Speaker of the Month, August 2013

Home / Professional Development / Speaker of the Month, August 2013

I’m trying out a new blog post series, mostly for myself as an exercise. I’m going to pick one speaker each month that I’ve seen present recently and tell you what I thought of them. Now, don’t panic. If you stunk up the place, I won’t abuse you… by name. Kidding. This is going to be endlessly positive and supportive. I’ll try to find places where you can go to see these speakers in the future, if I can (Lanyrd.com people). If not, maybe they’ll notice this post and tell us themselves.

For those interested in getting picked, don’t bother me. This is arbitrary & random. However, be sure that you have a blog (or equivalent) that I can direct people to or I’ll skip over you. If you don’t get picked, no whining (or whinging for my UK family).

My¬†first speaker is someone that I saw present for the first time just a week ago. I was attending SQL Saturday Sacramento. I had finished helping, in my ineffectual way, to set up the Red Gate table there and had an hour before my first session. I noticed a topic that I’m always interested in, Want a Promotion? It’s Up To You. It was being put on by one of the organizers of the event, Mitchell Bottel (b|t).

Mitch put on a great session. His basic premise is that if you want to step up to the next level in your career, yeah, you need to learn technology and what-not, but even more, you need to build your social network. His approach was extremely positive. It almost exclusively a listing of things you should do and why you should do them. His presentation style was very open, friendly, soft and careful. He didn’t rush or get excited, but was clearly passionate about his topic. Further, he seemed pretty knowledgeable about it too. The slides were mostly just bullet points, but Mitch didn’t read from them, but used them appropriately as place holders for the points he was trying to make. The best part though was when he more or less dove into the audience and started demonstrating hand shake techniques and had the audience do it too. He also made all the geeks in the room completely uncomfortable by asking us to look each other in the eye for a slow count of 5. Marvelous stuff. Mitch told me later that his favorite part of the presentation was making people discomfited. I like this guy!

He presented with small, sly humor and it worked very well. I can only offer up a few small criticisms. First, he needs to update some of his technology references (MySpace? Really? I don’t think so). He has references and links, but I didn’t see (or don’t remember) that he had these at a simple, easy to find, location, other than the slide deck. Finally, maybe a little more spice in the deck. He had pictures & stuff, but there was a lot to read. Some people like that, but I’m not a fan. In short, nits. It was a great presentation.

I had a good time, learned a few things, and enjoyed the experience. Thanks Mitch!

I’m not sure where Mitch is speaking next. I didn’t see anything on his blog and a Bingle search didn’t turn up any future events.


OK, fine, but what do you think?