I’m witting this at the airport after taking a short trip to Kyiv for an AWS DevDays. It was part of our DevDays event series, and they happen all over the globe, but this was different as it was the first time I’d been to Kyiv and this was only the second time we’d held an AWS event in Kyiv.

Registration at the event

I saw talks from Alex Casalboni and Julien Simon, and in the morning, I was the warm-up that introduced Massimo Re Ferre with his excellent container talk.  The quality of talks at this event was incredible.

I loved what I saw of Kyiv, I’m not sure what I was expecting, but its one of those places that surprised me, something about the friendliness of the people and richness of the history gave me a positive impression. Next time I plan to have a bit more time either side of the event so that I can see more of the city and, if I have time, the country too.

Provectus sponsored the event and were heavily involved in organising the event and making it such a success. I hope the event happens next year, and if they do, I hope the Provectus team are involved because I found they brought a real vibrancy to the event.

I had three talks at the event on PowerShell, Real-time and .net on AWS. All seemed to go well and judging by the feedback scores I was pretty happy with how it went.

One of the things I like about AWS events is that they always ask for feedback, either through an app or via an email after the event. I think the Provectus team conducted this one as it was using a different tool to the one that our marketing team use.

If you ever speak at an event, ask for the feedback scores, you’d be surprised about how they can help improve a talk over time. It can be challenging to read them some time (particularly if you have given a lousy talk), but it’s critical to writing better talks. Often you only have to make small changes to change the way an audience feels about a speech.

I had my worst demo fail ever in the Realtime talk I gave. Just before I went on stage, I decided to use a video of one of the demos rather than do the demo live (I sometimes do this if I want to take a bit of pressure off a talk or if a demo failed in rehearsal) Usually this works great. I’m well practised speaking over videos, and many people often think that I’m doing the demo live. Just before I go on stage, I will unhide a slide that contains the video, and this is precisely what I did in my last talk of the day in Kyiv.

It wasn’t until 40 seconds into the video that I realised that I had made a mistake. At some stage I must have copied the wrong video into my slide deck, it was the right demo, but it was a video I made during my rehearsal in which the demo had failed: yep that is right, I managed to have a demo failure with a recorded demo.  While this was extremely embarrassing, I felt the audience saw the funny side of it and luckily got behind me.

If all fails. Laugh

Other than my considerable mistake, I loved the event, the food, the organisation and most importantly, the people and the incredible quality of the questions.

I am looking forward to the next event in Kyiv.