DrupalSouth was in Gold Coast in the "Sunshine State" this year and Backdrop was invited to present. Being a member of the PMC residing in Australia, I was asked if I could do the presentation and I gladly accepted. It was my first Drupal event ever and also my first presentation in front of an audience, so I was really stressed. That not being enough, I managed to miss my flight, and when I finally got there my backpack with my laptop and the presentation slides was lost. Great start, right?
My backpack was eventually found and retrieved and luckily my presentation was during the second day. Why luckily? Because that gave me some time to adapt my presentation slides. Why adapt? Hmm ...you see, during the first day, I was issued a lanyard which stated that I was a speaker. So, naturally, when meeting various people attending the event, I got asked what I was to present. And after I told people that I was there to talk about Backdrop, there were basically two sorts of reactions: either the "Backdrop? What is that?" reaction, or the "Aah yes, ...Backdrop!" reaction. Basically, after explaining what backdrop is to the people that have never heard about our Project, I was getting the same reaction as the one from the people that knew about us. Hmm. All sorts of rather awkward questions followed, but I have to admit it was in a polite and friendly manner. Still, they were enough to make me think that adding this to my slides was in order:
That made people laugh and that in turn helped me overcome most of the first presentation stress.
The truth is that there was another reason why I was stressed. You see, my life and work obligations did not permit preparing a proper presentation. Besides, I thought that I'd have time to quickly put something together after arriving early in Gold Coast (did not foresee missing my flight) and I would also have a whole day because my presentation was on the second day of the event (did not foresee that I would actually be without a laptop). So, for the most part, my presentation was a live demo of a Backdrop installation showcasing the various features we've added compared to Drupal 7. That was enough indeed, so I just went with the flow and I like to think that it went well ...or at least it could have gone worse.
I also could not help but adding a "fun" section at the end of the presentation. It might have initially seemed unrelated, but I think it helped me make a point. Here's a link to the entire presentation.
There were quite a few curious people that approached me after the presentation and I had some interesting discussions with them. In general, I was very impressed by the entire event. I got to meet some very interesting people and to attend some very insightful presentations. There was also a party after the first day. Now, I am not much of a party person, but there were far less people attending the keynote next morning, so I'm assuming that it must have been much fun for others. I'm looking forward to the next DrupalSouth happening in Auckland, New Zealand next year and I hope that I'll be able to attend.