Speaking at KubeCon 2017 - Part 3 - First Run

The opportunity to present a “dry run” of this talk was the most important lesson learned of the level of preparation required to really pull off a solid performance at KubeCon.

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The Dry Run

About the time I submitted my CFP, a the NOVA Kubernetes Meetup was just getting started and had its first meetup. I offered and was gratiously accepted to speak at the next meetup in October. I know myself enough to know that I work best with a deadline, so setting one would sharpen the focus.

I practiced a few times, and every iteration was better than the last, but also became longer. I became so driven to prove my attacks worked and were really simple that I added lots of asciinema demos. I figured I could chop it down a bit later.

Going into the talk, I was looking for a couple things.

  1. Did I establish myself with enough credibility?
  2. Did the demos present well?
  3. Did I cover everything?

Here’s the original version of the talk given at the meetup: http://goo.gl/p42Shd

Initial Reception

During the talk, I quickly realized that despite the majority of the audience having used Kubernetes, I was only getting about 3 or 4 folks nodding their heads throughout each walkthrough. And when I glanced down at my watch, I realized that I was cracking 45 mins and I didn’t even get to the hardening bits yet.

I had overshot the audience, firehosed them with information that was far too dense, and went way over the time. The audience clapped and a few thanked me personally for the talk, but I knew I swung big and missed.

The slides were shared via Twitter, and I received a warm response from some folks, but a comment from one person made me realize that I had inadvertently made it seem like I was picking on a specific project. While I thought I was just using it as an example that covered the most use cases, it was received very differently. I responded to that person and vowed to be more careful about impartiality.

So, about those goals:

  1. Did I establish myself with enough credibility? - Yep, but just being the speaker. I didn’t need to do anything more than that.
  2. Did the demos present well? - Practically speaking, yes. They worked. I just had too many of them and went way too quickly.
  3. Did I cover everything? - Yes, at the expense of overwhelming the audience and going way long on time.
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