Personal Speaking

My experience from Fronteers, JSConf EU, Frontend and FromTheFront

This month has been very busy conference-wise. I had 4 conferences in a row, so I was flying from country to country and giving talks for 2 weeks. As I usually do after conferences, this post sums up my experiences and feedback I got from these conferences, in chronological order.


This was a rather low-budget Italian conference that took place in Cesena, a city near Bologna. Despite the extremely low ticket price, they managed to pull off a very decent one day conference, which is very admirable. Italian food is so good that I’d recommend visiting this country even if it’s just for the food! They were very nice hosts, and I thoroughly enjoyed my time there.

My talk was right after Jeremy Keith‘s, who is a very well-known and experienced speaker that knows how to make audiences delirious (in a good way), so I was naturally a bit nervous about the unavoidable comparison. Despite my fears, my talk was very well received. Here’s a sample of the twitter feedback I got:

[blackbirdpie url=”!/cedmax/status/119499350039740416″]
[blackbirdpie url=”!/caludio/status/119500241358696448″]
[blackbirdpie url=”!/andypanix/status/119502579943223296″]
[blackbirdpie url=”!/verlok/status/119511814827556864″]
[blackbirdpie url=”!/fburatti/status/119512158500433921″]
[blackbirdpie url=”!/Facens/status/119513991616794624″]
[blackbirdpie url=”!/matteocollina/status/119506533548699648″]


Next stop was Berlin and JSConf’s European sister conference. This was one of the most well organized conferences I’ve been to: The food, the coffee, the afterparties, the wifi, the projectors, everything was top notch. Also, it had a get-together the day after the conference (called “hangover.js”) which I think is great and more conferences should start adopting this tradition. It eases the pain of the conference being over and you get to say goodbye to a few folks you weren’t able to catch at the afterparty. It also featured many cool ideas, like a gal drawing live visualizations of the talks (Here’s mine) and a singer to open the conference in the first day singing a song to …Brendan Eich (!). I made new friends, had lots of fun and everything was awesome.

I was a bit more nervous about my talk for two reasons: Firstly, it was my first JavaScript talk, and secondly, it had no live demos like my CSS talks, which is a big part of why people like them. It went much better than I expected, and I got very good feedback and even though I went hugely overtime (I had 30 minutes and did 55!) nobody complained. Thankfully, it was right before lunch so I didn’t eat up another speaker’s time (which is part of the reason I love the pre-lunch spot so much).  I didn’t get the super-enthusiastic feedback I get from my CSS talks, but it was good enough to not be disappointed. Here’s a sample:

[blackbirdpie url=”!/codepo8/status/120450328318590976″]
[blackbirdpie url=”!/WebReflection/status/120457934152007680″]
[blackbirdpie url=”!/nddrylliog/status/120457956830621696″]
[blackbirdpie url=”!/cramforce/status/120459076604928000″]
[blackbirdpie url=”!/wpbasti/status/120462654316883968″]
[blackbirdpie url=”!/claudiopro/status/120465480380203008″]
[blackbirdpie url=”!/VeganBen/status/120466919001300992″]
[blackbirdpie url=”!/nddrylliog/status/120469327110619137″]

You can find my slides on Speakerdeck , Slideshare or the HTML version on my website.


I was looking forward to Fronteers the most, since it’s my favorite conference. It might not be the one with the most money or the biggest, but it has a special place in my heart for a number of different reasons (not all of which I can write in a public blog post). It was the first international conference I ever attended (in 2010) and I’ve met there so many people I used to only know (and admire) as a name & avatar before. It’s the conference I’ve had the most fun at, in both years I’ve been there. Everyone, the volunteers, the attendees, the speakers, everyone is awesome. There is something magic about this conference, as most of its speakers and attendees think about it in the same way (Christian Heilmann for example calls it “his special conference” and he goes to A LOT of conferences). It doesn’t just feel like a professional conference, it feels like a big, loving, open, web development family that gets together once a year to celebrate the advances in our field.

But this time, I wasn’t just an attendee. I wasn’t a regular speaker either. I was also hosting a workshop, my first full day workshop. I was super stressed about that, and in retrospect, it was the most exhausting thing I have ever done. Some other speakers told me it felt so exhausting because it was my first, I really hope they’re right. Luckily, attendees loved it, and they didn’t seem to notice my progressively getting tired after the 4th hour. Here’s some of the feedback I got:

[blackbirdpie url=”!/flyingpinguin/status/121507980964409346″]
[blackbirdpie url=”!/V_v_V/status/121511282758258688″]
[blackbirdpie url=”!/Jessman5/status/121519177977708547″]
[blackbirdpie url=”!/tforza/status/121524521709744128″]
[blackbirdpie url=”!/ronderksen/status/121531111665971200″]

My talk was the next day, and even though I was afraid it would be bad due to being tired from the workshop and the pre-party, I think it was my best talk ever. I was much more relaxed, and I got the most enthusiastic feedback I ever have. My hand literally got tired favoriting tweets, and I’m pretty sure I missed some. Here’s a small sample:
[blackbirdpie url=”!/smashingmag/status/121881600366608384″]
[blackbirdpie url=”!/ldebrouwer/status/121881926587002881″]
[blackbirdpie url=”!/wnas/status/121882159756750848″]
[blackbirdpie url=”!/FronteersConf/status/121883462251720704″]
[blackbirdpie url=”!/ldebrouwer/status/121884227083042816″]
[blackbirdpie url=”!/addy_osmani/status/121885202581684224″]
[blackbirdpie url=”!/LuukWilms/status/121887866258333697″]
[blackbirdpie url=”!/Georg_Tavonius/status/121888702678044672″]
[blackbirdpie url=”!/okonetchnikov/status/121889094346350592″]
[blackbirdpie url=”!/decthomas/status/121889393752543233″]
[blackbirdpie url=”!/eising/status/121889474782314496″]
[blackbirdpie url=”!/artjulian/status/121889486358589440″]
[blackbirdpie url=”!/ronderksen/status/121889810230157312″]
[blackbirdpie url=”!/dantz/status/121890121669804032″]
[blackbirdpie url=”!/nerdismus/status/121890225273323520″]
[blackbirdpie url=”!/okke29/status/121890604610355200″]
[blackbirdpie url=”!/mylittletony/status/121891613139144704″]
[blackbirdpie url=”!/LuukWilms/status/121893686874345472″]
[blackbirdpie url=”!/soswow/status/121893745921769472″]
[blackbirdpie url=”!/mennovanslooten/status/121893921394655232″]
[blackbirdpie url=”!/FronteersConf/status/121894605963804673″]
[blackbirdpie url=”!/edgarleijs/status/121894745596362752″]
[blackbirdpie url=”!/usethetics/status/121894796573937664″]
[blackbirdpie url=”!/peterpeerdeman/status/121895792301707264″]
[blackbirdpie url=”!/bjornjohansen/status/121896246809083904″]
[blackbirdpie url=”!/cruster/status/121896792873897984″]
[blackbirdpie url=”!/decthomas/status/121911585227816960″]
[blackbirdpie url=”!/aral/status/121920658778234880″]
[blackbirdpie url=”!/ldebrouwer/status/121992421474177025″]
[blackbirdpie url=”!/wiekatz/status/121992495436537856″]
[blackbirdpie url=”!/GovertVerschuur/status/121993644482891776″]
[blackbirdpie url=”!/johannesaxner/status/121999077859790849″]
[blackbirdpie url=”!/flurin/status/122042528794017792″]

My slides are now online at Speakerdeck, Slideshare and the interactive version on my website.

Frontend 2011

Oslo is a city I’ve been to many times in the past, so there was nothing new to see there. I didn’t make it to the speakers dinner & pre-party due to my late flight, which kinda sucked but it’s my fault since it took me a long while to decide on my flight dates. The conference itself was a bit more design-focused that I’d like, but very well organized. It took place in the same hotel the speakers were staying at, which is always a good thing. It also had the best coffee I’ve ever drank at a conference, and one of the best I’ve tasted in general. I also loved the idea of having multiple projectors, so that everyone in the audience can see clearly. They had the very original idea of not only drawing caricatures for every speaker (here’s mine, I also got it in a nice frame) but also having the artist in the venue to draw caricatures for attendees as well!

My talk went smoothly, and received very good feedback:

[blackbirdpie url=”!/iceMagic/status/123737225560199168″]
[blackbirdpie url=”!/gustaff_weldon/status/123741227563753472″]
[blackbirdpie url=”!/kaelig/status/123741479142297601″]
[blackbirdpie url=”!/orioltf/status/123742189896474624″]
[blackbirdpie url=”!/chemikpil/status/123742210842820608″]
[blackbirdpie url=”!/gav_taylor/status/123742248646094848″]
[blackbirdpie url=”!/mikaeljorhult/status/123742623524585473″]
[blackbirdpie url=”!/ken_guru/status/123744573666246656″]
[blackbirdpie url=”!/cornae/status/123803246300114945″]

That’s it. I now get to rest for a while. Next stop is SWDC in November, which will host the première of my new talk “CSS in the 4th dimension: Not your daddy’s CSS animations” which will be about CSS transitions & animations, from the basics all way to badass secrets.

Thanks to all the conference organizers for inviting me and for the attendees for attending and giving feedback on my talks. You are all awesome, and it was the best 2 weeks ever. 🙂