Where to Start?
The hardest obstacle to overcome for this post has without question been figuring out where to start. A number of fascinating conversations at lean coffee to kick off a day of thought provoking and inspiring talks?
But then how can I ignore a day of exchanging ideas in some engaging workshops? So how about sitting down at a table on the morning of the workshops and chatting with a couple of excited strangers attending their first Test Bash, only to be joined by one half of Super Testing Bros (@JamesEspie). Although that would be a decent start point it wasn't really where the journey started.
I'm missing all the fun and frolics of the meet up on the the previous evening at the wonderful RentalCars.com offices where despite arriving a little late for Pizza, I was able to listen to Matt Thomas (@dovesian) and get my first real taste of Mr Van Daele's (@isleoftesting) Test Sphere. A few beers may also have been 'forced' down my neck by @friendlytester
So I have my start point?
Well actually if I'm really going to do my journey justice I'd have to roll back 12 months prior to this, at the first Test Bash Manchester..... my first Test Bash and my first really testing focused conference. Wow this may well take more than a single blog post.
The Journey Begins
So what happened 12 months ago?
Well actually it was nothing hugely remarkable. It was just Testbash, in it's rawest form, in Manchester. I'd been looking to go to Testbash in Brighton for a few years but struggled with the financials given it would require hotel stay etc. A Manchester location and circumstances in my place of work at the time conspired to allow me to get the company to purchase 3 tickets for myself and my team.
Now I will admit at this point I wasn't sure exactly what to expect, but I naively considered myself relatively experienced and knowledgable in the area of testing. Always a fan of learning more but half expecting at least some of the conference to be a case of learning how to suck eggs.
Suffice to say the conference didn't disappoint and left me with an entirely different train of thought than I expected. The realisation that I still had lot to learn but equally a lot to give... working with and coaching my team being a part of my job that I particularly enjoyed. That said a realisation is not quite the same as clarity. As much as I might want to spread my wings I was still under no illusions that my self confidence could prove to be a blocker. Coaching and supporting a team of people I know still felt a million miles from putting myself out there, to engage in idea sharing with a group of peers who, I felt clearly had a much better perspective on testing (yep a hearty slice of imposter syndrome).
After a day of some engaging ideas and exceptional talks I still felt like there was something to take from the conference that I had yet to grasp........ clarity came in the form of 99 second talks. Actually clarity really came in the questions I found myself asking of myself in relation to the 99 second talks. People were clearly stepping out of their comfort zones to engage this community of testers. Could this concept of shared learning and shared confidence be the gap I had identified?
Providing encouragement and opportunity to people who might otherwise take two steps back seemed a powerful concept.
So this is where my journey began towards this years Testbash. Questions I was asking of myself that I felt I needed to discover the answers to:
Could I do a 99 second talk in front of a room full of knowledgable peers?
Would it even benefit me to do a 99 second talk?
How do I break down what seemed like a big challenge (for me and my personality) into something that felt achievable?
The first thing I needed was a goal and the goal in this instance was to put myself forward for a 99 second talk in 12 months time. More than enough time to prepare..... or so I thought.