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Back from FOTB and beyond - personal post

It's hard to believe that it was just two weeks, because it feels like a much longer journey. After the magic of Flash on the Beach (which I'll write more about later), I headed off to Lisbon for a short visit with my college room-mate, and then returned to London for a few days.

Flash on the Beach was amazing. The talks were all inspiring and everybody seemed so happy to be there. It was a joyful conference. So many wonderful people. Between a bad cough and jet-lag, I wasn't at my best. But I would go back in a heartbeat, if I could.

Because of FOTB, I've decided to develop a new approach to giving talks. I missed the mark, on my audience, and made my talk a little too simplistic. But often, my talks at Flash conferences are not simple enough. So, I'm thinking of developing a more dynamic talk...where audience input determines the path the talk takes. Maybe I'll even create a run-time visualization of this, so that audience can see how they vary from others.

Next came a personal journey, which took me to Lisbon, Portugal.

The best friends, are those who know all your dirt and still love you. In fact, they love you even more. I've been very lucky in life, to have friends like this. They see through my many flaws and help me see my own inner glow. Jen is one of these friends, and it was wonderful to see her again. To meet her children! We went back to those wonderful days in college, through my sister's illness, and on through today. All with the ease of an old friendship. It's left me feeling very centered.

After the intense social aspect of FOTB and personal time-machine of Lisbon, I really enjoyed my solitude in London. For the first time in years, I had the luxury of passing several days alone with my own thoughts. I walked through Hyde park several times, and marveled at the exposed beauty of the naked trees.

Combined with the inspiration of FOTB, I'm now thinking a lot about the fluidity of systems...particle systems and fluid dynamics. At one point, I noticed that if I had chosen to walk down the other side of the street, I would have seen the signs that indicated a path I wanted, but missed the first time through. Instead, I followed along with the tide of people, through the channels of London's streets. I'm not sure what this means to my work yet, but I'm sure it will.


My wife is Portugese and I think we'll travel to Lisbon soon. I've heard wonderful things. Hope you had fun!

I loved it! Make sure you go hear Fado! It surpassed my expectations. In fact, I could write a whole post on just Fado :-)

"I'm thinking of developing a more dynamic talk...where audience input determines the path the talk takes. "

It's almost like you need a choose your own adventure style presentation. The audience gets to choose which path you go down next, but it's still more structured than an open Q&A.

I see this when booking speakers, it's really hard to determine what level the audience for their session will be at.

Rick, it's hard enough as a speaker to gauge level for audience. I can't imagine having to do that for a whole conference.

I'm definitely going to go more flexible talks from now on. I talk on such a wide range of subjects, that I should be able to populate a nice "talk tree", and let the audience guide which directions we take.

And as a geek, programming the slides/tree will be lots of fun for me, too.

I routinely get comments, "it was too basic, I expected more in depth" and "too much too fast, i couldn't follow it" for the same talk. it's impossible to please everyone. the key is finding the right medium so everyone gets something out of it.

Keith, I get the same. So frustrating. Sometimes I think it would be great to give two talks. One intro level, and one more advanced.

sounds like you had a great time in Europe Kristin, friendships that are worth travelling for are usually the ones that inspire and touch you deepest.
Lisbon is a place I;ve never been but heard so many good things about.

The concept of dynamic presentation based on audience level or interest is great...can it be like a game show where we have a box of multiple choice buttons under our seats ;)

hahah! I'd love to give clickers to the audience. That would be fun!