Quotes 'n Notes #9

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So many interesting articles, so little time! Here are a few links to thoughtful posts I stumbled across this week.

What's the best career decision you've ever made?
Ben Halpern, creator of The Practical Dev, presented the question above, and received dozens of replies. It's encouraging when you find other people who went through the same things you're going through, and know they finally made the change you've been considering.

One of the themes repeated over and over is specializing, or finding your niche, which sounds limiting but can actually build you up as an "authority" on a subject. Erik Dietrich wrote a great article specifically about this called, "What It Really Means to Niche Down".

Make me an offer I can't refuse – Writing an abstract for a CFP
I've never given a conference talk before, but I'd like to think I will someday. It's absolutely insane to think of the number of abstracts conference organizers have to wade through though! Lars Klint talks about reviewing 700 in 8 hours. And in the post linked above, Niall Merrigan shares his own experience of 900 in a day!

That's 1.5 abstracts every minute, all day... assuming no breaks to even eat or hit the bathroom. Niall shares some great tips on how to write a killer abstract that maximizes your chances of getting noticed. While you're at it, checkout Troy Hunt's amazing post on 10 presentation anti-patterns... I'd run down this list before giving a talk anywhere.

Suggestions and Tips for attending your first tech conference
Scott Hanselman threw the question out there, what do people do to get the most out of conferences? I've attended a few conferences, and agree with everything on the list... I didn't do everything on the list, but I wish I had.

A big one for me is leaving if the session is not what you thought. The first time, I felt bad for the speaker and sat through it even though it wasn't what I expected at all. Then I realized that (1) hopefully the speaker (or at least more experienced ones) will realize this is a possibility, and (2) you paid for the conference or persuaded your company to pay for you, and you deserve to get the most out of it! Check out the comments too... I feel really bad for the people who say they'll never get to go to a conference because their companies don't value them. What a shame.

Freelance Software Development: Speaking to Your Buyers

"As developers, we’re used to (badly) explaining our value proposition with skills: frameworks, languages, etc. But this is like a contractor telling you that he’s proficient in saw, hammer, pipe, spring, nut, bolt, etc. Who cares? You want someone to come over to fix your garage. The contractor’s value proposition to you is, 'I'll fix your garage door' and not 'here’s all this minutiae I do in my day to day work.' You need to take what you know and love, and find the intersection between that and actual problems that buyers have." ~ Erik Dietrich


Grant Winney

I write when I've got something to share - a personal project, a solution to a difficult problem, or just an idea. We learn by doing and sharing. We've all got something to contribute.

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