Okay, so last time I said Jeremy was on .NET Rocks!, Richard just read an email that I sent in. This time, I'm actually on the show (at least for a little bit). For .NET Rocks! #1000, Carl and Richard asked folks to tell them how the show had impacted their career. I sent in my story, and they were nice enough to give me a few minutes to tell my story on the show. You can hear me around the 16:30 mark.
I've been telling folks for a long time how a particular episode gave me the kick in the butt that I needed to get started as a speaker. And after that first time out, I was totally hooked. If you don't believe me, check this article that I wrote in 2011: Meet the Next Code Camp Speaker: You!
I took that first step and spoke at the So Cal Code Camp in January 2010. Since then, I've given over 120 presentations. And I'll keep speaking as long as people keep coming to see me. I love to teach, and I love to watch people learn.
Lots of great things have happened along the way. Microsoft recognized me with an MVP award for Visual C# (2 years so far). I got involved with Pluralsight and produced 6 courses (with more on the way). I've met tons of great people (many of whom I now consider friends), and I've received email from developers around the world.
A Funny Story From the Early Days
Getting started as a speaker isn't easy. You can't just sit around and wait for people to ask you. After my first Code Camp, I was looking for user groups and other places to speak. I was attending my local user group (in Southern California), and the speaker that night ran another group in the area.
During the break, I went up to him and asked if I could get on the speaking calendar for his group. He didn't seem very excited about it, and I can't really blame him -- he didn't know anything about me. But he was nice enough to put me on the calendar 6 months out.
About 3 months later, I was at the Desert Code Camp in Chandler, Arizona. I'd done 3 talks that day, and they had all gone well. At the attendee dinner that night, the user group leader was there, and he had attended one of my presentations. He said, "You're from Southern California, right? Would you be interested in speaking at my group sometime?"
A bit sheepishly, I said, "I'm already on your schedule." And I reminded him that we had met a few months earlier.
So, at first I felt a bit pushy, but then I was invited to speak. That made me feel a lot better.
Try It At Least Once
And if you're interested in speaking, just get started. Code Camps are generally easy to sign up for, and most of them like to give new speakers an opportunity to show their stuff. And if you like it, just talk to people. Now I know most of the user group leaders in my area (and several from outside my area), and it's pretty easy for me to get on someone's schedule. I'm still trying to break into the conference world, but I'm well on my way.
I think that every developer should try it at least once. We all have unique experiences to share with the developer community. And if you find that it's not your thing, at least you tried. But if you do find out you like it, then you might find yourself on an amazing journey.