Simon Willison’s Weblog

Items in Mar, 2013

Filters: Year: 2013 × Month: Mar ×


Does anyone ever had the experience where they could carry on a conversation with someone very well, but stutter and go blank when public speaking (eg. informal introduction) in front of a crowd?

This is extremely common, and will certainly go away with experience... but being well prepared is never a bad idea with respect to public speaking! Even for informal introductions it’s worth figuring out what you’ll say, writing it down, rehearsing it out loud several times in private and memorising it.

[... 132 words]

What are some ways to organize conferences at a very low cost?

Find a venue sponsor: venues are the biggest expense for most events, and if you can find a company with their own conference-suitable facilities who will provide the space for free you’ve just massively slashed the cost of the event. Most BarCamps (at least in London) work on this basis.

[... 158 words]

Why do academic conferences cost so much?

They’re usually a whole lot cheaper than industry conferences, where tickets can cost more than a thousand dollars.

[... 92 words]

What are some ways to get a job from attending a conference?

Talk to people. Ask if they are hiring—if they aren’t, ask if they know anyone at the conference who is hiring. Make sure you have lots of business cards. Get other people’s business cards. Follow up afterwards. Connect with people on LinkedIn.

[... 111 words]

What are some hidden features of Python?

Generators and Iterators are pretty amazing. These two tutorials will really open your eyes as to how powerful they can be:

[... 63 words]

Where can I find out about upcoming conferences, conventions, and trade shows in design, publishing, and elearning?

Our site, Lanyrd, is a crowdsourced directory of conferences and professional events. We’re extremely strong in areas such as Mobile, Web Design and User Experience, but we also have listings for Publishing and E-Learning. Try these pages:

[... 162 words]

How do I get started with node.js?

You don’t run Node.js in a script tag on your website. Node is a technology for writing servers in JavaScript—you can think of it as a replacement/alternative for PHP, Python, Ruby, ASP.NET etc.

[... 58 words]

How do you get invited to speak at high profile events?

SXSW has an open call for proposals—you’ll need to submit a suggestion to the panel picker and encourage people to vote for you.

[... 123 words]

How does one create innovation in a business conference? What’s new and different in this area?

Two formats worth investigating are unconferences and lightning talks.

[... 155 words]

What is your review of xkcd?

★★★★★

It’s consistently excellent, and frequently throws out absolute diamonds. Here’s a great one from just a few days ago: [... 63 words]

What is the history of question and answer websites?

I’m afraid this answer will be a little vague, but I worked at Yahoo! back when they launched Answers, and the story I heard was that this category of sites was extremely popular in some Asian countries—particularly countries that didn’t yet have a large number of available native language sites on the Web. Q&A sites filled a valuable gap there by allowing people to discover information online in their own language despite there not being many existing sites.

[... 120 words]