I helped Brian Timoney, of the Timoney Group present last night at the Boulder Denver New Tech Meetup.  It was my second experience presenting at BDNT.  (I presented in Jan of 2008 on GWT.)  But it was my first time at BDNT Denver–down at the Tivoli.

Co-presenting is always different than presenting alone.  I actually had a pretty small role in the presentation–I mostly just drove the demo (underwater navigation with Google Earth to visualize sonar coverage data–it’s very cool, but I don’t feel comfortable putting the demo login up–contact me if you want to see it).  I worked with Brian on the presentation format.  Brian has deep knowledge of GIS concepts (he recently ran a workshop at GIS In the Rockies), but he’s used to having more time to cover concepts, and 5 minutes just enforces a certain brevity.

We had a mentor–Josh Fraser of EventVue took some time to run through our presentation with us.  It was really great to have a third party, especially one in tune with the BDNT, give us feedback.  As I told Robert Reich last night, we went into the mentoring session with one presentation, and left with an entirely different one.  If you’re thinking about presenting at BDNT, please get a mentor (and you might have to ping the organizers a few times to get one–we did).

If I ever present at BDNT again, I’ll follow the format we arrived at:

  • 15 sec intro
  • 1 min talking about problem
  • 2-3 min demoing software solving problem
  • wrap up
  • contact info on screen during questions

However, one of the difficulties in presenting for 5 minutes to a varied audience is that it is hard to know what knowledge to assume (about, say, GIS).  I talked to some people after the presentation, and it seemed like we assumed our exposition of the problem was better than it actually was.  I guess one way to address that would be to have a 30 sec intro spiel that you could deliver or not deliver based on a show of hands.  Not sure if there are other ways to deal with this issue.

Finally, we were the only formal presentation last night.  It sounds like BDNT Denver isn’t as supported by the community as BDNT Boulder, in terms of participation.  I hope it doesn’t end–so, if you’re in Denver, consider attending this meetup–it’s a great place to network and get excited about tech.  Here’s the calendar of meetups.

Instead of other presentations, we went unconference style, a la BarCamp.  People broke into 5 groups and discussed a tech issue (personalization, structured data, real time web) in detail for 10-15 minutes.  Then someone from each group presented 1-3 minutes.  The twitter feedback seemed pretty favorable.  I like BarCamp formats, and enjoyed the change.  I found that everyone in my group had lots to say about personalization, including some pretty creepy personal storied about advertising on the net.  I believe someone was going to write up the resulting presentations–will link to it when I find it.

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