Sometimes Microsoft reaches out to you when they need help or a bit of local flavor for an event. This was the case for the Insider Dev Tour, there was an email which followed with Allan Pead and myself volunteering to help. Seemed straightforward, I was expecting ~100 people at most. That is until a few weeks later when things started to spiral.
Did not see that coming
I got asked for a headshot, this was expected because I knew the site was going up soon. I was curious as to the other local speakers they found, I mean if they were relying on me to carry the event they are doomed right?
The site goes live: https://insiderdevtour.com/Johannesburg
If you keep track of the Microsoft space you may know these are big players, like they speak at Build big players, and there is my face!
In the last 5 years of my career, I would never have imagined I would be sharing a stage with these folks so soon.
Cool, cool I am on the list, now what? Crap I actually have to prep to present! Microsoft was great about getting me the content weeks in advance with a bunch of notes to make it as simple as possible for me. Practiced a bit in my head and on the flight over there. I got this!
This quickly became a large event with all these famous people as speakers (exception of me of course). We surpassed the capacity of the venue for registrations. Like all events of this scale, I had to get in a day earlier for rehearsal and tech setup.
Only once I walked into this room for the first time did it hit the scale, The room was mostly empty other than a handful of crew members and the speakers.
I got up on stage for my dry-run and I completely destroyed it, to be clear when I say I destroyed it I mean I fumbled all over the place was barely audible and barely constructed a reasonable sentence. The only other time I had nerves as bad as this was the very first time I spoke at an event.
Safe to say I did not sleep very well that night.
21 June 2018
At this point, I had run through all my exit strategies and how I would break it to the team but then I remembered I can’t be a hypocrite. I constantly try to persuade people into speaking at meetups and overcoming their fear of speaking in front of an audience. I needed to practice the same advice I give others: “No one knows what you are going to say”, “Demos fail, laugh about it and move on” and “Public speaking is just like the conversation we are having but with 49 more people listening”.
Apparent I give out some great advice 🙂 Once I got on stage in front of ~500 people all my nerves faded.
Started the day with a demo of Visual Studio live share in the keynote.
Followed by a demo of me in a banana suit and Pete flying a drone over me. You are welcome to ask me about this, I have a valid explanation 🙂
As web tech challenged as I am I had a session on PWA (Progressive web apps)
At the end of this, I am really happy that I did not chicken out. It was a great experience that shifted my boundaries a little further, now the work begins to take this up a level.
“On the other side of your maximum fear, are all of the best things in life.” – Will Smith
In my case, it was beer and steak 🙂