Picking between traditional sessions at conferences can be a pain. What if the content, speaker, or topic don’t quite live up to your expectations? Now you get to sit through the rest, or try to awkwardly sneak out and catch only a portion of another session.
On the other side of the fence, some folks might be scared off from speaking at a conference. 45+ minutes of material can take time to come up with. Demo gods require sacrifices. A full session can seem overwhelming, particularly if this is your first time presenting.
A fun non-traditional option is to do a round of lightning demos. Thankfully, the folks at the 2017 PowerShell + DevOps Summit accepted a proposal for community lightning demos, which I’ll be honored to host!
For the past few years, the PowerShell team lightning demos have been a consistent highlight of the NA PowerShell Summit. It’s a fast-paced session where team members plug in a laptop, and walk through a quick demo of something cool they’re working on.
This is a great format:
- As an attendee, you get a variety of content, speakers, and topics; even if one or two bits bomb, chances are you’ll have some awesome takeaways
- As a presenter, you only need to come up with 5-10 minutes of content; you might not be quite so overwhelmed if you’re only up there for a few minutes, and it can be comforting knowing that a number of your peers will be joining you
So! Given how mainstream and important open source projects are becoming, a round of community lightning demos could be quite fun and enlightening. What should you show?
Community Lightning Demos
This is all up to you, but here’s a basic recipe that should be easy to follow, and help the audience fill in the bits they need to know:
- Pick a topic. Demo a module or function that you wrote, or that you use often. Describe a helpful tip or trick that you think is worth sharing with the audience. This is up to you!
- Put together a quick demo under 10 minutes. Don’t try to stretch things to hit 10 minutes; if you say what you need in 5 minutes, even better. If things don’t go as planned and you end up hitting the time limit, folks can catch you after
- Include info the audience will find helpful:
- What are you talking about?
- How does it work? This is a demo after all!
- Why might the audience use this?
- Where can they find more?
Here’s a quick example lightning demo walking through PSDepend basics. Sorry about the volume, there was a sleeping toddler in the other room…
Sign me up!
You can sign up here - more details at the link.
No need to spend too much time prepping for a few minutes, but do consider:
- Putting together a demo. Mostly code and working examples
- Running through your demo, including what you think you’ll say
- Testing your demo again, if you update PowerShell, modules you use, etc.
- Thinking of the audience. Can they read your editor? Is there syntax highlighting? Can you split lines up on pipes and other natural spots to avoid scrolling horizontally when your editor is zoomed in a bit?
That’s pretty much it, I’ll be looking forward to some awesome demos!