Tuesday 1 November 2011

My SC11 diary 8

It turns out I have to actually do some talking at SC11 as well as listen to others. So one of today's jobs was to start preparing some presentations I will be giving at SC11. My normal habit is to have a custom version of a slide set for each audience/customer. I try to avoid simply re-using the same slide deck for each talk. Obviously I do re-use large chunks of previous presentations but update it, or add/remove content to get the right focus.

For the poor vendor speakers who have to give the same roadmap presentation a dozen times a day, each day of the SC11 week, each with full enthusiasm to different set of faces, I fully accept that the slide set is understandably almost unaltered between customers. I also salute their professionalism in conveying the same enthusiasm for the roadmap technologies and products by the 30th run-though at the end of the week! As I try to assimilate as much info as I can for advising customers on procurements and technology aspects of HPC service and application planning, I will bear in mind the repetitive job of the speaker on the other side of the table!

Thankfully, my own speaking efforts are much more varied. I will be speaking in various public and non-public venues. The hard ones are the short slots - trying to get a credible, useful and hopefully memorable message across in 10-15minutes is hard work. Among other things, I will be presenting about NAG's HPC services and consulting - how they can help new adopters of HPC (related to the "missing middle" agenda).

The easy ones are the ones that are not recorded - don't have to worry as much about making mistakes. but more importantly, it is also easier to give a good talk when you interact with the audience in front of you - but when being recorded, you have to bear in mind the audience that is not visible - and is giving not feedback/interaction.

Thankfully, my week is fairly evenly split between listening and talking modes - with the latter mostly meeting or conversation format rather than presentations/interviews etc. so not so much preparation of slides this year as some in the past. Although, preparation for SC11 is more than just writing presentations - I need to make sure I am up to date with the material for each meeting (whether customer, collaborator, vendor, etc.).

And the other preparations - I did book a flight didn't I? (check) And a hotel. See previous diary entry about luxury at SC. Better print out some stuff - maybe a map, schedule (although it will be out of date before the ink is dry) and so on. Currency - for the non-US attendees - better check how many dollars are left in my wallet from my last trip to the USA.

Apparently it is worth checking the weather forecast for Seattle too. Although the climate is fairly similar to the north of England where I am now, so not much adjustment will be needed. Wet, not so warm and a bit windy probably.

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