This is the ninth edition of this newsletter, and I’m still refining it to provide you with the most value as an aspiring or practicing speaker. One section that I love to write is “Learn from the Best”, as it involves hours of procrastination on YouTube. Joking! (not Joking).

I love listening to and reading about the great speeches of history. These are not only inspirational in their own right, but also provide a great opportunity to learn. This learning is not of the analytical and theoretical kind (although that is there too). Rather it is of the perceptual kind. Your brain is a powerful neural network that can learn without your help. By continually exposing yourself to great speakers and speeches, you become subconsciously better at giving talks yourself. This is not voodoo magic or hippie nonsense. It’s a real neuro-physiological effect.

I’m refining the way great speeches are presented in this newsletter. I’m now going to include an extract so you can get a better feel for the tone of the material. I’m also going to defer to better writers and public speakers by linking you to more considered commentary than I can possibly give. I’m a tech speaker, but not an expert on public speaking (I write this newsletter partly to become a better public speaker). I think this improved format will give you more useful information more quickly—but do let me know!

I also have a favor to ask. If you enjoy this newsletter, and if you find it useful, please consider recommending it to a friend who is learning to give technical talks, or who aspires to do so. I meet so many cool programmers who have brilliant things to share with the world—that’s you!

Please help me to improve this newsletter – I’d love to hear your suggestions! You can email me directly: You can tweet too: @metsitaba. Thank you so much for reading!

A special thanks and shout out to Tammy for helping to make this newsletter even better!


Speaker Profile

Joe Armstrong
The mess we’re in [V]

This is an almost perfect technical talk. You have a measured delivery with lots of gravitas. Yet you also have humour, story telling, and history lesson. And you have the lovely “seven deadly sins” structure.

Now Joe Armstrong is the inventor of the Erlang programming language, so he has done his thinking, and knows exactly what he wants to say. And he has built a great open source project to use as the substance of his talks. How does this help you when all you have it a little utility library on Github?

Joe Armstrong’s expertise is not fake. It’s genuine because he really is the world expert on Erlang. You are also a world expert—on your own project! This is another great example of why you should work on open source if you want to be a tech conference speaker. You get to be a subject matter expert, by definition!


Learn from the best

Theodore Roosevelt
Citizenship in a Republic

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face in marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Commentary by Michael D Sellers:

… Roosevelt was speaking at the Sorbonne, in Paris, the oldest and most storied center of learning in the country that was widely regarded as the highest seat of culture and scholarship in Europe.  The date was April 23, 1910, and ex-President Roosevelt was on his way back to America after a yearlong African expedition undertaken on behalf of the Smithsonian … the idea of America as a player of equal stature on the world stage as the great powers of Europe was still a novel one, and a difficult one for ‘old Europe’ to accept.  Roosevelt knew this, and he approached the speech carefully…

Digital Nomads: How to Live, Work and Play Around the World
Andre GusseklooEsther Jacobs

I know several digital nomads – people who genuinely live between places, freelancing as software developers or creatives from Thailand to Argentina. Public speaking is one way that they support themselves. Conferences will often pay for the next leg of their journey, which works out well for everyone!

Digital nomads are the masters of travel, and they know every trick in the book. This book contains more than a few tricks.

If you’re going to be speaker at tech conferences, then you’re going to be travelling. The glamour (if there was any to begin with) wears off very quickly. Frequent business travel is an endurance test, and you need to prepare. This book helps you do that.

Public Speaking Tips That Go Beyond Great Content & Delivery Style

Public speaking is not just about public speaking. To raise your game to the professional level, you need to pay attention to all the little details. I will always make sure to connect my machine to the A/V gear at any event before I speak. There’s usually time to do this at breaks or first thing in the morning. You’ll find out if there is some weird screen resolution issue that prevents your slides from displaying, and you’ll have time to do something about it.

In this blog post, Andrew Grill, an accomplished and experienced public speaker takes you through all of his tips for operating at the high end. Even if you implement 10% of his advice you’ll be ahead of the pack. You can be sure that each piece of advice he gives comes from painful personal experience getting it wrong the first time.

Three Conferences

DevOps Moscow

“DevOps Pro Moscow is not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen.” If you’re interested in the DevOps world, take a look at DevOps Pro and pack your backs for Moscow. The conference will explore core principles and methodology concepts while demonstrating how to use the most common DevOps patterns. You’re sure to walk away ready to give life to new ideas.

Strata Data Conference

Join the convergence of data scientists, analysts, engineers and executives to dive into Data and AI technologies. Strata is where data and algorithms are turned into business advantage. You can expect executive briefings, industry case studies and the latest in data engineering, architecture, and machine learning. If it’s data-driven, it’s sure to be covered! Spend a couple of extra days in San Jose and enjoy San Francisco’s southern cousin too!

Dublin Is…Tech

Take a look at Ireland’s contribution to global tech – past, present and future. This two day community conference brings together the brilliant minds behind some of the best technologies, initiatives, companies and communities in Ireland. It’s about coming together to learn, teach, and collaborate!  At the end of each day, you’ll head to the Alltech Craft Brews & Food Fair on the first level of the convention centre for some great beer, food and networking!

CFP Calendar

These are the CFP deadline dates and submission pages.