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Code. Glass art. Games. Baking. Cats. From Seattle, Washington and various sundry satellite locations.

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Where Ideas Come From.

5.31.2015

When a writer is asked "where do you get your ideas?", they might flippantly answer "Poughkeepsie". I've done quite a bit of speaking over the past year, and I thought that aspiring speakers might be interested in knowing exactly where I got my ideas for talks.

A month or two after I'd gotten my Sparkfun Inventor's Kit, I was talking with a non-developer friend who asked how long it took me to get set up. "A few hours", I said, "But now that I've done it, I could probably get someone running in about an hour." At the time, I was wondering "Is this a good talk idea?" about pretty much everything I was doing, but it seemed like "From 0 to Nodebots" was in fact a pretty good talk idea. I could share what I had learned in these first stages, and give the audience a road map to fun with hardware. I gave a 25 minute version of this talk at Seattle JS (my local JS meetup) a few months later, and an expanded 45 minute version at Nodevember 2014 a few months after that.

"Color in the Real World" came from a different place altogether. As I got more and more into blowing glass, I realized that my complete lack of drawing abilities hampered my ability to take "notes" for a visual art medium. I picked up Art Academy - a handheld video "game" that teaches folks how to draw. I worked though the lessons from time to time, practicing sketching and learn some interesting things abour art history and color theory. As I learned about highlight coloring and atmospheric perspective I thought, "these ideas definitely apply on our modern screens". I gave a 15 minute version of this talk at SassConf 2014, and an expanded 30 minute version at CSS Conf AU 2015 just last March.

If you are looking for speaking ideas, try thinking about what you chat about when you talk with your friends and colleagues after work. When you get excited and passionate about something, or you see folks lean forward and nod when you're talking, that's something you should consider speaking about.

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Tags: conferences speaking

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