So a while back, OSDC contacted me and asked me to do the conference dinner talk. I went "sure" (because, you know, inability to say no + standing in front of an audience talking shit = gold).
Last week, I realised "wow. I really should think about something to talk about". It gets to Wednesday last week, a week before the dinner. Hm, what have I done that a) I can talk about b) would be suitable for a half-pissed audience of geeks. Nothing comes to mind. Through a rigorous process of
* pounding my head on the desk
* wondering if I "accidentally" got hit by a bus, I could get out of it
I realised something. What do I do well? Hm, coding, yes, but nothing obvious there. Hating and snarking, hmmmm. There's something there, I'm sure. Then I recalled some of the utter crap I've seen on the internet with reference to internet businesses and the like. Ok, fine. So, tentative talk title number 1: "A Tale Told By An Idiot of Sound and Fury, Signifying Nothing" is replaced (ala Friends
) with talk title number 2: "The One With Anthony Being Mean To Marketing People". (note: I don't think I ever made it through a full episode of Friends, but I liked the utter laziness they brought to their episode naming).
Ok. So I have a vague idea of what I'm going to talk about. Spent Thursday thinking of things to hate. The weekend comes, I'm down in Melbourne for the recent wedding, plus various birthday related things and socialness and whatnot - really didn't feel like working on it. Gets to Monday. Still have no structure, have a bunch of jokes about various things. Spend 2 hours scanning through the last 6 months of techcrunch, looking for buzzwords to hate on. Lose will to live. Still have no structure. Whine over IM to Nat Torkington that all I have is a collection of hate, not sure I have a talk here. His response, and I quote here:
"are you mad? it's easiest to be funny when you're full of hate."
"have you figured the organising principle for your talk?
e.g., chronological, n thematic areas, or even alphabetical. hmm, one for each letter of the alphabet ...."
And suddenly, it all clicks. New (and final) talk title number 3: "The One With Anthony Being Mean To Marketing People, in Alphabetical Order."
Rocking. Can start really churning now. Of course, various friends received IMs over the last few days of the form "can you think of an Internet business trend or buzzword starting with P that is really crap?" which I'm sure has been confusing for them. Still, I'm getting there. Have most letters worked out, have slides on the way (People who have seen my talks know that I loves me some cheap jokes using all the technology on my laptop that I can).
Hits Tuesday night, night before conference proper starts. In pub with one of the organisers. "Have you looked at the venue for the dinner? I'm not sure there's a way to display slides there."
Sit for a bit, cursing life in head. Wonder again about bus accidents. Have brilliant plan.
All through the conference rooms, I had noticed those tripods with big pads of butcher's paper attached (the ones where can scribble on them, you flip the page over the back and keep writing). Oh yes, oh yes. I can go somewhere with this.
Today arrives. "Oh, we should have a projector sorted out, will find out what's going on".
"Actually, don't bother. I have another plan".
I steal the two with the largest pads of paper out of conference rooms and a bunch of large pens, sneak away into the dinner venue, and copy slides to pages. It turns out that drawing a lolcat when you have no artistic skill whatsoever is kinda hard. As is the O RLY owl. Also, I have the handwriting of a natural typist.
I presented my little alphabet of hate to a half-drunk audience of geeks, and it seems to have worked. Hurrah! It was full of cheap jokes and stupid references. I got through two full tripods full of paper. Probably the slowest rate I've ever gotten through slides in years - the fun drops when you have to hand write every slide in giant letters.