#23 Laura Savino on languages and public speaking
⚠ The following transcript was automatically generated.
❤ Help us out, Submit a pull-request to correct potential mistakes
Tim Bourguignon 0:10
You are listening to developer's journey, the podcast shining lights on the life of software developers around the world. My name is Tim Bourguignon, and I am joined tonight by lava. Savino. Lau is a freelance iOS developer whose non tech passion includes foreign languages and teaching. Hi, Laura, welcome and dev journey. Hello, thanks for having me. Oh, it's a pleasure. It's a flutter. I've heard very much about you. And we missed seeing each other in real life in Paris. a month back? That would have been a treat. But I'm really glad to having you on the line tonight.
Tim Bourguignon 0:48
Yeah, um, do you want to say a bit more about yourself to start with?
Laura Savino 0:53
a sure thing. So like I said, I'm a are like, like you mentioned, I'm a freelance iOS developer. I've been as employed as a professional developer for six or seven years now. I guess a interesting, somewhat little known fact about me is that before I became an iOS developer, I was really passionate about learning as many human languages as I could. And that actually translated into working as a foreign language teacher. So before I became a developer, I actually have formal training in education, specifically with with foreign languages.
Tim Bourguignon 1:35
The same way you can speak French daughter, so well.
Laura Savino 1:39
Yeah, I actually majored I majored in French and minor in Japanese, and wrote my thesis in how to use children's books for adults to learn a second language. Oh,
Tim Bourguignon 1:53
that's interesting. And how did you work?
Laura Savino 1:57
Ah, so I mean, it was an undergrad thesis. So it, you know, in, but in a lot of my my reading and research, and as part of the thesis, I actually sat down and planned and taught a semester long course, to some ESL to some adult ESL students, where we, we would go through children's books, and I, children's books, always use a simpler vocabulary. And oftentimes, they'll be illustrated, for example, so maybe a strange word will come out of nowhere and say, like, he looked behind the wall and saw a penguin. And when if you're just reading text, then there's not enough information to actually figure out what that word is. But in a children's book, there'll be a nice illustration, and then that'll make it easier for you to learn a new word. And they're often written for native speakers. And a really interesting thing to to try to learn about children's books, or about a culture by looking at their children's books is that when people write books for kids, they're saying, Hey, this is these are the cultural values that we want to pass on to our children. And so you can really pick up on the sorts of things that the culture finds to be important. Remember, I Korean is one of the languages that I studied, and I picked up a reader for second graders. And one of the stories was about this, this kid who was really struggling because his friends, all preferred hamburgers, and pizza, but the kid really preferred kimchi, and he didn't understand his friends reactions. And there's just something really, really delightful about that. That seemed to me Amazing, amazing
Tim Bourguignon 3:47
that that reminds me I have a few books for my kids, some illustrations, and they'll will infringe on German. But the author is often often Japanese or the author. And I'm always amazed that looking at reading the stories, because through the the drawings and the way, the way the stories are created, you see this culture showing shining through infringement, but you still see if you know a bit about the culture, you see it coming coming out of the book, even though everything was translated. Yeah, this is amazing. This is amazing. I love
Laura Savino 4:24
that kind of incidental learning there. You don't you know, we were talking a little bit. You know, you and I were talking before the show a little bit about learning new information, flashcards versus real life. And the thing that I love about these more vibrant real life examples is that they allow you to do a lot of incidental learning about the context and the culture. So you don't need to have a flashcard to tell you like, Oh, yes, this is the game con in front of the house where you would take off your shoes before you go in but you'll just see it and pick it up. Maybe as as This is something that's in the atmosphere.
Tim Bourguignon 5:03
Um, would that be common sense? Or is there such a such thing as common sense? And in this in this regard?
Laura Savino 5:11
Ah, that's a good question. Can you can you say that in different words?
Tim Bourguignon 5:14
Hmm. Um, I mean, when when you come in, then you expect something to have to do with your shoes. So if you see this, I remember the word you use in Japanese can come by,
Tim Bourguignon 5:25
Tim Bourguignon 5:26
And you see shoes around this. So it kinds of triggers. Whatever subconscious, you have, and say, Well, this must be for putting your shoes when you come in something like this.
Laura Savino 5:40
Yeah, and so the next time you see it, you'll be a little bit less surprised if you'll say, Oh, I have maybe some frame of reference for seeing this kind of thing before. And like if, you know, I know, your, your podcast isn't all about, is it all about children's books and foreign languages. But I think this really applies to how a lot of people end up developing their skills in programming, too, because we, we do so much reading of code bases, that a lot of times, that's how we'll kind of pick up these patterns. And in a code base that really functions well, we might go through and even without knowing that we're noticing it, say, Oh, that's like this, you know, I, I just happen to like it, when this one code, they win this one codebase divides up, divides up responsibilities really clearly. And if that's the environment that you, you know, cut your developer teeth in you, you might not even notice that that's happening, but but you'll just develop these habits and pick up these habits. And it's funny, that's something that can be challenging when you switch teams, then is that you'll notice like, Wait, you're doing this differently, I don't like the way you're doing this. And sometimes it's not even a bad pattern. It's just different. And so it can be really hard to, to adapt, until you've seen lots of examples of like, Okay, this, this pattern is actually acceptable, and is totally functional for this team. Whereas that other pattern was totally acceptable and functional for this other team.
Tim Bourguignon 7:19
I don't want to quit the children's book this question. I read a tweet. I think, today or yesterday, which was a quote from Dr. Seuss, saying that when you write a children's book, you have to, to reduce a chapter in a paragraph and then paragraph to a couple sentences and make every word count. Oh, yeah. And there, I see a parallel with what you just say. And when we're programming, first of all, we have very few keywords and compared to our normal language, whatever normal is, and, and then when you go to a nice code base, and you're kind of making every word counts, and going from chapter two, to a paragraph and paragraph two sentences. That's exactly the same.
Laura Savino 8:09
Yeah, that's true. And it can be challenging then sometimes, because the way that people sometimes encode entire ideas into a single word, I think, maybe an example of this is coming up with a custom operator, just say, yes, this, this operator means all that is, is a very short way of describing this complex relationship, or this, or this function, this interaction. And that can be a real challenge for newcomers, because they haven't internalized that, that relationship yet. So they actually have to go and look up more things when it's when it's compressed to that extent.
Tim Bourguignon 8:57
So it's hiding the penguin in the image, but without having.
Tim Bourguignon 9:02
Yeah, that's exactly.
Laura Savino 9:05
Everybody knows that. When you have a red box, there's a penguin inside like, no, that's everybody on your team knows that. That's
Tim Bourguignon 9:14
Tim Bourguignon 9:17
No, that's true. That's true. That's the things I'm always amazed with people were able to to pick up a new language and just kind of language amounts and just go with it. I can go through with the basics of the language, but then taking up the mindset of the other the production of the language, and how it's supposed to be written. I mean, you can write some really gorgeous Ruby, but if you write it with a with a Java flair, then it's not gonna smell like Ruby. And that's that was that was the biggest pain point for me going from from classical managed code, Java dotnet. To Ruby or Python Miko smelled like, whatever if something else. And this is really annoying, but you have to change, you have to realize, well, in this box, there's something else. It's it's a penguin maybe. But But
Tim Bourguignon 10:12
Laura Savino 10:17
I actually just watched a talk yesterday that Katrina Owen had given at gopher con in August. And I believe she's citing somebody else. I, I'm not 100% sure. But she,
Tim Bourguignon 10:33
Laura Savino 10:36
gives this brilliant example and talks through the difference between being competent in a language and being fluent in a language. And, and talks about how fluency in a language means that if someone wakes you up in the middle of the night with a flashlight in your face and asks you to implement a particular example in in go, that, for example, that you would just be able to do it without trying too hard. that that that that level of fluency is that automatic sort of response that doesn't take a lot of cognitive overhead, I maybe misquoting her, it's worth actually going to check out the talk, minding the gap. It's brilliant. But I really like that idea of fluency as being that. It's, yeah, it's not something that you have to really struggle over and pour over. It's, it's something that comes naturally isn't quite the right word, because none of this is natural. But it's something that comes without effort.
Tim Bourguignon 11:44
Um, do you think we can we can become fluent in many, many, many languages? Is this possible?
Tim Bourguignon 11:54
Laura Savino 11:57
think so. I'm given up, I guess, the quest, I think it's definitely possible to write fluent Java code, and write fluent Ruby code and write fluent swift code. Over the course of somebody's career. I would believe that it's challenging for people to switch between them without paging, basically, all of those patterns and knowledge back into memory, that if you're doing six, if you're writing in six different tech stacks at the same time, that that some of your your patterns and habits and idioms from one stack would end up leading over into the other unless you're really focused on one. But that's just my guess I haven't seen I'm sure there's something that people have studied.
Tim Bourguignon 12:49
I'd be curious what their results are.
Tim Bourguignon 12:51
I'd be as well. But this this is all the discussion between the two of us started with with English for me as a as a foreign language, and how I need to bring it up to my, to my ram in cash. Yeah, I can use it. And now I can say German. If you wake me up in the middle of the night and asked me to say something in German, that would be not a problem. But it's the other way around in English. So if you ask me to, I need to process the information first.
Tim Bourguignon 13:21
Yeah, I bet
Laura Savino 13:22
if you said, Uh huh. But if you spent, say, a couple of weeks in London, I would, it would probably change for you again, probably. Probably.
Tim Bourguignon 13:32
I would be in an interesting, interesting experiment.
Laura Savino 13:35
Yeah, especially because it would involve so much travel and getting getting different languages. Really fluent again.
Tim Bourguignon 13:42
I need to sell that to my boss. Just send me a couple months to London. That would be fun. You mentioned go for Ken. This is this is the goal of the khanacademy conference.
Laura Savino 13:57
Ah, sorry. gopher con. Yeah, though. Yes. No, just that's set. It's con c o n. OKJN.
Tim Bourguignon 14:09
Okay. But, um, but you have something to do with the Khan Academy,
Laura Savino 14:12
right? Yes, I was a, I was actually their first full time iOS developer. So I worked there for a few years. Yeah, it was it was really interesting going to that company. from my previous work had been at a mobile agency which was extremely focused on iOS and all things mobile. And then going from there to this company that had built an amazing reputation for their mission is bringing a world class edge to anyone anywhere. They're a nonprofit organization that is is just doing phenomenal. When I first started That their main channel had been basically YouTube and a lot of desktop. And so there is it took a lot of work, talking with folks and really changing hearts and minds to say no mobile really is, is going to be a major focus of the company going forward especially to try to reach kids these days, because it's a lot of a lot of people, essentially around the world are maybe more likely to have a self are a lot more likely to have a cell phone than to have a access to a desktop computer. So it was really fascinating being there and helping to revamp and build out their iOS apps. And just watching as the company and participating as the company spent more of its focus. Bringing bringing things to a mobile platform.
Tim Bourguignon 15:54
Now the khanacademy in AutoZone mm. Oh, see? So this is?
Laura Savino 16:01
Uh, yeah, I think people often just pronounce it MOOCs. Speaking of shorthand that maybe obscures you?
Tim Bourguignon 16:11
That's all right. That's right. It's really amazing. what's what's happening in all this field of online learning and sharing of, of really high level information? That's, that's really something.
Laura Savino 16:23
Yeah, absolutely. And that's something that I know that the folks there who are research, something that's really important to them is this, not just taking previous models of education that are, you know, hey, we have this textbook, look, now we have the textbook as pixels on your screen instead of ink on a page, that that's really not taking advantage of the kind of rich interaction that a that technology can support. And, you know, we've all seen those iPad apps for kids that, you know, Amber make something happen. And then the reward is that there's lots of animations on the screen. And that's, that will keep kids looking at the screen. But there's something there's something important about accessing people's intrinsic motivation to learn more things, and to really engage with the content and to find that that deeper meaning and pleasure and motivation, in the things that they're learning is a huge challenge.
Tim Bourguignon 17:41
It is it is, you've been involved in such UX research or a kind of a b testing of apps in this way?
Laura Savino 17:51
No, I haven't on that scale. I have been thinking and speaking actually, recently, a lot about, about education in a totally different slice of life, which is in conference speaking, because, you know, my background was in teaching. And then I became a developer and was heads down just writing code for a few years, and then slowly started getting into conference speaking, and before my first talk, I was super nervous. And then got up in front of the room and realized, Oh, wait, this is basically just teaching like this, I can do this, this, this isn't something that that I want, once I got into it, I didn't have the stage fright or anything anymore. And some test is that a lot of us, I mean, as as developers, we like to kind of do our own research and come up with our own theories about what would make, for example, an effective presentation. But I realized that there are all kinds of insights from this field of education that's existed for centuries, we can actually just just borrow their ideas and bring them into our conference presentations. So that's something that I've I've been speaking about on a high level and also started giving workshops on is hey, let's, instead of just thinking, how can we stand up and deliver content from me the speaker to you the roomful of people? How can we get people to do with it? What can you do in terms of setting your own goals and providing materials for the participants that will let your content really sink in and change their behavior? I mean, secretly at the bottom of all, this is our conferences, even helpful ways to communicate information at all? And I suspect in a lot of ways that the answer might be no, but they're still valuable for bringing people together. As long as we have conferences. I'm trying to work with people to figure out How to make their presentations. More bit more educationally sound.
Tim Bourguignon 20:07
I did my first attempted poetry slam at a conference we are we are hosting in here in Germany, and really the opening keynote. Yeah, that was very scary. I'm quite used to, to public speaking. But that was a whole different beast if it went out all right. And the whole, the whole point of the of this lamb was actually to there was a there was a playing of playing with words, basically, on the difference between a participant, an attendee, a speaker, a non speaking attendee, and a non participating speaker, etc. So basically just saying, the the act of being at a conference is, is not even half of the work. The act of attending two conference speaking conference talks, is is also not really interesting. The whole point of being a conference is in detail, and just talking to people, and trying to get people right away in the conference to thinking about this. And that was really scary, but efficient, or effective? No, that's great. I really, really started connecting and discussing one of those really good.
Laura Savino 21:25
Oh, that's wonderful. I've been to a couple conferences where some, like, early on someone is brave that way, not necessarily as a poetry spin. But but that reminds people, hey, you're here to meet each other. And there's something about having that explicit permission to Yes, go talk to people in the lunch lines, invite people to share your table. And even though if you would have asked people before the conference, hey, is meeting people important? They all would have said yes. But something about someone standing up there and saying, Hey, y'all should go meet each other, actually makes them do it. That's, that's amazing that you that you stood up and did it and had that effect?
Tim Bourguignon 22:03
Oh, yeah, I would, I wanted to try that. And we've done it a different way, with some with some friends went to a conference in Berlin. And it was a very management level conference. So a lot of people with with suits and ties. And one of the first things we did was to, to start making a sign on our name tag, to say, if you see the sign, I'm okay with with you, in German is a different is a different word. For the for one person or the the I was English, you don't have the the polite polite form and the common form. And all those managers were using this polite form the Z in German, ah, and this just makes a build up walls between people. And when you start using this, it's just awful. You don't get a connection between people. And so we started hacking the conference this week. And at the end of the conference, I guess there was only only a handful people didn't have the sign this sign off on their name tag. And it was just amazing how much people connected to this. Oh, that's awesome. That that's something I really tried to do now at conferences is try to hack the thing. Right away. Yeah. People talking.
Laura Savino 23:24
Oh, I'm sad that English doesn't have such a clear signal. The closest thing that that I I've seen to that was a couple of folks. I was William fen heck and Victoria. I am going to get her last name wrong. Victoria Wong, they made buttons for to communicate some things sort of similar which the the buttons had little drawings of cats on them. And the cat was either like, had both paws arms out having a party, or it was like peeking out from behind a wall. And I think there was a third one also, but you based on your desire, like desired level of social interaction would pick up one of those pins. And and it basically meant, hey, like the one had the cat hiding behind the wall meant, hey, I might not come up and talk to you. But I am totally friendly if you come up and talk to me. So that was Yeah, but I'm I like the idea of encoding that in every single interaction, like when you just start talking to somebody if you're using duo instead of z that it's just understood. Hey, I think we should be friendly with each other.
Tim Bourguignon 24:46
Yeah. Yeah, it kind of makes it. It's sometimes harder to connect because when somebody starts with z, then it's a bit harder to just go back to you to having a do in there. But But when it happens here, right? That's really, it makes us really friendly from the get go.
Laura Savino 25:06
That's really nice. That actually reminds me that it was something that surprised me a lot at the conference that I was just out in Paris. Because, you know, when when I learned French, and when I spent some time there, in, in college college students call each other to like, all the time, like they, they use the more informal phrase, but I always assumed that grownups kind of everybody would switch to using wood using the more the more formal level, but at this conference, I noticed like, so I was trying to avoid people to use blue with them. And but everyone who started a conversation with me used to, and it surprised me a lot. Is that something that is that, uh, do you think is associated with tech people and like, we wear jeans and T shirts. And so we also used to, and that also sounds different from your experience at this conference and in German?
Tim Bourguignon 25:59
Hmm, I think I think, um, that might be the tech and even more the conference, you went to this new craft, it's it's a specialized conference on craftsmanship. And maybe there's a sense of family being there. So maybe there's this, this meta level, on top of it, where people assume Well, if you are here, then you're already on the right side.
Tim Bourguignon 26:25
Tim Bourguignon 26:28
You're not in the dark side of the forest. You're right. So maybe two is all right. And I don't know. In French, yeah, you you would use Google as well, in some more formal context. So I don't know.
Tim Bourguignon 26:46
Tim Bourguignon 26:49
Um, before I went on this, on this chew and stuff, and you were saying, public speaking, we should pull on to what has been done in in the past. We should reuse those, those well, proven proven ways of presenting and teaching. Um, do you have some examples about that?
Laura Savino 27:15
I? Yeah, I absolutely. One of one of the first things. And this is actually something that starts even before you start finding out what you're going to say, I make an analogy, in terms of a lot of us are more familiar with software design or app design. And we, we know that there's a difference between wireframing out what the UX will be and then going in and really polishing the design, right? Like, we know, okay, we're going to decide what the transitions are and what what buttons go where and how exactly to implement the feature. And that gets sketched out, maybe just in black and white, it could be on a napkin. And, and you could show the interaction, even if you use one of the prototyping tools, you could show the interaction. But it's not, you haven't fine tuned all your animations, you haven't chosen a theme for your colors and, and things like that, that's more of the the end polish. And so we understand that there's that there's a difference there. And you can talk about a sort of similar planning with, with public speaking that you will say, Okay, I want this section to transition into this section. And then this, this content really belongs together. So I should make sure to do that. And then also to have the callbacks and things like that, that's more structural, I think of that as like the wireframes of the presentation. And then on the visual Polish side of the presentation. There's the Okay, one of my slides really look like do I have a color theme? How do I stand? Do I make eye contact? And, and things like that. But to me that a lot of the lessons that I've taken from teaching happen before any of that get started. And with with app development and software development, I'd call this the stuff of saying, Hey, who is our audience? And what feature do they actually need? Do? Do they actually even want the thing that we're about to go wireframe and build? And with, with presentations, that looks like saying, hey, what is what's the information that this audience is missing? What is it that I want that I want them to be able to learn? And then going into saying, alright, what's my content going to be? And how exactly am I going to structure it? So that's what I'm pushing on people to really consider before they start planning out their presentation and saying, Hey, here's here's my structure and it will be a you know, it fancy speaker approved structure. But to really did but to really step back and say, and I have a learning objective, which is where teachers Start all the time and say what is after this session? What is the thing that people are going to be able to do that they couldn't do before. And, and that's something that is really easy to skip. Because as, as presenters, sometimes we think, Okay, I have to cover such and such, you know, I have to cover Core Data, I have to cover this. But if you take that a step back and say, you know, it's after the session, people will be able to persist this kind of data to disk, and will be able to debug exactly these kinds of issues. And it really makes a difference in how you approach in and how you're approaching material. And the way that, like, maybe more accessible to all developers would actually be a language example, which is that when when I was teaching French to little kids, I might, like, I would never say, Okay, I'm going to cover the numbers, zero to 10. Right now. Instead, I would say, Alright, by the end of this lesson, my students are going to be able to exchange phone numbers in French and write them down. And just these these extremely specific examples of what people will be able to do at the end of your session.
Tim Bourguignon 31:25
And did you devote that from to the students that this was the objective?
Laura Savino 31:32
That's a good question. Ah, I mean, we might, in the case of the kids, I wouldn't be so formal, you know, it'd be like, Hey, this is what we're going to practice doing. Right? Yeah, I think that with, with professionals, when when you're teaching professionals, it really helps to tell people, especially if it's a multitrack conference or something to be really upfront, these are the skills that you're going to walk out the door with, so you can decide whether it's a good use of your time to come.
Tim Bourguignon 32:03
Yeah, that's so that's something you want to write in the abstract, and have really clear, so the expectations are all set up. Right? I would say, absolutely. I'm, personally this, this has been bugging me, I love to go to create talks that are kind of going crescendo and building on something. And I always have the this dilemma. Am I doing something kind of hiding, hiding where I want to go so that people get this aha moment at the end, but then risking that nobody shows up? Because they don't know. Or divulging this from the beginning and then using different means to our to make it so make it fun and interesting and know what? Why do you think people don't do that? This whole? Preparing thinking about what you want to get out of it? And thinking Who is your target? And where do you need to? To? To start to get people on board, etc? Why is it not? Common sense to do this?
Laura Savino 33:12
That's, that's a good question. I don't know why people don't I have noticed that in talking.
Tim Bourguignon 33:21
Even even seasoned
Tim Bourguignon 33:24
Laura Savino 33:26
after hear about it, they say, but that makes perfect sense. Why would you do it any other way? But I think until until you've thought about it from that perspective, a lot of the examples that we have, and a lot of the culture really is around making talks that are more about documentation than learning it's the sort of talks that you're maybe expecting to go back and watch again, once you have a question about this technology that it's that it will answer some questions, but it's it's not you're not really expected to leave having internalized all of that information.
Tim Bourguignon 34:13
And how important is for you the the slide deck versus the voice on top of it. I mean, I see a lot of conferences a slider put on whichever platform you want to you want to use. But I actually with my with my slides, you couldn't start anything with it. Thing is in the audio. Almost everything is what I want. I'm I'm giving out speaking.
Laura Savino 34:46
So yeah, that's that's my pattern too, for sure. That I will basically write out essentially a blog post first and then turn it Those, turn those stories into something with a structure and then at the end of I'll break them apart and put some some words together just so people will have something to look at, I guess and illustrate things a little bit better. That was that, but that was the thing. I, I got to take a speaker training class one time, and that was something that they really emphasized was that there are two completely different purposes of slide decks. And some people make a slide deck whose purpose truly is documentation that you should be able to pass it out. And people, people will be able to reconstruct your content based on the slide decks. And that that's really different from a slide deck that's used to support a, like a live performance. And that, in that one isn't bad, it's not bad to have a document that has all of your content, you know, with some with some photos interspersed and some well organized thoughts, like the bullet points are not inherently bad. They're just but but they, they are more documentation than then performance.
Tim Bourguignon 36:20
That's true. That's
Tim Bourguignon 36:23
why when do you did you start with public speaking in the first place?
Tim Bourguignon 36:29
Laura Savino 36:33
it's a little bit strange, actually, I first, I got to be coincidentally friends with a few people who were speakers. And they kept saying to me, like, although you should totally give a talk, and I've only been doing this, I've only been coding for like a year and a half I. And I don't think I would be very good at it. I don't have anything to say. But then surprisingly, I was at a conference and saw a talk that was super mediocre. I guess it wasn't bad. It was just yeah, I really like the French expression, it was pickling oil. Like it was just really, it was really middle of the road. And I looked at it and said, like, wait a minute, I could do that. Again, I might not be able to give a great talk, but I could definitely I could definitely give a middling talk that in my capacity. So then, a couple of weeks later, Dave Klein, who organizes Coco con o also said to me, hey, Laura, I'd really like you to come give a talk here, you should submit something. And having that vote of confidence from a conference organizers specifically inviting me and having seen this talk that was kind of so so but that I knew I would be able to do at least as well as, actually that that was what motivated me to get started. And honestly, that's something that keeps me. I don't know if this happens to you. But for me, I still start doubting myself before I'll give a talk right? I'll say Oh, like why? Why am I here? Does anybody want to see this? What if my talk is just really, really mediocre? And then I'll think, well, maybe my talk will be really mediocre. But there's going to be someone sitting in the audience has never given a talk before. And maybe she'll say like, whoa, whoa, I could do that. Then maybe she'll start speaking. And I'll inspire someone.
Tim Bourguignon 38:49
Someone that way?
Tim Bourguignon 38:51
Hmm. That's definitely my experience. I've given many talks in the past years. And some of them bombed completely. And I got really terrible ratings. not terrible, but
Tim Bourguignon 39:04
Tim Bourguignon 39:07
Tim Bourguignon 39:09
and at every one of those conference talks, there was at least one person who came after and say, well, thank you. There was amazing. And I realized something. And so even if the ratings at the end are really not not what I expected, and sometimes when when bananas, but sometimes it's not just not that day. There's always somebody who can be moved by that and just make this makes it worse. I mean, it's
Laura Savino 39:34
Yeah, it's true. That comes right back into the teaching where, you know, if if someone is able to get some value out of it, that's at the end of the day, that's what matters. That's my, one of my favorite things that Kathy zrs talks about is that she she has a blinding of the blog post called presentation skills considered harmful. And she talks about how the presentation Ultimately, it's not about you the presenter, it's, it's, it's about what the audience experiences. And so if if someone in the audience gets to learn something that that you succeeded because because it really was not about making yourself look good. It was about helping. It was about helping the other people in the room, huh?
Tim Bourguignon 40:21
Yeah, definitely. Um, well, we'll see still on the on the live performance. I heard your conditional breakpoints.
Laura Savino 40:30
Yes. It's true. It was a a dream of mine. I guess a little background because somehow not everybody is familiar with the Billboard chart topping. James Dempsey and the break points. No, they actually did. They, he released an album that that charted in comedy. But yeah, he's he composes and performs original songs about programming. And he's just a brilliant performer, like you picture an engineer performing songs about programming. And you might think like, Oh, I bet there'll be a little bit funny. But you're not picturing somebody who is a master performer as well. And James is he just blows it totally out of the park. And, but yeah, as he performs there, it used to just be him. When he was an engineer at Apple, he would sit at the end, he would present at WWDC, he would present some new API. And then at the end of it, he would sit with with his guitar and sing a song about the API that he had just introduced. One of my favorites is, I love you, which is about it's a country song that is a about how much he loves NSU
Tim Bourguignon 42:02
amazing, they're all amazing.
Laura Savino 42:05
But so that's that was how he got started, and now has this whole band made up of that as James goes around a different conference country, he'll have basically a, a pickup band of whatever developers are at the conference who also play instruments. And then they will, they will play along with him, they'll practice a little bit and then they'll be what he calls a breakpoint jam. And if you only if you only perform with a band, sometimes you're a conditional breakpoint. That's it, that's what I
Tim Bourguignon 42:40
was an instrument that you play.
Laura Savino 42:44
So I've mostly I got my start doing backup vocals. And actually just recently learned guitar, which is another awesome thing about these breakpoints shows is that several of us who play with jeans, our first ever public, our performance has been as part of, of a, a breakpoint jam. So it's been just an awesome way to get new, brand new musicians out there and getting to perform at while singing songs.
Tim Bourguignon 43:18
Tim Bourguignon 43:20
Um, how was it going on stage was something different than than doing public speaking.
Laura Savino 43:30
So I, I did a lot of espionage in high school and I've been in choirs for kind of forever and I used to play piano so that the stage thing was pretty cool for me. But the main difference was singing, singing on stage in a way that other people could hear me I guess as a not exactly a soloist but people could definitely hear my voice and that I was surprised to realize how much being nervous affected my ability to like use my use my core muscle support the sound and not that I didn't go off pitch got to learn a lot more about how to listen and how to stay on key and how to sometimes make mistakes and then not actually worry about it. Because it's it's just so much fun.
Tim Bourguignon 44:26
I can relate to that. I had a couple talks with bigger audiences cetera. And you can hear it in the first words you say you can feel the the emotion rushing through and then on the stage, fright, rushing through and then you just make a pause and three seconds later you're on it and everything is fine. But I picture that singing you just cannot post you have to continue and I'm just freaked out doing this.
Laura Savino 44:58
I mean, maybe maybe you'll through one of your other conferences, instead of doing a poetry slam, maybe you'll have, like, a little a little ditty that you say, to get to convince people to talk to each other.
Tim Bourguignon 45:13
Um, I'm putting that on my on my not to do list.
Tim Bourguignon 45:19
Tim Bourguignon 45:21
No, never say no, never say no. No. It could be it could be, could be something I need to. I need to ponder that. So
Tim Bourguignon 45:31
I'm great. Great.
Tim Bourguignon 45:34
Will you will you be playing for the for the breakpoints in at 1.0.
Tim Bourguignon 45:37
Laura Savino 45:39
every time that James invites me, I jumped at the chance. So it's that we just performed at dub dub DC last week, which was awesome. We raised 30, I think we met our goal of $35,000 for apt camp for girls, which was amazing. It was a fundraiser conference or a fundraiser concert. And he said that he would be back next year if they'd have him. So I, I've got my fingers crossed, that
Tim Bourguignon 46:10
I'll be able to do it again. And he feeds back when you're back as well.
Tim Bourguignon 46:14
Laura Savino 46:16
It has me I don't I don't want to presume. Okay. And it's just been a wonderful way of getting to know other developers in the community. There's people like, like, john Fox plays the drums, I'm sure he said, fabulous technologist in a lot of ways, but I literally only know him as a drummer. So it's, it's a great way to get get together with other nerds and just get to make music. Cool.
Tim Bourguignon 46:43
Cool. Um, you just spoke about the app camp for girls. What is this?
Laura Savino 46:50
Ah, yeah, so it is a US organization that puts on week long day camps for seventh and eighth grade girls, which is, I guess, 1314. So go. And they learn within the week, they learn their way around Xcode, and actually follow follow a template to make an app that they present to a a board of potential investors, but by the end of the week, well, yeah, it's, it's a really great chance to it gets, it gets kids at that age, who might otherwise not think of themselves as being being technical people it really gets, it gives them a chance to use real developer make something we we show them that, you know, design is part of apps. And so a lot of them get to draw, because they draw all of their app icons are hand drawn on paper and scanning, which just gives them this amazing look. But then on the other side of that, so I mean, people talk a lot about how like, yes, there are way fewer women in tech than there should be. And so one way that some folks are trying to solve that is by getting girls more involved in programming earlier on. But something else that we all know is true is that there's lots of women who start off in tech, and then leave very quickly for a lot of reasons. And, to me, one of my favorite parts about app camp for girls is actually the support that it gives to all of all of the mid career and early career women who participate as team leads as as lead developers as organizers, and who get to get together and just meet some amazing people in the field who are doing excellent work that you might not get a chance to interact with otherwise. So I think it just gets great support across the board.
Tim Bourguignon 49:07
Not just for the attendees, but also some kind of networking and and cross functional support for the for the organizers as well.
Laura Savino 49:14
Absolutely. And so
Tim Bourguignon 49:16
you've been you've been actively organizing this beyond during fundraising, right?
Laura Savino 49:21
So I I participate in I kind of a floating volunteer, in whatever ways they need me. I've led a couple of workshops in Seattle teaching the teaching the campers, how to ask a good technical question, rather than, you know, you don't just wave your arms and say, I need help. But you say, Okay, here's what I'm trying to do. Here's what I tried. Here's what I expected to happen, you know, teaching them workshops that way. I was the lead developer in Portland last year for one of their camps, which meant that I got to show the campers how to use x code and also answer some technical questions, but Not so many that, you know, I couldn't just give the answers to people. So that it was really a teaching moment. And this year, we have a brand new camp in Chicago, that I'll just be behind the scenes, helping the people who are the the organizers, and that boots on the ground sorts of folks there. be providing backup for them along with Jean McDonald.
Tim Bourguignon 50:27
Cool. Cool. Cool.
Tim Bourguignon 50:30
I love how we've been talking for a very long time, without mentioning much about code, but talking about tech the whole time.
Tim Bourguignon 50:38
Tim Bourguignon 50:43
Um, did we miss something? Did you want to speak about something that we didn't
Tim Bourguignon 50:49
Laura Savino 50:50
No, I think this was a this was a wide ranging conversation.
Tim Bourguignon 50:56
Um, where can we find more about you?
Laura Savino 51:00
So I have a my my website is Savannah. law.com. That's just my last name is Avi i n o la.com. And that's why I'm on Twitter and most things.
Tim Bourguignon 51:19
Okay, um, do you have some some talks coming or something you want to play?
Laura Savino 51:24
Ah, I The next thing that, that I really want to plug it. I think I already mentioned that this. This app camp in Chicago is coming up. As of as of right now. mid June 2017. We still have a couple spots open for campers. So if if participating in that kind of Camp is something that people would would be interested in Chicago, Chicago based kids, that's definitely something to, to check out. And to spread the word about. The dates for that are it's it's late July. So that will be I should have this on the tip of my tongue. But I don't want to lie to you. So yeah, July 24. to July 28. There's that and it's, it's always exciting in a brand new city to to go in and get to know the local development community there.
Tim Bourguignon 52:30
Tim Bourguignon 52:31
you'll be heading there yourself.
Tim Bourguignon 52:33
Yeah, yep. Oh, cool.
Tim Bourguignon 52:37
Cool. I spent a half a year in Chicago. Oh, 2750. Nice. That was gorgeous. I really love the city.
Laura Savino 52:45
Yeah. Well, but if you know, people who have got 1314 year old girls, seven.
Tim Bourguignon 52:56
I think it's not long enough.
Tim Bourguignon 53:00
It's been only 10 years. So I Seaton but I'll put the I'll put the link in the show notes and all the information. So so getting to this can you can pass it on? Well, thank you very much, Laura. That was an incredible talk. We
Laura Savino 53:19
thanks for taking the time. I really appreciate it.
Tim Bourguignon 53:22
And we'll speak again sometime on developer's journey, I'm sure.
Tim Bourguignon 53:27
Looking forward to it. Thank you very much. Hey, have a good one. Bye. Bye.