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Lessons Learned of Connect Tech 2021

Lessons Learned: Connect Tech 2021

Hello developer pal!, glad to see you here.

In this post, I'll share my lessons learned after Connect.Tech version 2021, and the best of all: it was BACK IN PERSON!.

Disclaimer: This post comes from my own experience after evaluating the most important aspects of the conference, there were remarkable talks about React, Angular, Vue and others, this includes no code at all, I'd rather mention some other aspects, more soft-skills-driven instead, though any contribution is more than welcome in the threads below!

Hook the Audience

Something I noticed in this conference, is the way that the speakers kept the audience hooked since the very beginning of the talk.

One speaker asked to everybody to stand up and start stretching!, another one asked to stay sit and warm up from there!, another one played the the trailer of an upcoming movie, I wont say what it was, maybe just a hint but gave all the people goosebumps and received an immediate reaction!

This seems to be something silly, but definitely it is not; having most of the people paying attention to you before start speaking is something hard to accomplish; there are a looot of distractions, top-1: the electronic devices, so it was interesting to see the different nets displayed to fish in the see of "skeptical".

Be Reactive with the Audience

Imagine you planned your talk for weeks; you did your research, found a topic, polished your weak spots, mounted a presentation, hooked the audience, and at the very beginning of you talk a cellphone's ringtone goes off!, what would you do?

Well, according to the physics:

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction...

  • Source: Third Law of Motion, Sir Isaac Newton

The natural behavior would be to be mad at the person, before starting the talk the speakers always ask for turning off the devices, or at least set them on vibrating mode, how is it that someone could not follow such a simple request?, well that happens, and a lot!

I saw that during one of the talks, but the speaker instead of yelling or being mad, had a very different reaction, he just stared at the person and said: "Hey, put the speaker on, so everybody can say hello!", everybody laugh about it, it was so natural that nobody got mad, right after that, the talk resumed and everything just went as expected.

Accessibility in the Presentations

We give for granted some stuff, and we forget that not everybody feels, sees or perceives the world in the same way we do.

In one of the talks, it caught my attention the fact that the presentation, which included some live coding, had a light background!, I couldn't help but to ask the speaker the reason why.

Well, he kindly gave an answer: it turned out that having a dark background(what is so normal to me) in a presentation could affect some people, not only in their eyes but their comprehension!

I read a little about it to understand and it makes sense, you can find a brief in this postpost

Color scheme, font size, animations, etc, among the key points for making the presentation remarkable, some other bullets can be found in this article

Make the Talk Interactive: Complete/Incomplete Source Code

It is said that time is money, in this case time is knowledge(which can be turned into money later, anyway).

When dealing with dozens of persons at the same time, ensure that all are working along with you is virtually impossible; some people has the tools, but not the knowledge, or have the knowledge but not the tools, they need to catch up their envs with everybody else's, but some have Linux, some other Windows, some other Mac, this could be a mess. A nice workaround I saw and I have always agreed to is having 2 versions of the code you are working:

  1. Incomplete: allows the participants to feel like they are getting their hands dirt, the feeling of ownership of the code, and the satisfaction to move along during the session.

  2. Complete: sometimes sh*t happens, so allowing the participant to have a final version of an executable code could let them keep the attention during the rest of the session.

In some of the talks this aforementioned approach was the one to follow, you can later double check or triple check the source code, and compare the pushed commits with your own notes, that could make it easier to understand.

Resources Links

It is said also that Sharing is Caring, agree!, even more when talking about code resources.

There are so many websites you can visit, posts, video tutorials, platform's courses; you don't even know where to start from.

When you assist to a conference like Connect.Tech, you notice that the speakers did their work; they do research, they create the exercises, they care about their presentation, and they share where to find this and other resources used.

There was this workshop where the speaker even created a channel with all of us, a whole bunch of strangers, and shared relevant info related to the topics.

Be Ready for Anything

It's better to be a warrior in a garden than a gardener in war...

  • Source: Japanese saying

Nice saying!, and so true.

During the conference, there was this session where the speaker was doing his best even when his machine kept failing and failing, till the point where he just quit using his machine and he resume a capella. It is better to be prepare for anything that could happen, than thinking that everything will go smoothly, also remember Murphy's Law.

Networking

My favorite bullet for sure, after all this time in the pandemic, we have been put through several restrictions, enclosed for several months and a bit afraid to interact with others face to face.

Of course there are plenty of web platforms for making this sort of events virtually; audio, video, recordings, side notes, and all of that is awesome!, but there is a human factor involved with the networking.

During the conference, we were able to interact with people from different places of the world, leading in all kind of companies, some of them world wide known, some others domestics; what all they shared was the importance they have in their own field.

It is something easy to accomplish in person; you can go for a drink or a snack, start a conversation with some other people, exchange points of view in technologies, approaches, platforms, finish your snack and move along to the next talk, maybe you can talk with the same persons later and learn a little more from each other!, but, how do we do it virtually?

It could be a little harder to interact with people other than the speaker when you joined a call; it is not like you can just ping someone out of the blue and ask him/her to join you in a private room, do you see my point?

Moving along with the New Normal

Till two years ago, having conferences was the rule every single year, right now it is the exception.

The changes during the pandemic are HUGE, passing from hundreds of attenders to ZERO to a few dozens in conferences, after almost 2 years, we are having a break therefore it is possible to plan and attend to an event like this, the sanitary protocols, the response of the people, and the commitment of everybody to make the things right are remarkable, not a single problem in 3 days in a row, we can still have hope to see more conferences in the upcoming year.

The face-to-face interaction is in the human nature, and it is nice to know that little by little is possible to do it again.

Conclusion

After seeing that the event was a success, some other conferences could try the same approach, follow the same directives and get the same success, thus I can foresight new conferences and in-person web tech events in the horizon!; maybe you have second thoughts, or you even attended and have a different point of view, let's discuss in a thread below!

Thanks for reading!

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