Upcoming Speaking Engagements – Roundup

Here’s a roundup of some of the speaking gigs I’m doing over the next few months:

  • I’m speaking later this morning at the Evans Data Developer Relations conference.
  • I’ll be doing the world’s briefest demo of Approver.com at the Under the Radar conference in Sunnyvale on March 23.
  • In two weeks I’ll be speaking at VSLive San Francisco March 26-27. I’ll be speaking on programming MySQL in .NET.
  • On April 17 I’ll be speaking on a panel at Web 2.0 Expo on Entrepreneurship and the Web as a Platform.
  • I was just invited to speak at the MySQL User Conference
    in Santa Clara April 23-26 — specific subject is to be determined but
    it’ll have something to do with .NET and MySQL. It’ll likely be
    different than my VSLive talk, since that talk will be
    basic/introductory — this talk will have a little more depth.

You might not know it to hear me talk, but I suffer from a few minor professional insecurities. One of them has to do with speaking engagements, which I use as a major barometer of professional success. I did my first talk in front of a technical audience in 1987 (twenty frickin’ years ago, jeez) and since I threw it into high gear in 1996 I’ve flown around the world talking about software development at least a couple times a year.

Public speaking scares the crap out of most people. I happen to love public speaking, and I’m very confident speaking to an audience of virtually any size (getting a show-stopping round of applause during my presentation to 2,000 engineers and the executive team at Adobe’s annual engineering all-hands last year was a high point). But when I speak, I get hyper-focused and obsessive about preparation, and that causes me to go back and think about why I’m in front of this audience and what it all means.

One of the disorienting things about working for big companies like eBay or Yahoo is wondering whether your professional success is a function of the company you work for or whether it has something to do with your skills and experience. Are you objectively terrific or are you just riding the coattails of a worldwide brand?

My point (and I do have one) is that I seem to be getting about twice as many invitations to speak publicly this year as I did last year when I worked for Yahoo, which is extremely gratifying. So: big thanks to the conference organizers who have agreed to subject their audiences to me in 2007.