On Mon, Jan 5, 2009 at 1:21 PM, Josh Berkus <josh(at)agliodbs(dot)com> wrote:
> I attended a number of industry conferencences for Sun (Sun, Oracle, IBM,
> various Java companies). And I can tell you, I would *never* in a million
> years have paid to sit in one single presentation I attended. Even when the
> subject matter was personally interesting to me, the presentation style was
> like waiting for pitch to drip. And, looking around, 90% of the attendees
> were doing their e-mail and never even looked at the speaker.
If you wouldn't have paid to be in a presentation that was interesting to
you, why would you go to the conference at all? Going as a representative
of a company who has sponsored the conference is different than someone
paying to attend. Which viewpoint are you representing?
> Standardized slide templates contributed significantly to the boredom.
> "What presentation am I in again? Is this Scaling J2EE Servers, or Web
> Security? Haven't I seen this slide before?"
IMO, that's completely bogus. If you don't know what presentation you're
in, or why you attended it, that's a whole other problem altogether. No one
puts the title of their session on every slide, so the basis of your
argument, that the slides themselves help you determine which presentation
you're in, seems bogus to me.
I successfully fought the JavaOne committee last year *not* to use the
> JavaOne template because it interfered with my delivery. The result? My
> presentation was voted #2 or #3 in the conference overall (out of > 200),
> even though it had no real Java content.
Hmm, seems like too many variables there to me. Am I correct in saying that
you attribute your success solely to your slide deck and not your delivery,
questions answered, etc.?
> OSCON, the hardest-to-get-into OSS conference in the English speaking
> world, offers "OSCON" slide templates. But we don't force or even harass
> people to use them; we prefer speakers with their own distinctive style.
Have you seen some of the PG presentations? I recall two or three at PGCon
last year which were difficult to read due to colors and/or too much text on
a single slide. If you were at the back of the room, you were screwed.
Now, could someone jam way too much text into a standardized slide? Sure.
But, it's going to be a bit more obvious that you're doing something wrong
when your slides stop looking like the templates (such as 15 bullets at a
font size of 8pt instead of 5 or so at a font size of 14pt).
> It's my assertion that people who promote the use of standard slide
> templates do so because they don't know how to put together a good
> presentation themselves. Heck, some really good presentations use *no
> slides at all*.
That assertion is blatantly false because it's not the presenters who
promote the use of templates, it's the conference organizers. It all comes
down to the experience of the presenter and whether or not they know how to
give a good presentation. Standardized slides are there to promote the
conference itself (as all future references to conference material have the
conference name all over it) and to help presenters focus more on the
content than on designing their slides, which is what most people are there
I don't really care about this topic one way or another, just that most
arguments against standardization seem to be preference-related and without
much logic. While the choice lies in the hands of the PGCon organizers, it
probably wouldn't hurt for JD to put up another poll like he did for PG East
Jonah H. Harris, Senior DBA
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