Here I am again, after a bit of hiatus after my last post. Things have been super exciting over here, and I cannot wait to share more info about what I have been working on. Let's do things one by one, however. Allow me to start with (to me) the most unusual one of all. I was invited to participate in an episode of Go Time - one of my favorite developer podcasts!
Wait! Have you never been on a podcast before?
Nope, never! It's ironic that someone who has listened to podcasts for more than 15 years and built various software around them has never really had the courage to appear on one. I won't say I had not had chances before. Having friends among the community, I occasionally get invitations for casual audio chats. Yet until now, I have always politely refused. Why?
The reason is pretty trivial, actually. I wouldn't say I like hearing how my voice sounds. This is pretty common for most people I know, but in my case, it goes further. It touches upon language and pronunciation. See, as a non-native English speaker, I learned from a very young age that mastering the language is the key to getting someone's attention. Everything else comes second. And while things are relatively easy to fix in text, speech, especially live speech, is a totally different matter.
I have never had any issues speaking to or in front of others, but when it comes to appearing in a pre-recorded audio or video, I would be freaking out. It's just that the expectations of the listener or viewer are higher when something is pre-recorded. Or so I thought.
But this time, it won't be scripted at all...
I was preparing my talk for this year's online edition of GopherCon EU when I got an email from one of the organizers (also one of the podcast's co-hosts) whether I would be interested to appear on the show. Oh boy, I thought. Go Time has been one of my favorite developer podcasts, and I have enjoyed listening to most episodes. And now they ask me whether I'd like to participate in a panel discussion around the conference. Me?!?
I was both super excited and terrified. I don't like appearing on pre-recorded audio/video for all the reasons I laid out above. This is why I always prefer doing my talks live, even at online events. But podcasts are pre-recorded; that's how they work.
Luckily for me, I was assured that as an ad-hoc panel with conference participants, this episode wouldn't be scripted at all. Moreover, it was to be recorded live as a conference session - so there won't be any time to prepare a script at all. My first cameo on a podcast would naturally set the right expectations - more or less recording a live session than anything done in a studio.
This is what made me accept. And I am so glad I did! I was pretty nervous during the session and had a hundred mental pauses, but I did not care. I was happy that I pushed myself to do it. Besides the apparent PR effect, this was a chance to punch my inner fear. I think it worked because soon after the podcast aired, I set on a hunt for a better microphone and camera. While I am far from becoming the next podcasting star, this first experience reassured me that things are not as scary as they appeared in my head.
But still, I wouldn't listen to it until one day ...
Like all Go Time episodes, this one also appeared in my playlist. But I had said to myself I'd never listen to it. I shared it among friends and generally got a positive reception from everyone, but still, I would not have the courage to endure listening to my voice for more than 10 seconds.
That was, until one day when I was out running. I decided to give the episode a try since it was still in my queue. I was positively surprised! While I could always do a better job, this one did not sound bad at all. Best of all, none of my mental pauses and hums appeared on the final cut. It was, as they say, smooth as butter :)
This is where I say my thanks ...
... and I will start with the sound magicians at Changelog. I don't know how you guys did it, but if you made someone like me sound coherent on audio, there is no reason that others shouldn't try as well. Next is Natalie (thanks for inviting me) and Mat (thanks for gently grilling me), along with the other Go Time co-hosts. You guys are even more awesome live than on the recorded tracks! Finally, the other two panelists - Mathilde and Joakim. Thanks for letting me be part of this ride, and given a chance, we should do it again.
Until next time!