With a rather empty summer schedule, I've put some plans in place to make the most of it, by watching a talk a day.
This summer will be the least scheduled I’ve ever had; because my family isn’t traveling for any major vacations and I’m only volunteering for two weeks, I’ll have lots of spare time to myself. I know that if I don’t fill that spare time with something useful, I’ll wither intellectually… So I’ve put together my “talk a day” plan to keep myself engaged through the next few months.
I got a great intellectual kickoff to my summer with my attendance at WordCamp Montréal 2013, where I heard lots of great talks and came away with plenty of notes.
Looking for ways to keep myself learning, I realized that one of the best ways to do so this summer would be to continue listening and taking notes on talks. Fortunately for me (and the WordPress community at large), just about every talk that occurs at WordCamps are recorded and uploaded to WordPress.tv. This is the perfect resource to use to “attend” plenty of talks that you’d have no opportunity to otherwise.
In addition to the various WordPress-specific talks available from WordPress.tv, Google Developers puts up video of just about every session they’ve ever hosted. Special gems are the feature talks from Google I/O, which are always worth a watch.
And of course, there are various other random talks which I’ll chance upon to watch.
My goal is to watch (on average) a talk a day. I’m also taking notes as I watch these talks, as I would if I were actually in the room. This has the added benefit of improving my handwriting, which is something I’ve always been a bit ashamed of.
This is actually a pretty sustainable goal, given the time I have. I’ve been trying it out the past few days and I’ve had no trouble setting aside an hour before bed to watch a session.
I invite you to try and join me in reaching this goal. I understand the extra time I have is a bit of a luxury, but watching the interesting talks which suit your tastes during your spare time will go a long way towards furthering your knowledge and keeping your mind sharp.
In addition to writing out my notes during the talk by hand, I also want to take the time (when I can) to type up my notes for the talks and publish them here. The parsing of unstructured notes into more structured versions for digital publishing will help me to learn the material.
I hope this can help provide a good accompaniment to the slide decks usually published by these authors, for those who don’t have the time or means to watch the videos, but are able to read my notes and view the slides.
I started this intellectual journey with WordCamp Montréal 2013. You can view the talks I attended here.
The talks I want to watch are a large cross section, covering the various aspects of digital publishing. From design to development to content creation, I’m interested in the full gamut. While my skills don’t lie in all those areas, I feel I’ll be better equipped to handle the tasks set before me if I’m well-versed in the various aspects facing digital publishing.
Also, watching presenters from such a variety of fields covering such a variety of topics will prepare me better for my eventual speaking endeavours. I’m applying to speak at WordCamp Toronto in October, as well as WordCamp Montréal next summer, plus some other events in between. I’ll be much more prepared to handle these situations if I have more exposure to the different styles present at WordCamps.
And now, for the great collection of blue.
The talks I’ve watched after that are as follows (I’ll keep this list updated as I go):
- Where the Heck is Everyone? Working with Distributed Teams by Reid Peifer.
- Moving from Works for Me to Doing it Right by Naomi Bush.
- How to Make Six Figures in Web Design by James Dalman.
Some of the talks I’m planning to watch are as follows (I’ll move talks from this list to the previous as I go):