Posted on December 6, 2012 in Uncategorized by adam3 Comments »

The Call For Participation for CAST 2013 is out and includes

We would like to hear your experiences, stories, thoughts, observations, demonstrations around the lessons that you have learned in Software Testing, as well as how these could influence the way that we approach testing in the future.

And I expect a lot of interesting experience reports from interesting people (it is CAST after all). But how much really, really, new stuff will be added to the craft. I’ll be my normal cynical self and suggest that it is likely not as much as one would hope.

What I would love to see is a CFP that looks something like this.
We would like to hear your experiences, stories, thoughts, observations, demonstrations around the lessons that you have learned outside of Software Testing, as well as how these could influence the way that we approach testing in the future.

My talks a couple years ago all fell into this form. Kids in Armor and Testing Inspiration When You Least Expect It are both examples of what I want to hear people talk about. I want to hear Alan Page discuss how Orchestra composition helps him test better, how Ben Kelly tests better due to years of thwacking people in the head with bamboo, etc.

I also want non-testers to be brought in as the keynotes. Sure, I enjoy listening to James, Michael, Cem, Matt and company, but if you are keynote-ing, you are up against an astronaut in my ranking scheme (Keynote vs. Track). Now I am a baseball fan so opinions are skewed but I think the Garfoose or Shawn Green could also be great. Though they likely cost more since its an actual speaking gig rather than just the prime audience grabbing moment. Or Mary Robinette Kowal about puppetry. Or a Buddhist monk about meditation and breathing. Or. Or. Or.

That there is a speaking circuit where one can recycle topics is a smell I think …

… and another smell is that I essentially wrote this same post back in April including some of the same speaker suggestions; The ‘Un-Testing Conf’. That’s just silly. I should do some work…

Posted on December 6, 2012 in Uncategorized by adam1 Comment »

Speak Up! is the latest of Jesse Noller’s community-oriented projects. [I’m pretty sure he has cloned himself to do all this stuff.] Having sat in many ‘how to give a talk’ talks (meta!) I’m amazed how often people focus on construction of slides, the narrative and practice (feh!) and forget the most important thing.

BE YOURSELF!

I’ve been saying this for a while, but this paragraph from Cheek was my hero sums thing up well.

Later that season, Cheek would give me the most important piece of advice anyone has in this business – Be Yourself. It’s easy to lose that once you get close to the pinnacle of the profession, to try to change who you are or how you do what you do in order to impress people or to make your way up the ladder that much easier, but Tom told me squarely that there was a reason I was in that booth with them and it was because of what I’d done on the way there. That my success was based on how I went about my work both on the air and off and that any future success would be based on the same thing.

Pulling it back to speaking, people want you and your content not something and someone else when they select you. Don’t change. Even if that means blatantly ignoring cultural norms. For example:

  • When I did Set Course for Awesome I was warned that having cussing in the deck could be offensive to the audience. Noted. Did I change it? Not a chance.
  • If I am speaking at your event I’m going to wear what I am comfortable wearing that day which is likely to include some sort of snarky tshirt. Looking at some of the photos from Justin Hunter who is over in India at a conference today the audience is in jackets and ties. I don’t think I own a jacket and tying a tie is an exercise in hilarity.

Also, if you put a mic in front of me, you are going to get snark. And opinion. Because that is me. That’s what you get. Anything else would be dishonest. And being dishonest to your audience is not a good way to engage them.

Yes, I think that slides that have fewer words are better in general and that you should tell a story when behind the mic. But if that isn’t you then don’t do it. Be yourself.