Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year Resolution: Be a public speaker

When we think of presentations, we often think of slides after slides of bullet points. A few years ago I attended a talk by Prof Lawrence Lessig, which was more like a performance than a presentation. Each slide only has one word or image on it, perfectly timed to emphasize a point.

After the eye-opening talk, I was inspired to do more public speaking myself, to practice the art of speaking. But like most good intentions, I didn't really do anything about it. And here comes the new year, when people dig out the goals of yesteryear and vow to make it happen. So I decided to try the age-old tradition of New Year Resolution. Here is my goal for 2012:

Give 5 lightning talks and 3 full-length lectures.

I am keeping a close eye on public speaking opportunities, but as a newcomer I could really use your help. Shoot me a note when you hear about an upcoming meetup or conference who is looking for speakers. What kind of topics? Glad that you asked. Here is a laundry list:


I started working on Android when I was at Google, on the Google Maps for Mobile team. I can speak on a wide range of topics, from beginner tutorials to advanced tips and tricks. Here are some examples:

  • Layout by xml and code
  • Notification mechanisms: Toast, Dialog, status bar notification and more
  • Persisting data: bundles, sqlite database, sdcard etc
  • Geolocation: getting and using the device location
  • Custom components: measuring, drawing, updating
  • App to app communications: intents, content providers, broadcast receivers etc
  • In-depth adb: testing intents, listing packages, querying system state etc
  • Instrumentation testing

Career Development

During my tenure at Google I was involved with various mentoring efforts. I can share practical tips on:

  • Gaining visibility while staying authentic
  • Negotiation as a habit
  • Getting the most of out networking

Coding for fun and profit

I code as my profession, but I also like to write small programs to play with different technologies. I can share my experience with what I call "hacking on the side".

  • Hackathons tips and tricks
  • Power your application with Freebase
  • Offline app with HTML5 cache manifest and local storage

The media is abuzz with tips and tricks for keeping new year resolutions. Making it public seems to be the number one factor to make it stick. For my goal, it makes perfect sense. After all, I'm trying to be a public speaker. Plus, I get to enlist all of you to help! Next time you hear about an event, think of me, and let me know if you think I should speak there.


Inline coding questions will not be answsered. Instead, ask on StackOverflow and put the link in the comment.

  1. Awesome! I outta get my topic list together too! With all this, I think you'll definitely achieve your goal.

  2. Looking forward to your topic list, Pam!

    Larry, I totally forgot about gaming and puzzles! Need to come up with a topic... maybe I can speak about solving puzzles as a non-American?

  3. Going to present at She's Geeky?

    How about Silicon Valley CodeCamp?

    Since there's hackathon stuff, maybe OSCON?

  4. Thanks for the suggestions, Jessica!

    Funny thing, She's Geeky is on the same weekend as the GC Summit suggested by Larry! I'm still trying to decide which event to go to.

    CodeComp looks interesting. I'll keep an eye on it.

    Oh, OSCON is accepting session proposals until Jan 12! Let me browse through the schedule from last year and see if I think of something to share...

  5. You're welcome!

    You could maybe do GC Summit and She's Geeky. She's Geeky is Friday-Sunday and do offer one day passes. :)

  6. You're right! Maybe I'll go to She's Geeky just for a day on Friday.

    And this morning I submitted my session proposal to OSCON, thanks to your suggestion! Fingers crossed :)