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  • Writer's picturepriyanka halder

WSC2019: Taking baby step to write speak code awesomely

Updated: May 12, 2021

Week of August 12 was extra difficult for me both personal or professional front. While I started my week with losing my 22 yrs old nephew in a bike accident who was really close to me, to challenging situation work wise. When I told my 3 years old I will be out for 3 days, she bravely said "bye bye mama, I won't cry". I felt super homesick, tired, burnt travelling to SF which is only 1 hr flight away. Anyhow here I am picking up myself to be better at writing, speaking, coding.

A big reason I am here is because Angie Jones was giving various workshops on writing and speaking. And I want to be as good as her oneday. It is also in my professional goal to be better at writing or rather communicating. I did not know what I am getting into when I enrolled in to this conference other than this is the conference that inspired Angie to become world class speaker, writer and developer advocate and I have lot to improve on.

The day started in a beautiful Art Center in San Francisco. I saw bunch of ladies getting lost and having trouble finding the venue door. I just tagged along with them with a hope, now that we are lost in a group we have greater chance of finding the venue. We ultimately found it and the welcome was grand. I got my badge and pins( pronouns/photo permit ). there were interesting tags too. For example, "First time attendee", "Speaker", " I am an expert", " The Boss", " I am a big deal". I attached the First time attendee and very shyly took the "I am the BOSS" and "I am a big deal" tag inside my bag. I plan to put them on my office desk as an ice breaker for newcomers. I quickly collected my goodie bag and moved towards breakfast section. Found bunch of tech ladies from St. Louis, briefly exchanged greetings and moved on to keynote area section.

Fine Art Center, SF Write Speak Code 2019

WSC is my first conference, which is for women/nonbinary/minority. The team of organizer explained the code of conduct beautifully. Also gave us tips, which words to choose from, so its gender neutral. The first keynote was by WSC cofounder Rebecca Miller.I loved her polka dot pant. Shhhh! I l am obsessed about polka dots. Her talk topic was "Write/Speak/Code in 3 Acts". The gist of her talk was failure is part of life and you will always have two way to go either you quit or you come back stronger. She explains in 2014 and 2016 she was unable to organize WSC but when she looked back at the success and love she got from people, she came back stronger and this year the number of attendees is 500 which is groundbreaking. She started with only 35 people in NYC in 2012 and today she has 6 chapters in USA wide and WSC is a non profit organization.

A conference is unfinished without stickers.

The Next keynote was by VP of Engineering , github Dana Lawson and her talk was "How to Present Authentically". I must say I enjoyed her keynote the most, it was funny and very engaging. She explained how her first talk about token ring topology in front of bunch of men years ago made her feel. She felt she was not smart , she sweated to death and hated the whole experience. But today she is one of the best speaker known. She taught us during her keynote that it is very important to ask why am I presenting? What I am trying to convey ? What I want people to learn and leave with from my talk ? We need to get our point across in a clear, concise manner. It was also hilarious to know she hates watching her own talk videos and I have very similar emotion for my own. It has become a secret guilty pleasure for me to watch my worst talk and hate it and then come up with a plan to not repeat the mistakes. Anyways back to WSC, Dana's affirmity to practice and learning to be in the sweet spot where you don't sound rehearsed was spot on and will stay with me forever. Few notes I took during her talk was, keep it simple, move naturally and 80% communication is non verbal and use your face more. And last but not the least is believe "you are awesome"

The third keynote speaker was Liz Fong-Jones, "Maximizing Impact by Navigating Build, Reuse, and Buy Tradeoffs". I did not take any notes from her keynote but her talk instills in us how everybody in the tech world facing same issues and how they should be embracing different solutions and keep user experience top of the priority list. Her talk is a living example for those who thinks what will I talk about? everybody knows everything. When you talk about a topic lot of people know about, it gives them hope and confidence that we are doing the right thing or we might need to do one thing differently. So never get discouraged.

The rest of the day was full fledged writing workshop by Angie Jones and I will write a separate blog post on that. But will you believe that she had made me write this blog during her workshop. I know its not perfect and I have to re read and polish it a bit. But I know I am a procrastination queen and WSC 2019 made me write my 2nd blog post. Hey I think my day went great and I did accomplish what I came to achieve. Off to after party Now. Day 2 here I come ......

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