My Podcamp Story – Phil Moscovitch
I’ve been to Podcamp several times as a participant, and once as a presenter — and it’s a great event. I’ll admit that some years I haven’t felt like getting into my car on a cold January morning and driving into the city, but the experience has always been worth it.
I’ve never felt like much of an expert on anything, and when I first considered presenting, I thought about the people who had led sessions in the past and figured I wasn’t knowledgeable enough to offer my own. I should say that I belong to the demographic (white guys) that tends to dominate Podcamp — so if I felt this way, I can understand that the hesitation may be even greater for those belonging to other groups. Podcamp seems to be taking seriously the challenge of becoming more diverse, and I hope these efforts succeed.
One of the beauties of Podcamp is the blurring of boundaries. Anyone can offer to present. Presenters are participants, and vice-versa. Sessions tend to be lively, with lots of back-and-forth. One of the six guiding principles of the event is that people are welcome to come and go as they like: “If you’re not getting what you want out of the session, you can and should walk out and do something else.”
This is true of any conference, really, but making it explicit has some positive effects. There’s a lot going on at any given time at Podcamp. If people are walking out of your session, it may be that they’re not that into what you’re doing, or it may be that they want to catch part of someone else’s concurrent presentation, or maybe they are just tired and need a break. Whatever the case, they don’t feel guilty about walking out the door, and you shouldn’t feel any when they do. The principle is liberating for everyone.
In addition to the sessions, Podcamp offers a nice opportunity in the dead of winter to make connections in person with people you’ve seen online, a chance to learn new skills, and to be inspired to practice those skills or launch new projects. I’m glad it’s coming back for 2017, and if you’ve got a session in mind, I hope you’ll go ahead and offer to present it.
Huge thanks to Phil for sharing his Podcamp story. Do you have a Podcamp story you would like to share? We’d love to hear it! Send an email Andrew Paris (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more details.