Simon Willison’s Weblog

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Weeknotes: datasette-indieauth, datasette-graphql, PyCon Argentina

Last week’s weeknotes took the form of my Personal Data Warehouses: Reclaiming Your Data talk write-up, which represented most of what I got done that week. This week I mainly worked on datasette-indieauth, but I also gave a keynote at PyCon Argentina and released a version of datasette-graphql with a small security fix.

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Personal Data Warehouses: Reclaiming Your Data

I gave a talk yesterday about personal data warehouses for GitHub’s OCTO Speaker Series, focusing on my Datasette and Dogsheep projects. The video of the talk is now available, and I’m presenting that here along with an annotated summary of the talk, including links to demos and further information.

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OCTO Speaker Series: Simon Willison—Personal Data Warehouses: Reclaiming Your Data. I’m giving a talk in the GitHub OCTO (Office of the CTO) speaker series about Datasette and my Dogsheep personal analytics project. You can register for free here—the stream will be on Thursday November 12, 2020 at 8:30am PST (4:30pm GMT). # 23rd October 2020, 3 am

Weeknotes: datasette-dump, sqlite-backup, talks

I spent some time this week digging into Python’s sqlite3 internals. I also gave two talks and recorded a third, due to air at PyGotham in October.

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Better presentations through storytelling and STAR moments

Last week I completed GSBGEN 315: Strategic Communication at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

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Weeknotes: first week of Stanford classes

One of the benefits of the JSK fellowship is that I can take classes and lectures at Stanford, on a somewhat ad-hoc basis (I don’t take exams or earn credits).

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If you’re a little shy at conferences, speaking is The Best way to break the ice. Nobody talks to you before the talk. Everybody want’s to talk to you afterwards, largely because they have a way in. As such, public speaking is bizarrely good for introverts.

Andy Budd # 26th September 2019, 3:15 pm

How I moderated the State of Django panel at DjangoCon US.

On Wednesday last week I moderated the State of Django panel as the closing session for DjangoCon US 2018.

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Notes from my appearance on the Changelog podcast

After I spoke at Zeit Day SF last weekend I sat down with Adam Stacoviak to record a 25 minute segment for episode 296 of the Changelog podcast, talking about Datasette. We covered a lot of ground!

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mendoza-trees-workshop (via) Eventbrite Argentina has an academy program to train new Python/Django developers. I presented a workshop there this morning showing how Django and Jupyter can be used together to iterate on a project. Since the session was primarily about demonstrating Jupyter it was mostly live-coding, but the joy of Jupyter is that at the end of a workshop you can go back and add inline commentary to the notebooks that you used. In putting together the workshop I learned about the django_extensions “/manage.py shell_plus --notebook” command—it’s brilliant! It launches Jupyter in a way that lets you directly import your Django models without having to mess around with DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE. # 8th May 2018, 5:22 pm

What are some tips for improving public speaking skills quickly?

Practice your talk, out loud, in private, as many times as possible before you deliver it. There’s no better way of ensuring you know your material and that you can deliver it at a sensible pace without freezing up.

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What are the most important things to keep in mind when doing a presentation?

Know your material, and don’t speak too fast.

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Presentations: What tools does Patrick Van Stee use to make his slides?

That looks very much like Apple Keynote (used extremely effectively) to me.

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First: I am a first time speaker at a convention (to happen in 2 days time) and I have no experience at all but I believe I can do so can anyone give me tips on how to look confident, engage the audience, inspire them and NOT SUCK...?

Practice your talk, out loud, at the speed you will be delivering it (which should be slower than you normally speak) as many times as possible. After the first few runthroughs, think about ways in which you can improve the talk—things you could communicate more clearly, slides that could be better presented, changes to the order that might help. Then make sure you practice the final version, out loud, at least three times in the exact form you intend to deliver it.

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Why does TED refer to its speeches as “talks”?

I think this reflects a more general trend in the tech conference world which TED emerged from.

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How do I overcome my fear of public speaking (of people just “switching off”, or simply getting up and leaving the room)?

Look for opportunities to give “lightning talks”—5 minute talks given as part of a series of talks. These are excellent for beginner speakers as they help force you to get to the point as quickly as possible, and you only have to survive for five minutes! They are good for the audience too as if they don’t enjoy our talk they only have to sit politely for a couple of minutes before the next talk comes along.

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What’s your opinion on sharing your presentation slides (online for anyone to access) after speaking at an event where eventgoers paid to hear you (and others) speak?

I think sharing slides is almost always the best thing for everyone:

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How long does it usually take you to prepare a presentation?

Damian Conway (one of the best technical presenters I’ve ever seen, who also runs amazing tutorials on giving great talks) says “to produce really top-class presentations, budget at least ten to twenty hours per hour of speaking”.

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What are some tips for a successful Ignite talk?

Practice. All public speaking can be improved by repetitive practice, but this is especially important for ignite talks. The one-slide-every-15-seconds format is extremely unforgiving—if you haven’t nailed it, in private, speaking out loud at a sensible pace there’s no chance you’ll be able to keep up with the slides when you are on stage.

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What are some creative ways to pitch a new initiative to my team without slides?

Use a whiteboard.

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What are those most annoying problems you experience while working on presentations?

Keynote crashing and losing all of my work.

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I have embedded videos in a PowerPoint presentation (using a fix), but now they do not play when I save the file as a .pdf. Any idea how to make this work?

It isn’t possible to embed a video in a PDF file. If you want the embedded video to play you will need to distribute the presentation in the original PowerPoint format.

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Presentations, when’s the best time to give your personal background?

It’s rarely a good idea to include this—usually it adds nothing to the audience’s understanding of presentation, unless you are speaking on a topic that really needs that additional authority (security presentations sometimes benefit from this)—in which case keep it to a couple of sentences, don’t share your entire professional history.

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Does preparing before a presentation actually help one’s presentation?

Yes, in all cases. Not preparing adequately is disrespectful to your audience.

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Hackers: Who is a good speaker or author on hacktivism and/or the recent events of leaking confidential information?

Danny O’Brien comes to mind. He’s worked for the EFF and the Committee to Protect Journalists, is fully immersed in hacker culture and is a fantastic speaker: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dan...

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If I write a blog, then use the same information to create a slideshare presentation, will that help or hurt my website’s SEO?

I would be absolutely amazed if you were hit by a duplicate content penalty for this. To a search engine spider (even a super advanced one) content formatted as a blog post and similar content repurposed as slides will look completely different.

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How do some public speakers memorize so many statistics when speaking on stage?

It’s really not hard. If you’re memorising a complete speech, remembering a few statistics is easy in comparison. Also, the stats you use in a speech should be meaningful (otherwise thy include them at all?) which means the have a built in mnemonic.

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What are the simple ways  to gain more self confidence in public speaking?

Be confident that you understand your subject matter. Practice, out loud, in private, as many times as possible. Have notes in your pocket so you know you can fall back on them if you really need to (you probably won’t, but I find knowing they are there helps with nerves). Then get as much speaking experience as you can. BarCamps / Unconferences are a useful place to get started.

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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.

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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.

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