

Amos: Pick a different person in the audience to look at. I usually pick like one person that I’m. I mean, I’m not going to look at them the whole time, but I look to them for reactions because it’s easier for me to focus on like one person and how they’re engaging. And actually the thinking is greater than typing talk. There was a guy that I picked at the front row.

Chris: Then he started solving like an on-call issue with his laptop or something like that?

Amos: No, he wasn’t on a laptop. That’s why I picked him. I was like, this is going to be perfect because he’s, he’s paying attention. He has a notebook and he’s like looking at me and he had no expression the entire time. He was sitting there. Um, I assume he’s an academic. And if he’s listening to this, Hey, there, there are no hard feelings. And it actually, I think drove me to push the talk a little better. So thank you. But he was sitting there with socks, from the papers and love conference from last Strange Loop. And I mentioned them. I was like, I had asked a question. I was like, I know, you know the answer, you got the Papers We love socks on like, just hoping to get something out of him at that point. I was just grasping no, no change. Like, like maybe he didn’t realize he had those socks on or didn’t remember where they were from or really just didn’t care. You know, I have no idea, but that was so hard. But I think it drove me to try to make the talk better while I was up there. But sometimes that, that fails horribly, like, and you can have a great talk. And just because who you’re looking at, doesn’t respond doesn’t mean your talk’s not good.

Anna: No. Or try to find somebody else who gives you the feedback that you know, who gets, who’s giving you more feedback. Um,

Chris: Yeah. I mean, and you don’t want to, like I said, you don’t want to pick like guy who is solving an on-call issue on his laptop in the front row. You don’t want to, you don’t want to pick, you don’t want to pick, uh, well actually question, answer, asking guy, you know, you don’t want to you, don’t want to. Yeah. The, the comments, the comment disguises, the question guy, you also don’t want to pick the, the guy, the guy who’s answering someone. Else’s question for you guy. You know, that, that one who’s like, well, I don’t actually, well actually just to respond to what he said, uh, you know, it turns out, uh, the beam at a low level is, you know, and it’s like that kind of thing. Uh, you don’t want that. You don’t want that guy either. You don’t want sarcastic laughing guy.

Anna: Or, yeah, that’s true. Oh my God, Dave and Joe.

Chris: So yeah. You want to avoid that? If at all possible. I would say.

Amos: So how do you come back in the middle of a talk? Like whenever you think it’s going off the rails.

Chris: Uh, I think you have to get the audience back on. I mean, first of all, you have to do it a lot, right? Like you just have to get used to it. Like I had catastrophic failures in the middle of talks that I feel like I have salvaged.

Anna: Sure. But I did not. Well, I have ha the opposite. Right. And I’ve also had a catastrophic failure when I tried to salvage it.

Chris: It goes, you use it to do it a lot and then realize you need like 30 backups, you know, of like ways to get yourself out of that situation. And eventually you put enough that stuff in your toolkit too.

Anna: Well, and you also get a better sense of the audience, right? Like sometimes it’s, the talk is fine. The audience isn’t with you, for whatever reason, you have to figure out how to adjust, right? Like why the audience isn’t with you. It’s not like necessarily like the information, but like something about the deliveries and hitting right with another audience, it would be good. But this audience it’s not working. So like, you have to, that gap is through experience too. Right. You know how to gauge the audience and like shift, shift, whether it needs to be when the agent brings some energy to it, or whether I need to slow down a little bit, whether you’re not to change the narrative slightly on the fly, which is hard, but doable.

Chris: I had, uh, I’ve had my laptop like crash in the middle and then like, you know, I’ve had keynote, I’ve had keynote straps to recover keynote. I’ve like my norm talk, which I actually still feel like was a reasonable talk. I had the wrong slides for like the first half of it and realized that like, as I was looking at it, I was like, Oh crap. These are my other slides that I use at a different conference. I need to like stop. And I hope that I have the other ones saved. Cause I don’t know how I’m going to salvage this, if not. And then you just, and then you just figure, you know, and I was like, how can I just keep going? And like, and just make it work and realize like, Nope, I can’t. So I just like stopped and closed it and found the other slides and reopened it.

Amos: And you know, when those things go wrong, it’s, it’s easy to like beat yourself up. Even when it’s not your problem. Like the keynote crashing. It’s like, Oh crap.

Chris: Yeah. Those are arguably the easiest, right. Is because, because the audience is totally behind, you got to do, you can make it happen. We believe in you.

Amos: I was at, I was at a meetup and the projector started smoking. We were in like, it was not like a meetup, like where you’re just like all around some tables. It was in a theater because the place where we normally met it was in the same building, but was, had had something going on. So they put us in this theater and I just turned my laptop around and set it on the end of this. And was like, get close and kept on talking. And it went really well, like people were super excited. I think I got more, I dunno, like the laughter increased at that point. Like people’s engagement increased. And I think it’s because the people who wouldn’t normally be engaged just felt bad for me and like wanted to make it okay. But that, that was terrifying as like, they’re not gonna be able to see any of these slides and I’m, I have tried to convey this message with just my voice. And that was hard.

Chris: I’ve been heckled before, like to the point where like I had to stop the talk. Like dude just like stood up front row, got into, I was giving a talk probably actually the largest audience I’ve ever had ever was it about Git like quote unquote advanced Git, which was basically just here’s what the ref log is. There’s like the whole talk, uh, and uh, added like an enterprise-y conference. And dude in the front row, I was explaining some workflow thing and he just like stood up and was like, this is wrong. He was so upset about what I was proposing, I think, because he’s like an Agile consultant. And I was like, yeah, Git Flow is kind of just a waste of time for, for most like non shrink-wrapped software delivery. And, uh, he was like, let’s just wrong. And like stood up in the middle of it. So that’s probably the worst. That’s actually that, that arguably is way worse than your then keynote crashing.

Amos: What, what did you do?

Chris: I, okay. So yeah, so it’s interesting. Like I stopped and as is my way, I was like, okay. I, I like, I like bit back the immediate, like just biting, like harsh criticism, harsh critique or harsh rebuke for this person and was like, okay, let’s, let’s play this out. So I was like, what would you, what do you go ahead? What do you, what do you mean what’s wrong? And he began to like, explain this whole thing. And I like was like, Hmm. And it sorta like listened to him, like genuinely listened to him. And I was like, so this is an example. If it’s okay with you, I’m going to go ahead and finish the talk. And then you, and I can talk about this afterwards. And my delivery of it was such that like it cut the tension. Cause all of a sudden the audience is like, what is happening? Like why is there a dude in the front row standing up? And it gets the audience back on your site again. Cause all of a sudden, you know, it’s like, you’re asking this one person permission to like, continue your talk was ostensibly. You’re the expert on, because you’re on stage, like, right. Like that’s the presumption. And so like it, it undermines that whole thing and he like sat down and then just left afterwards. He didn’t come talk to me, but like the audience sort of relaxed at that point and was, and was fine and like just kind of carried on. So it’s like just being calm and like sort of like undercutting it a little bit and not trying to like, just, you know, be like, uh, you need to leave or whatever, you know what I mean? Like it was fine.

Anna: I mean, however you handle it, right. It’s just like protecting the rest of the audience in a way. Yeah.

Chris: And you’re defending their time as well. Like they’re not showing up that’s this is a big reason why I don’t do Q and A afterwards is I don’t feel like the audience shows up to do Q and A right. I don’t feel like the audience shows up to listen to a bunch of like questions and like opinions and stuff like that.

Anna: I agree.

Chris: I don’t, I don’t, I that’s why I just don’t do it. I think like if there is a conversation that’s going to be had like will happen afterwards and like that’ll be way more rewarding.

Anna: People can come talk to you afterwards. Exactly. Exactly. I feel like I feel the same way.

Chris: I don’t do it. And I think in a, in a, in the same way, it’s like, I think that there’s a certain amount of like valuing the audience’s time. Right? Totally. At the end of the day, like you have to, you are valuing their time. Like what? Sorry. I would say the audience and audience members showing up to your talk is like a big deal. Like they’re choosing to give you an hour of their time, which is like, actually non-trivial expensive given like the cost of a conference and flight and hotel and whatever else. Do you know what I mean? I think it’s a little bit incumbent upon speakers to like, be really prepared, like, and get really, really, really annoyed when speakers are like, Oh, I looked through these slides together and I’m like, that’s really disrespectful

Anna: Last minute on the plane. I’m like, yeah. To all the people…

Chris: And people are showing up to see you’re talking, I get that. Like I get the other side of that. It’s just like these speakers aren’t getting paid by and large. And like, it’s, you know, it’s a ton of work and I totally get that side of it too. But at the same time, like if these people are showing up, like, I don’t know, like treat that time with like some respect, like their time, like they’re spending way more time in aggregate than you’re spending on preparing it. Right. If you have a reasonable size audience. So like, if you have a hundred people in the audience, they’re all basically giving you, let’s call it 30 minutes of their time. Right. Like that’s probably as much time as you prepped on it. So I dunno. It’s a big deal. You should, you should not just not, don’t just throw a bunch of crap together.

Amos: Yeah. And then some of those people in that audience are paying for it on their own, too.

Anna: Exactly. Like not everyone has it paid for and that’s their own. Yeah. Especially if they’re paying for it on their own, like their own resources, their own time. Um, and they take audience genuinely wants to get something out of it. Right. And so like what, it’s a waste it’s like such a, I’m always like so frustrated when like, I feel like a talk was just a total waste of time because the presenter is not prepared.

Amos: Yeah. When was the last time you went into one of the talks? Just because you didn’t have any other talks to go to like outside, out in the hallway, if I’m in your talk it’s because

Chris: Yeah, exactly. I want to get something out of it.

Anna: I want to get something on something out of it. Something about it seems interesting. Right. Otherwise I’m like talking to my friends in the hallway.

Amos: Or I just really want to clap for you. Yeah. I like the person a lot. I will say that sometimes.

Chris: You know what I mean? Like for sure, for sure. Which I don’t think it’s not a, it’s not a, that’s not saying anything about that person. Right. And like most of the time, those people are really good at giving talks. But I also, if it’s like between solidarity and something else, like all of them almost always choose solidarity. It’s I can watch the talk later.

Anna: That’s true. A lot of them are recorded.

Amos: That actually makes me think of the best piece of advice I ever got an, a talk on giving talks and it came from Keathley. So yeah. You talked, you talked about going, it might’ve been, who knows you talk about going and having solidarity, right? Like going to a talk to support somebody, but finding somebody in the room to be that, uh, solidarity person, like you told me to go introduce myself to somebody in the front.

Chris: That’s one of my secrets. That’s all my secret weapon and things like that. I deploy basically every talk.

Amos: Yes, it was super powerful. It was amazing. Like it, I knew other people in the front row and everything. So I knew I already had some support, but I found somebody, I didn’t know. I forcibly, which is, uh, as ex yeah. Right, right. Like right before, while everybody’s coming in, you know, the people who came in early and I, I, uh, which is, I’m very extroverted, but it’s still hard for me to walk up to somebody that I have no connection with and just introduce myself. And I just walked up and introduced myself. And for the rest of that talk, I felt like, like, this person is more for me than even like my friends that came in to support me. Like, I felt like that person was made way more engaged than anybody else. And it, it was amazing.

Chris: Yeah. And let’s be clear too, like, you know, you’re in our circle and in your circle, you know, you, yourself Amos have a little bit of, uh, let’s, let’s call it brand recognition. Like people like people know, people know, you know, and when they’re showing up, if it’s like, you know, somebody who’s showing up like ours is to some degree, they know who you are. Probably at least to a little bit. Right. And so introducing yourself sort of breaks that barrier down too, of like, Oh, this is just like a human being. Totally. Yeah. And like that’s, and that’s really cool, you know, to like start to like forge those relationships.

Anna: I agree. And it also helps it helps us stuff like from a community building perspective, right. Like Keith Lee’s point, like helps people feel more welcome and included. Right. Especially if they’re not somebody who knows it’s an extension.

Chris: The whole like, um, what is it? Pac-Man shapes groups or whatever that, that phrases or whatever. Oh yeah. Yeah. And see shapes shaped groups. Yeah. It leaves space and that’s part of it. It’s like, you’re, you know, you’re sending a little bit of a like, Hey, you know, like, Hey, welcome to the link, welcome to the club or whatever. Just cool. And I, and also as a total trick to get people on your side so that you have support that you can like look down and find that person be like that person, if no one else likes your talk, that person was still like, you’re talking, this will support you.

Amos: I was going to talk at a, um, at a meetup group shortly after you gave me this advice the first time. And I, there was another person who is going to be speaking at the same meetup after me. And I knew that. And I also had been told by somebody else there, that they were brand new to speaking and were super nervous. So that’s who I picked to introduce myself to. And I told him, I was like, I’m nervous as hell. Just, you know? Uh, so could you like, like, I’m just going to watch you and you tell me like, thumbs up, thumbs down. Every time I looked at him, he would put his thumb up or like sideways. He never put it down. But after that, he like told me, like that made him feel a lot better.

Chris: I mean, and that’s the thing, like, you know, you want it like, yeah. Every look, I I’ve done a lot of talks and I still get nervous. I get like, it’s a bit more nervous energy. Like I’m excited. But like, you know, but before that, like gig city talk, like I was like legit, nervous, ran upstairs to the Carbon 5 office. And then buy some liquid courage and then ran back downstairs again, try to stay loose.

Amos: What, what, what makes, what makes you nervous about a talk?

Chris: I don’t know. You’re about to be up in front of a lot of people saying words and they’re gonna listen to you. Hopefully. I don’t know. I think that, I think like that’s just a human thing, right? Like don’t, don’t most people think public speaking, like not, this is not me asking rhetorically. I’m like literally asking, like, isn’t it statistically, like most people, like if you’re at a funeral, most people would rather be in the coffin than giving the eulogy. Like public speaking is like the number one fear and death is the second one.

Anna: A lot of people are afraid.

Chris: Everybody’s afraid of public speaking.

Amos: But I didn’t know if there would be a specific part that you would be like, is there one thing really makes you nervous about it? Or is it just like –

Chris: I just like, I really want to do well on my, on my talks and. So, and to some degree, you know, that might be your one shot to like, give that talk. Right. And there’s that aspect of it, of being nervous about it for those reasons of like, I really want this one talk to go really well. Cause this one’s important to me, that sort of thing. I don’t know. I think just nervous and like, I get excited. Like I get excited to go up there and that translates into sort of like nervousness and a lot of, you know, jitters and that sort of stuff. Then I drink too much coffee.

Amos: That’s always me. It’s too much coffee. How about you, Anna? What, what, is there anything in particular that makes you nervous? Anxious? Nervous might not be the right word. I don’t know.

Anna: That’s a good question. I think actually it tends to, sometimes I, yeah, that’s the question. Um, if I am not, if I have to, if I have to talk about something that I’m not, don’t understand as well as they want to, if I have to talk about something that like yeah. That it has a level of complexity that I don’t feel fully comfortable with, then I have a little bit nervous because I don’t have a complete of a grasp I would like, um, which has happened. Um, so then I get nervous cause I’m like, Oh, I don’t feel as comfortable as I would like to feel material.

Amos: Did it turn out?

Anna: Yeah, it’s usually fine. But, um, there’s a level of, I mean, like I think the more, the deeper level of comfort I have with the material, usually the easier it is to deliver. Um, if you’re speaking about things that are complicated, that you don’t have a deep level of comfort with, at least for me. And then I think it’s, um, there should be more nerves about delivery and complexity. How are you?

Amos: Can I have two things that make me nervous? Uh, one is any like planned jokes that I put in. Like I’m afraid that they’re just not like they’re going to miss. And, and those, when I get people to laugh that helps me actually move forward. So I’m always afraid that what if I say one and they don’t laugh? Like how am I going to recover from that? But really the bigger one is I don’t think I’m a great story teller. And so when I try to put that story arc into my talk, I’m always afraid that people aren’t going to connect with the story part or the metaphor part that I’m trying to link the technical part to. And I tried one time just to remove that and just have like a straight technical talk. It was terrible, terrible, terrible. I will never do that again. Uh, that was the only time that nobody connected with anything I said, and they were like, I could tell that they were lost the whole time, but yeah, like just figuring out that story arc and like getting up there and thinking, okay, is this even gonna work? That’s hard. But I think, I think I’m, I’m good at reacting to people. So even when they’re not getting it, I I’m, I think I’m alright at changing it. Maybe I’m just not good at planning a story. I don’t know, but I still feel like a terrible storyteller.

Chris: Well, I mean, I think that’s the thing that you have to learn, right? That’s a thing that’s a skill and how to construct it, such that it all sort of makes sense and flows. Well, that’s hard. That’s the thing that you got to practice.

Anna: Totally. It is hard. It is really hard. I mean, again, it’s all practice. Like I don’t think public speaking is a, um, it is a very much a learned skill, right? It is not inherent in any way. And so for folks out there that want to do it, but are nervous or think they’re gonna be bad. Like it is very much a learned skill. And the speakers that you see that are really good have done it a lot. Nobody gets up there and is perfect day one, especially as adults, right? Like I did a lot of theater stuff as a kid. And you put like one-year-olds on stage, like they’re cute. They could do whatever. But as an adult, you don’t really have the same level of, um, passion from the audience.

Amos: I did musicals and stuff in high school. And I don’t know, it’s, I think it’s very different when you’re up on stage alone and trying to talk versus being a character in a large group of other characters, you can kind of hide behind that character when you’re up there by yourself, it’s you for better or worse,

Anna: Which I think might be also a reason why people like public speaking is so I don’t know people, so many people are afraid of public speaking. Right? It’s cause it is you. And there’s a level of vulnerability there and everyone’s worried about how they’re going to be judged because it’s that right. They’re not hiding behind anything. Um, although arguably, if you can harness that vulnerability in your talk, right? Like a level of authenticity, it often makes for a better talk. Right. But again, another learned, learned skill. Anyway, this was to get to chat with you all. It’s been a minute.

Amos: Yeah. I miss miss hanging out with you.

Anna: Well, I think I’m back now. Yay. Thanks everybody for finding a better time to chat. Um, and I’m excited to chat with you all at Code Beam next week.

Amos: Next week? Yeah, this will come. This will come out probably during Code Beam. I don’t think that we’re ahead or. So this should come out during Code Beam.

Anna: So if you’re at Code Beam and you listen to this…

Chris: Why don’t you come hang out with us?

Anna: Alright, y’all. This was fun, but I got a job. I’ll talk to you later.

Amos: Thanks, Anna.

Chris: Bye.