Thursday, March 22, 2012

Lightning Talks at Percona Live MySQL Conference and Expo 2012

Several months ago I suggested having lightning talks at Percona Live MySQL Conference and Expo 2012, and I also offered to help.

Then I forgot about that for a while, until I saw the announcement that there was a call for Lightning Talks. Great! I submitted two proposals, and asked my colleagues to do the same, and also encouraged many good speakers I know to submit something.

The deadline for lightning talks submission passed, and I was told that my offer to help had been accepted, and I was in charge of lightning talks! OK. I would have preferred being told before the CfP, but an offer to help is an offer to help, and thus I went through the motions of evaluating the talks, sending notices to the winners, consoling the losers, and giving hope to the few brave ones who will replace the winners if they don't show up.

The talks that you will see at the conference are in the Lightning Talks page.

Lightning talks are fun and instructional micro events. Their official purpose is to give the audience a chance to learn something in a very limited amount of time. The real purpose is for the speaker to be as entertaining and memorable as possible within the allocated time.

Here are the official rules:

  1. All slides will be loaded into a single computer, to minimize delays between talks
  2. All speakers will meet 15 minutes before the start, and be given the presentation order. Missing speakers will be replaced by reserve speakers
  3. The speaker will have 5 minutes to deliver the talk.
  4. When one minute is left, there will be a light sound to remind of the remaining time.
  5. When 10 seconds are left, most likely the audience will start chanting the countdown.
  6. when the time is finished, the speaker must leave the place to the next one.

For this to be real fun, there must be some cooperation from the audience. Rule #5 is often a spontaneous behavior from the crowd. It's very effective to make the speaker hurry up and close.

If rule #6 were to be enforced in style, there would be a tele-transporter that is triggered at the last second, and the too-slow speaker is instantly moved to the parking lot. My contact at the Star Trek labs tells me that the appliance is not available yet. We'll see if there is an app for that …

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