Earlier this month I spent a week in Maui. The first part of the week was spent checking out the island and several amazing places to eat. But the end of the week, and the actual reason I was in Maui to begin with was spent at WordCamp Maui. Tough place to have to go to a conference, right? Yeah, I suffered through.
I was asked to speak at the event, which was exciting. I love presenting at conferences, and if I'm going to make the effort to travel for an event, I may as well be speaking at it.
But this was a little different. I wasn't asked to prepare anything. Instead, I was going to be the first in a day-long series of interviews with Chris Lema.
So, let me get this straight, you want me to come to Maui, you want me to present AND I don't have to prepare anything ahead of time? Oh, hell yes!
In the interview, Chris asks a bunch of questions about how my company, 9seeds, navigated the waters of being a service business and yet still finding the time to write, release and support products. Here's the video of the interview if you want to check it out.
This is my second time speaking at a WordCamp where the format was more of a conversation than what I would call a ‘standard' presentation format. You know the ones; PowerPoint slides, person at a podium reading the PowerPoint slides. I have to tell you, this is quickly becoming my favorite type of session. Not only to be a part of, but also my favorite type to watch.
Let's get personal
In December I chatted on stage with Dre Armeda about business, work/life balance and fitness. My chat with Chris Lema was about business, services and products. Easily two of my favorite presentations I've been a part of. In both presentations I felt that I was able to share far more information when I wasn't worried about following the script I had written for the presentation, and instead just spoke from the heart.
I mentioned in a previous post that my session with Dre was the catalyst for my new podcast; Hawk Talk. I had been looking for a format, and that session was a lightbulb moment. I knew instantly that this was the same format I wanted for my show.
After my session was finished, I sat in the audience and listened to the rest of interview style presentations. I was riveted. I honestly can't recall a WordCamp where I sat in as many sessions as I did in Maui.
Don't get me wrong, presentations are great. I've seen dozens that I found extremely informative. But I don't know that I've had the same connection to a presentation as I had listening to the personal stories of people I know and respect in our community.
I hope other WordCamps take notice.
Side note, at the time of this writing, my presentation is the only video from WordCamp Maui that's currently available on WordPress.TV. But, check back over the next few days and you'll be able to find the other interviews and presentations from the event.