My buddy Andy Warren over at End2End put up an interesting blog about what drives people to speak at community events. I thought I would share my own story here.
The first time I spoke it was about increasing my own knowledge of the product. If you can teach it, you’re a master of it so the saying goes. Teaching has forced me to stay sharper and more on top of my game (less complacent) than I would otherwise be.
Andy surmises that some people speak to do de-facto networking. I will vouch for this – I have had many great discussions with people who’ve attended my sessions asking about future projects or my thoughts on a topic. He also talks about the couple guys who just love contributing to the community – and there are a few of them out there, with the key word being few. Some people just love giving something to others and speaking about technology is a form of community service, if you will.
I can say from personal experience the sheer amount of events in the state of FL is starting to become overwhelming. The code camp circuit has recently expanded to add Southwest Florida (now totaling 6), with 4 SQL Saturday events per year. Add to the local user groups who need speakers, and by the end of the year I will have spoken in Tampa twice, Jacksonville twice, Tallahassee twice, Orlando three times, Miami, and Naples. That’s a lot of money spent on travel but IMO it’s worth every penny. My primary concern about the high number of events is speaker fatigue – most of us are either working schleps in one way or another and have to give up what little free time we have to give back to the community. It’s worth it for now – but if there are another layer of events added I will have to pick and choose which ones provide the best forums for both myself and my audience.