Belated Review of PHP Tour Luxembourg
Much to my delight, I was selected to speak at PHP Tour Luxembourg this year! This event was special as it was the very first time AFUP threw an event outside of France. Luxembourg itself was quite lovely and of all the places I've been since I've started speaking abroad it is place I've wished the most I could have had my family with me.
I didn't see too many other talks but I was still able to meet up with a bunch of people. Not only did I see some friendly faces I've met over the last year but I met a few new people as well.
There was a lot of buzz around the upcoming Forum PHP so that was exciting to see! It sounds like the AFUP has some big plans to help celebrate PHP passing the 20 year milestone!
One thing that was difficult for me was the walking distance between the hotel and the conference venue. The walk itself was amazing but I'm a little uncomfortable if I have to regularly walk 15-20 minutes between "safe places." Nothing bad happened, but it was on my mind a lot.
The reception for my talk was pretty disappointing. Over the course of two weeks I was going to have to deliver two brand new talks, one brand new tutorial, and a tutorial I've given in the past. For PHP Tour I was giving one of my new talks.
The theme for PHP Tour was, "PHP in the clouds," and I've been making an effort to try and be more intentional with the talks I submit to conferences. It can be easy to fall into the trap of submitting all the things for all the conferences, but that gets dull and boring and it doesn't make a lot of sense to do so all the time.
I've been pitching a talk on Hawk for quite some time. I almost gave up on giving it but threw it out there one last time. Of all the talks I had in my arsenal, the Hawk talk seemed to be the best fit as it was aimed squarely at authentication and security for API's which are very much relevant to the cloud.
I was happy with how the talk turned out. I thought the slides were great and I thought the timing worked reasonably well. During delivery I stumbled through saying H-T-T-P a few times but I attribute that as much to fighting jet-lag as anything else. I had some questions at the end that I felt were relevant and helped add to the discussion so I thought things went well.
Then came the joind.in reviews. Based on those this was by far my worst presentation. Ever. I was shocked at first but took the criticism to heart and reevaluated the talk again. I reached out to a few of the commenters to get more feedback and talked to other people I knew in the audience who hadn't left feedback on joind.in for personal face-to-face feedback.
There were a few things I took away from the evaluation.
The first was that I hadn't set the right expectations for what attendees were going to get out of the talk. What I delivered was a breakdown of the protocol itself and what they were looking for was practical applications.
The second was that I overestimated the knowledge required to follow what I was sharing. That coupled with the fact that people were not expecting a breakdown of the protocol led to people not being sure what they were seeing or why they should care.
It was a great experience for me. It is never easy when a talk fails so horribly but I don't think it is all lost if you are able to take something from the experience to help you in the future.
I like how the AFUP is trying to expand their reach and range a bit. There were still a lot of talks in French but it looks like they invited a nice number of English speakers as well. I hope they'll have me back again sometime in the future!