Sunday, September 20, 2009

Presenting at Austin GDC 2009, and why Engineers should be Experts.

Last week I had the honor of presenting at Austin Game Developers Conference (GDC) 2009. Out of hundreds of idea submissions many months ago, I was chose to present to game developers on the topic: Lag, The Barrier to Innovation. My presentation was recorded and the slides can be seen/downloaded here. I'll post the audio as soon as its available. Not only was it great fun to present to AGDC 2009, it was extremely fruitful. Engineers take note: you should become known as 'the guy who knows x' (or some might say, 'the expert in x')... it can only help you. In fact, the axiom I tend to follow is: helping others helps yourself.

It wasn't easy to be selected to speak. It took me 4 years of trying. I began submitting ideas to speak at Austin GDC in 2004 (for GDC 2005). At first I just submitted 1 presentation topic. What I learned though is that submitting more than one presentation topic (even if they were related), would allow the selection committee to pick the best, rather than decide 'if' I should present. Once that was known, my task was to get others (selection committee and generally others in the industry) to believe I was a.) an authority on a subject, and b.) a good speaker. So, starting in 2005, I began speaking at smaller conferences, whenever I could. Especially so if they were in my home town of Austin. I also took an active role in my field, developing white papers and commentary on the subject (in my case Lag). I eventually developed friendships with many in the industry and people knew me as an 'exuberant' speaker. While I'd still love to speak at GDC in San Francisco, I'm happy to have gotten to speak at Austin GDC in 2009. Thanks again to the Selection Committee for choosing me to present, it was a blast and an honor.

Here is why you should become a speaker as well:

1.) Its good to give back. If you have gained knowledge through study, research, development, and pain... giving back and helping others to NOT have as much pain, feels good, and is generally good for the community.

2.) Build your network! Without exception, whenever I speak, a line of very interested (and interesting) people form to have a quick chat and exchange business cards. If nothing else, you've got a few new LinkedIn contacts! Sometimes, as with all networking, great things will come in the future from these connections.

3.) Build your cachet. It does not hurt your personal reputation to be the guy who has spoken at XYZ conference. In fact it helps it. Even if your company has NOTHING to benefit from you speaking, do it anyways for your own career future.

There are more reasons of course, including pride, the fun to wear a 'speaker' badge, specific company goals, the cool speaker gifts (this year at GDC Austin 2009, we were given a nice glass with GDC Austin 2009 Speaker on it, and a REALLY cool ice-tray with space invaders on it!).... the list goes on.

A few general thoughts from the show: it was much smaller than last year (THANK GOODNESS)... being smaller it felt less corporate, and more about the developers. It was JUST the right size. The presentations were all EXCELLENT (at least all that I saw)... even Tuesday's Casual Games Summit was well done... awesome even. The Chotsky was weak. (nobody gave out anything cool I could see, got a T-Shirt and a pack of cards... but it's not really the point of the show). I missed the free beer... not sure they did that or not, but they should do that every day. SODA POP SHOULD Be CHEAPER. That's about it. My 2 key learnings were: Over 13,000 Servers to run WoW!!!! and a Viral Coefficient is a way to measure how viral something is:

Viral Coefficient
Vk = V1 x V2 x V3
(building successful apps)
V1 = % of users doing invite over a period.
V2 = Potency (how many invites per user)
V3 = % of people who try based on the invites.

V2 = most important acoording to Facebook...
I have a different view.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Archive