Did I ever spend hours on a presentation? And my own money on traveling for this talk? On top of that vacation leave? Yes, I did.
When I talked about it with other speakers, it did not get even better: astonishment or silence.
I paid to speak.
In the second year of this century I was a volunteer at the European Juggling Convention in Rotterdam. This low budget convention needed volunteers to break even. So I paid for the convention and spent hours to help the organisation. Afterwards they paid any costs I made including the convention ticket. My badge of honour was and is the crew T shirt.
Being invited to speak at a test conference is considered an honour between testers. An invisible, but mentionable badge: I got congratulations. On a conference people shook my hand and wished me success with my talk.
There are several privileges for being a speaker. And still recognition in words may not be enough. Bills have to be paid. I was never hired, because I was a great speaker. Or an engaging blogger.
In 2015 Eindhoven University of Technology introduced the Nanny Fund to pay costs for children of employees attending conferences.
This year I changed my lifetime goal to give a half day tutorial on a specific test conference. I am still grateful for writing all my refused proposals. I learned to make better ones, My employer will cover some conferences and trainings, but as a born Dutchman I had to look at the costs.
This bold move was possible thanks to Maaret Pyhärjärvi, who made a spreadsheet. It is an overview of costs being paid by the conferences.
The next step was to look at delegate reports. What makes this conference great? How is the atmosphere? Can I learn there something useful? Do they share the same humour?
Basically where is all the fun?
This year Eurotesting Conference will cover the travelling costs of a first time speaker to a major test conference.
During my holiday I was challenged. Just search on #30daysoftesting on Twitter. For one task I had to find an inspiring quote. That was difficult. I could browse blogs and books from famous testers, but that would probably not lead to a unique quote.
I still had a free pdf of Derek Sivers about attracting people as a professional musician. There were advises, which could easily be adopted by testers:
“If you don’t say what you sound like, you won’t make any fans.”
“Know who you are, and have the confidence that somewhere out there, there’s a little niche of people that would like your kind of music.”
Then I used the following quote:
“Every contact with the people around your music (fans and industry) is an extension of your art.”
A month later I was writing a proposal for a workshop for TestBash Netherlands. I was questioned to describe myself. Normally I would use a lot of credentials. I remembered my Twittered quote. Now I used humour to convince the program committee.
In August I got the news, that my half day workshop was accepted for TestBash. My adjusted life goal was sooner than I thought. And a bigger challenge than I had anticipated. Some Huib used the word awesome to describe the line up.
This year EuroTesting conference interviewed every speaker, who had sent a proposal.
A week after the announcement of TestBash on the web I met Huib Schoots, the program chair. He asked:
“Did you see the program?”
“Yes, you were not on the list.” I replied.
The fun had started.