Lessons learned from speaking at the North Dallas .NET Users Group


Bring your A game, do your best, leave it all on the field. That’s how I roll… until last night. Last night I presented on MVVM in Silverlight at the North Dallas .NET Users Group. It was a great turn out with a lot of interaction and excellent questions. Huge thanks to the organizers for having me, and to every one that turned out for it!

OK, I learned two big lessons last night. First, don’t prep your demo’s with a source control system that you are not 100% comfortable with yet.. second, don’t keep your speaking engagements when you’ve been taking care of sick people all week.

Don’t get sick

This week, my family got hit bad with Rotavirus. I’m not going to sugar coat it, this was a bad week in the Jenkins home. We had to deal with this bug once before when our oldest son was a baby… it was bad then, now times that by five. My wife, son, and 3 daughters have had a rough week to put it mildly. Fortunately, I work for a great company that let me work from home this week so that I could help take care of them. I’m also fortunate that I’ve been fine this whole week… until last night.

Right in the middle of my talk it hit me, whoa.. light headed… oh no, I might need that trash can… ugh. I’ve never gotten sick in the middle of a talk before – not fun.

Fortunately I was able to take a 5 minute break, get some fresh air, and then finish my talk. I came home with a fever and have been laying in bed since. I’m grateful for the awesome vitamins that we take (especially the pro-biotics) because here I am – just over 12 hours later – feeling much better.

The last time that I was scheduled to speak at the NDDNUG I got a chest cold leading up to it, fortunately my friend Aaron Erickson was in town and filled in with a great talk on Dynamic Languages and the DLR. Note to self: If you could be sick (it’s hard because I really don’t get sick that often) find a replacement presenter.

Using GIT

It’s all David’s fault. 🙂 Well, Dave and TekPub.
My friend Dave (@davidmohara) is constantly pulling out and showing off the cool shiny toys. He’s the one that got me to start using CodeRush (no seriously, he’s a CodeRush ninja), he’s the one that got me to look at ASP.NET MVC completely differently, and then recently he’s become the unofficial GIT guide to several of us at the MVP Summit. So, Dave, combined with a 1 month subscription to TekPub that I won at the last Community for MVC.NET group got me interested in using GIT.

By the way… TekPub is awesome, I’ll talk more about them for another time, for now, go check out the preview to using GIT.

The nice thing about GIT is that you can quickly and easily create local branches and commits without standing up a server anywhere. It sounded like a great way to fork out my demos so that I could work in a single directly and just take snapshots (branches) along the way while I was prepping the talk. I still think I’ll end up using GIT for that, but last night in the middle of my talk I couldn’t remember how to roll back changes to one branch in order to switch to a different branch. You can’t leave a branch that has uncommitted changes, you either have to commit them or roll out of them. For anyone interested – the command that I was looking for was git reset –hard [name of branch] – would have come in handy last night. 🙂

So my own stumbling over git combined with a mid-talk fever made for an interesting night! Again, a big thanks to the organizers and attendees, and my  apologies for giving you my C game.

Hopefully, Lesson learned.

About Caleb Jenkins

Caleb Jenkins is an international speaker, author and 6 time Microsoft MVP award recipient, he currently works for Solera as a Director of Software Development. An entertaining and informative speaker who approaches software from a fresh perspective that spans UX, agile practices and technologies for enterprise customers from across the globe. Leading UX product design teams, coaching multi-team agile transformations and architecting and mentoring at some of the largest companies in the world, As a long time community leader and former Microsoft Developer Evangelist, Caleb is well known for his engaging speaking style, depth of knowledge and creative energy. Founder and Principal Mentor of Proaction Mentors, former UX Manager and Agile Coach, Senior Architect for Six Flags Corporation, Product Architect on a Cloud Marketing Platform, Caleb has made a career out of empowering others while building products and teams that delight customers and solve business needs. You can follow him on twitter (@calebjenkins) or his blog, DevelopingUX.com and if you're still reading this, then you could also subscribe to his blog RSS feed or sign up to receive updates by email