My Saturday evening lightning talk

Apr 17, 2013 PyCon PyKids

In which I speak in front of a bajillion people ...

Okay, it was possibly not that many people. Total attendance for PyCon 2013 was around 2500, and the auditorium was pretty packed for Saturday night talks - so it felt like a bajillion.

Katie Cunningham and I taught the Young Coders tutorial at PyCon 2013 and it was a rousing success. We got such a great response from conference attendees - something that maybe I should have expected, but that still took me by surprise. Everyone we talked to wanted to see the slides and sample code open-sourced, so that they could take the materials into their own communities and schools and use them to teach more kids.

I had no problem with open-sourcing everything, I just didn't anticipate the demand. (By the way, the materials we used are now in a GitHub repo where everyone is free to fork them, remix the slides, and adjust the curriculum to suit any teaching need: https://github.com/mechanicalgirl/young-coders-tutorial.)

We quickly realized that the easiest way to let people know where they could find the slides and talk about the class would be to do a lightning talk. But here's the thing - for as long as I've been involved in the Python community, I've sworn that I would never give a talk of any kind, lightning or otherwise. I get terrible stage fright, I said. I choke, I freeze, I get faint.

But this information needed to get out there. So I knew I'd have to knuckle down and just do it. And you know what? I didn't faint, I didn't throw up, and I didn't die.

It was just a few minutes on the stage. Katie probably gave more than half of the presentation (also: an incredible amount of moral support). I realized, though, as the first words were leaving my mouth, that this is something I'm really passionate about, and that I really, really wanted to tell people about it. Suddenly it became exhilerating, not a chore, nothing to be scared of.

And now I can't wait to do it again. A whole lifetime's fear of public speaking has largely been chipped away. I know that I still have some distance to go, but I'm willing to do it now - I'm going to submit a talk for DjangoCon this year, so keep your fingers crossed for me.

So, after that long prelude, I give you:

PyCon 2013 Saturday evening lightning talks

Related post:
Young Coders Learning Python at PyCon 2013