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Friday, March 30, 2012

My SAO Ignite Presentation

A couple of weeks ago I gave an Ignite presentation for the SAO Ignite v2 event.  I've been to Ignite events before, but this was my first time up on stage.  I had a great time putting together the presentation, and the event itself was fantastic.  It's quite a challenge to condense a topic into 5 minutes with slides auto-advancing every 15 seconds!

The Story

I wanted to create a presentation that was more of a story than a typical slide show.  I've created many technical presentations in the past, but I really wanted to just tell a story for this.  My topic was around the fun ongoing project I've been working on with Schoolhouse Supplies, a local non-profit dedicated to providing school supplies to kids in need.

The message I wanted to get across was:
  1. Background on this fun project I created (Schoolhouse Supplies Online) to leverage the talents of the non-profit to sell supplies to parents who can afford it, thus providing a revenue stream for the organization, and offering an opportunity to reach out to more potential volunteers and donors.
  2. How it has made a difference to the organization, and to our community.
  3. And hopefully inspire others to get involved.  There are many great opportunities out there for folks to use their tech ninja skills and ideas, and make a difference in our world.

The Slides

I did something I've never done before when preparing the slides.  I wrote my story first.  Just the story.  Text.  No pictures.  No keynote or powerpoint.  Just the story.  I edited it, read it aloud, edited it, etc.  Trying to get everything I wanted to say into 5 minutes.

I then went back through and started timing individual 15 second segments, breaking up the story into a couple of sentences at a time.  When it comes down to it, you really only get a couple of sentences per slide.  It's not a lot!

I then started looking for pictures.  I didn't want bullets.  Just pictures to support the story.  Finding photos to use that are licensed for public use can be a bit of a challenge, but Flickr pulled through nicely.

The Presentation

I've been working on this project for six years now, so I know it well.  The story was easy to tell as I've told it many times over the years.  The challenge was that I've told the story so many different ways over the years that I couldn't stay on track when practicing with the slides that I had submitted.  Every time I went through it, I was using different examples and anecdotes, and I was starting to get worried I wouldn't make it through!

After practicing it through, probably 20 times on the day of the event, I finally got it down.  I'm pretty happy with how it all turned out.

Many thanks to the SAO staff for putting together a great event.

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