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    The audience loved my talk but I didn't

    You know that line from 8 Mile about weak arms and spaghetti, right?

    His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy There's vomit on his sweater already, mom's spaghetti He's nervous, but on the surface he looks calm and ready To drop bombs, but he keeps on forgettin' What he wrote down, the whole crowd goes so loud

    That's what it felt like walking on stage at React Summit 2022. It wasn't the opportunity of a lifetime, I don't believe in those, but the room was big and the people were many.

    That room was packed. No empty seats. And I realized the night before that I was the first speaker. The only speaker all day that didn't have a parallel track going.

    My heart rate walking on stage was 124. I checked.

    Performing for an audience starts with a rush of adrenaline, settles into a flow, and by the end you're so relaxed you could take a nap. Giving talks is easy after all – you just go up there and bleed.

    Those are the best talks. When you have something to say.

    The audience loved it

    Minho™ 👨🏾‍💻 avatarMinho™ 👨🏾‍💻@elmeerr
    an amazing talk about refactoring @Swizec, strangler pattern is the way #ReactSummit

    The premise of my talk was that You Do Have Time to Build it Twice. Growing companies have an expanding time horizon where you will have time to rewrite your code later.

    Because you can leverage your poor solution into better understanding, more resources, and a bigger team. Then you get to build it right.

    The audience loved that.

    Basti avatarBasti@bwalkdev
    “If you don’t have time to build it right, when will you have time to build it twice”
    Nice Talk from @Swizec at @ReactSummit
    Tweet media
    Marcel Cutts avatarMarcel Cutts@marcelcutts
    Teaching us the art of rewriting apps with users banging down the door (as well as techniques for kicking a can into the stratosphere) is the wonderful
    @Swizec #ReactSummit
    Tweet mediaTweet mediaTweet mediaTweet media
    Miroslav Jonas @meeroslav@hachyderm.io avatarMiroslav Jonas @meeroslav@hachyderm.io@meeroslav
    “If you don’t have time to build it right, when will you have time to build it twice”

    A nice reminder by @Swizec at @ReactSummit
    Tweet media

    Several people came up later and said they felt seen by my talk. Identified with everything I said.

    People felt validated in their choices and were happy to hear they aren't the only ones going through this. They liked the part where I said you can pull this off and the rewrite pays for itself and more.

    Stephan Meijer avatarStephan Meijer@meijer_s
    Same line of thought: "either you get it done, or it doesn't matter" - @Swizec at #ReactSummit, but also me and many others before. Great talk, really resonates with me.

    David even made these fantastic sketchy notes 😍

    The points people got

    The best you can do in a talk is share one insight that people remember. And 2 supporting points that stick in your brain.

    That part worked.

    Michael Mok 🇺🇦🇭🇰 avatarMichael Mok 🇺🇦🇭🇰@pmmmwh
    We have time to build it … twice … maybe in the magic realm of “later”?

    #ReactSummit
    @Swizec @ReactSummit
    Tweet media
    Christian Jöcker avatarChristian Jöcker@JockerDev
    @Swizec love this graph 😍📈
    I will use it for talking to my product owner and junior devs at the beginning of the projects
    Tweet media
    PricemoovEng avatarPricemoovEng@PricemoovEng
    “Writing software is like kicking a can” - @Swizec. Breaking objectives down into small chunks always makes improving your project that much easier #ReactSummit #codingisfun #Agility
    Tweet media

    Everyone loved my Writing Software is like Kicking a Can. Evocative, shareable, quick to grok. The stuff thinkfluencer careers are made of.

    I think it wasn't my best talk

    Truth is I'm not happy with this talk.

    The hook wasn't great. How you start a talk (or email, or book, or anything) is crucial. You have to draw the audience in. Spark their curiosity and engage the brain.

    My hook was that "If you don't have time to build it right, when will you have time to build it twice?" quote. I changed it 20 minutes before the talk from the hook being this tweet:

    Swizec Teller writing a book you’ll wanna read avatarSwizec Teller writing a book you’ll wanna read@Swizec
    And yes that means someone chose jQuery as their stack in ~2019, built a company to series A, raised $23,000,000, then hired professionals to come fix it and enable faster growth.

    You know once they proved it was worth fixing and growing.

    Now here we are, a $600mio company

    And then I dropped that tweet's slide from the talk because the whole talk felt too me-focused. Kinda like this post.

    You should write You Focused Emails. And talks. And books. And everything.

    Nobody cares about Swizec's story. You care about your story. My story only matters in so much as it creates an example for you to learn from.

    Dropping that tweet from my talk created a lack of context that I didn't replace. Lots of people were confused about how jQuery and React and Swizec interact in the story.

    You can tell what's confusing by the questions people ask later.

    All day I was answering variations of these questions:

    • why jQuery tho
    • how did React increase velocity
    • what else on top of React did you do
    • are there approaches to rewrites that don't work

    And the kicker is that I can talk your ear off for days about all of those. But they should've been slides in my talk. There was time.

    With a little refactoring this can be a great talk. Next time!

    People remember how you made them feel, not what you said

    Make them feel good my friend.

    Cheers,
    ~Swizec

    PS: did you know nerves and excitement feel the same in your body? High heart rate, sweaty palms, mom's spaghetti. The difference is how you interpret the situation.

    PPS: you can watch the talk here

    Did you enjoy this article?

    Published on June 24th, 2022 in Learnings, Life, Conferences, Talks,

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    Have a burning question that you think I can answer? Hit me up on twitter and I'll do my best.

    Who am I and who do I help? I'm Swizec Teller and I turn coders into engineers with "Raw and honest from the heart!" writing. No bullshit. Real insights into the career and skills of a modern software engineer.

    Want to become a true senior engineer? Take ownership, have autonomy, and be a force multiplier on your team. The Senior Engineer Mindset ebook can help 👉 swizec.com/senior-mindset. These are the shifts in mindset that unlocked my career.

    Curious about Serverless and the modern backend? Check out Serverless Handbook, for frontend engineers 👉 ServerlessHandbook.dev

    Want to Stop copy pasting D3 examples and create data visualizations of your own? Learn how to build scalable dataviz React components your whole team can understand with React for Data Visualization

    Want to get my best emails on JavaScript, React, Serverless, Fullstack Web, or Indie Hacking? Check out swizec.com/collections

    Want to brush up on modern JavaScript syntax? Check out my interactive cheatsheet: es6cheatsheet.com

    Did someone amazing share this letter with you? Wonderful! You can sign up for my weekly letters for software engineers on their path to greatness, here: swizec.com/blog

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    By the way, just in case no one has told you it yet today: I love and appreciate you for who you are ❤️

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