In a few days, I’ll be getting on a plane to Sydney. I’ve never been in the Southern hemisphere before, much less Australia. I am, needless to say, quite excited.
I’ll be speaking at Web Directions South. Now, at this stage, I’m no stranger to public speaking but I’m kinda nervous about speaking at this conference. See, getting to speak at this event is something of a dream come true for me. Don’t believe me? Let me direct your attention to my first post of 2006, wherein I set down my resolutions for the year. My resolve hasn’t been very strong in the bouzouki playing department, but I’m thrilled that my second resolution is going to become a reality.
If I’m being flown halfway ‘round the world to speak in front of an audience, I want to make damn sure that they get their money’s worth. Fortunately, the schedule is set up in such a way that I think I can please most people. On the first day, I’m giving a code-free presentation called Explaining Ajax. Then, on the second day (which is double-tracked), I’ll be doing a much more hands-on session on Ajax and Progressive Enhancement.
I’ll also be doing a full-day workshop two days before the conference proper. Busy, busy, busy.
I’m feeling pretty confident about the workshop and the hands-on session. I’ve had plenty of experience delivering both. It’s the overview presentation that I’ve been fretting over. I want it to be entertaining but informative. I hope I can strike the right balance.
I spent the last week in Florida hanging out with the in-laws at the beach house in Saint Augustine. I didn’t pass up the opportunity to splash around in the waves and eat plenty of shrimp (though not at the same time), but I spent a lot of time with my laptop open putting together my slides. I’ve spent so long thinking about what makes a good presentation that I fear I’m in danger of over-analyzing everything.
My task isn’t made any easier by the exalted company in which I will be appearing. I’ll be speaking right after Kelly Goto. This is like being asked to play a tune after Mozart has just left the piano.
I probably shouldn’t worry so much. Once I’m standing in front of a captive audience, you can wind me up and let me loose. Usually there’s at least some value hidden in the stream of words that comes gushing out.
The cool factor of Web Directions just went up several notches with the unveiling of a backnetwork-style application called Web Connections. XFN, check. hCard, check. Google Map, check. Flickr pics, check. Tagging, check. RSS, check. Cameron and Tim have crafted a thing of beauty. If d.Construct is any indication, it will prove enormously useful.
I have a feeling that any jetlag I may experience from crossing continents will be offset by my permanent state of excitement. Seeing as this visit down under may be a once in a lifetime opportunity, I don’t plan on heading back straight after the conference. Jessica and I will stick around for another ten days afterwards, exploring all that Sydney has to offer.
I can’t wait. My only fear is that I’ve been so busy preparing my presentation that I haven’t had time to practice the useful everyday Australian phrases that Cam told me would come in so handy. To whit, “crikey, this cobber’s going gangbusters on my wallaroo.”