VR Performance Talk, and Public Speaking in General

I have a pattern of avoiding talks and interviews like the plague.

I'll never forget an experience I had at a previous job. I was working on a multithreading library with a coworker, and we each had equal input into its design and development. My male coworker gets up to go grab some coffee one day, and the CTO walks over to ask what I'm working on. I explain the ideas and motivations. He says it's an idiotic idea. He says he can do it better. He starts grilling me on basic concepts. When I explain more, he tells me the design is absurd. My coworker comes back, confused as to what's happening. The CTO asks him what this project is about. He calmly and confidently reiterates what I said. The CTO calms down, in fact starts to look a little worried that he might have a bad picture of the codebase after all. "Now that you put it that way, this is a great idea."

That is far from an isolated experience-- it's been a systemic, common problem.

So I usually keep my friends close and talk with them about tech, and avoid talking publicly about technical topics for fear of being torn down by people who are absolutely not judging me off of merit like that CTO.

I was asked to speak at a local women's Create-a-thon, and I accepted because it was a women's-only event and I felt it was extremely important to show other women that being a low-level graphics programmer was possible and fun work. I also love giving beginner-friendly lessons to others-- not nearly enough of that in my field. And lastly, I felt that if it was all women... maybe people would be nicer.

Days leading up to the event, I still couldn't shake my past experiences, I started to get sick to my stomach. Why did I agree to do this again?

In giving the talk and listening to other people talk, I almost wanted to cry from joy and relief. Nobody was speaking in technical terms not easily understood, no one tearing each other down. The room was full of junior coders, artists, people new to coding. It was all about collaboration, and friendliness. When someone didn't know something, there was no hint of ignoring them or scoffing them.

After my talk, people gathered around and said I should give more. I was overwhelmed by their kindness.

This is why women's-only events can be important.




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