A few weeks ago I attended the 2019 InsiderDevTour in Stockholm. A few reasons to get really excited: another trip to Sweden and to see friends, another chance to present a talk - this time about the Microsoft Graph, my first live coding sessions and... Taking part in my first keynote!🤩
Of course, the last three mean that I needed to spend quite some time making sure that I was comfortable with the presentations and demos!
Oh, and no pressure, but somehow I managed to become a featured speaker of the tour! Gulp! 🤪
With it being the Microsoft InsiderDevTour the sessions are supplied so that each conference has the same content. So rather than spending lots of time coming up with the talk it was more lots of practicing, both the content and the demos.
And immediately noticed that when giving the demos all of my personal information is displayed.
That's not the idea! To get around this I created an Office 365 Developer account that I could set up with demo data without showing all of my own information.
Something that has really shocked me since I started speaking is just how much work goes into the talks. I assumed a lot, but I hadn't quite realised just how much! Even with the session information provided I spent a few weekends making notes, practicing, running demos, swearing when I made mistakes, and starting again! But, with a week to spare I was ready to go!
Well, I say that was it, but of course life isn't that easy! Obviously being the Insider Dev tour my machine has to run the Insider version of Windows for the demos. And the morning of the flight to Stockholm it updated itself (I tried to postpone the update, but was too late 😶). The update went fine though (phew) and I left for Sweden!
Only... The update did go fine, but during the evening when I was doing my final run through I hit problems. None of my demos worked any more 😫. Lots of effort, and a few years off of my life with stress, and I was back in business. And... Relax!
The next morning the alarm went off at a time that should be criminal on a weekend and I stepped out into glorious sunshine! I started helping set up the stage, double checking that my demos still worked and I could connect to the HDMI switch.
During this time people started to arrive, other speakers and attendees, and the nerves started to rise!
Time rolled around and we got started! Lots of interesting things came by and then... It was my turn to get my microphone on and take to the stage!
I'm still learning my craft when it comes to talking, but so far my experience has always been the same. Complete and total fear walking up to the stage, and that energy being replaced by a buzz as soon as I say my first word to the audience (I so hope that remains the case!). I did feel extra stress with it being the double of my first keynote, and my first live coding demo! But, I was enjoying myself and then the Microsoft Graph came on stage.
After we had some fun together (yes, the mascot of the Microsoft Graph is the Microsoft G-Raph 😀) and the G-Raph went off to do whatever G-Raphs do, I went back to my machine.
And forgot the English language. Completely. For what was probably seconds, but seemed like hours! Yep. Right. OK. Yep. Right. Yep.
But I managed to recover, to do my demos, to not shake so much that I couldn't type and I really enjoyed myself.
Then I could sit again, and listen to the other awesome things that were part of the keynote.
After the end of the keynote I was up again - this time for my deeper dive into the Graph. Again the nerves getting up, and again, once I started to speak that energy turned into something good.
I really enjoyed giving this talk, it may not have been my content, but it I truly loved presenting it and was bursting with enthusiasm!
And my live demos? Almost all good. And I remembered almost all of them in the right order 😃. There was one point where my code didn't work, with Jessica (a friend and organiser of the conference) shouting that I had forgotten a
t from a html tag. Oops - that explained why it wasn't working at least. This was what I'd been dreading, but I'm happy to say it didn't affect me. I fixed the first issue and made a joke about fixing the closing tag for good measure. The code worked and I moved on.
At the end of the session I even got my first conference question (my previous sessions I've just invited people to come up to me afterwards). I managed to answer it, and stepped off of the stage. Phew. I was done for the day and could relax!
And spend the day watching the other sessions. Some awesome speakers showing some really interesting new things.
By the end of the day I had that familiar feeling of 'That's all great, I can't decide what I'm going to start with!' Something I always take as a sign of lots of great content!
If you work in the Microsoft eco system I'd really recommend going to the Insider Dev Tour Labs and have an explore! And if you do, get yourself an Office 365 Developer account. It makes life easier for you!
Of course, a conference is only what the organisers and attendees make it. All my thanks to Jessica, Jimmy, Cristian and anyone else involved in organising the event, all of the other speakers for their talks, and, of course, all of the people who gave up amazing weather on a Saturday to come and listen so enthusiastically to us talking about the new features available in the Microsoft eco system!