Saturday, August 30, 2014

Speaking assignment

Sorry for disappearing for a while. I had the opportunity to speak in a conference. The topic – Visualizing Big Data. I spent unreasonable amount of time researching for it. I had a 30 minute slot. Which meant, I didn’t have to speak more than 20 minutes. 3 weeks of after-work research for it was totally not needed.

Most of my knowledge of Visualization I can attribute to 3 individuals – Edward Tufte, Stephen Few and Nathan Yau. If you read their books and follow their blogs, you are pretty much covered as far as “talking” about Visualization is concerned.

Big data is a bigger mess. There is no formal definition for it (or I didn’t find one!). And every company and marketer twists it to their own liking.

This was the first time I was very careful about using attributions in my PowerPoint presentations. All images I used were Creative Commons (and I attributed them using the right convention). I spent a lot of time searching for the “right” images (using Flickr and Google) so that I inadvertently don’t violate any licenses. If you have been confused about proper attribution, I highly recommend reading this link.

So what did I learn? If you are the 4th speaker, people don’t really pay much attention. They are hungry and waiting for food. Most of them are also stuck to their phone or are just staring at you blankly without really listening. Also, as a speaker, it doesn’t matter how much you really understand. It is more important on how much you can simplify and convey your ideas. I still got a long way to go to be a good orator. But I had fun. And now, I am back to my lazy old self.

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