Last week I had the pleasure of attending TechBash 2023 at the Kalahari Poconos. This was my second time attending TechBash as a speaker and my first time working the Uno Platform booth. I had a great time and I wanted to share some of my experiences.
Uno Platform Booth
Me, Matthew Mattei, and the legendary Sam Basu at the Uno Platform booth
This was my first time working a booth at a conference and it was a lot more fun than I expected. As an introvert, I thought it was going to be horribly awkward the entire time but THANK GOD for Matthew (@matteiomattei), our amazing marketing/sales/advocate guru. I feel like we were a good tag team, I would jump in to answer any of the technical questions or overall explanation of what Uno Platform is and then I would tap him in whenever there were questions related to adoption, history, etc.
Whenever I would, inevitably, forget to mention something like the fact that we are free and open-source, Matthew would jump on it and fill in the gaps. He was dedicated to making sure every single person at that conference left with a Uno Platform t-shirt.
We also got to hang around with the other booth…“hosts”? Including Sam Basu (@samidip) from Progress Telerik! I actually know Sam from my days living in Columbus, Ohio where we used to host a user group together. It was great to see him again and I was even invited onto his livestream for a future date to talk about some of the cool new stuff in Uno Platform!
TechBash kicked off on Tuesday, November 7th with the pre-conference workshops where Andres Pineda (@ajpinedam) and myself facilitated the inaugural run of the Uno Platform TubePlayer Workshop. This workshop was designed to be a hands-on introduction to Uno Platform and its capabilities. It is focused on building a cross-platform YouTube player app using the YouTube API and features from Uno such as C# Markup and the Uno Platform for Figma Plugin for generating most of the UI.
Unfortunately, since we were a very late addition to the list of workshops, we didn’t have a lot of time to promote it and we only had a handful of attendees. However, the attendees that we did have were very engaged and we got some great feedback on the workshop. We are planning on running this workshop again at future conferences and meetups so keep an eye out for it!
Uno Platform Talk
Me giving my talk on Uno Platform at TechBash 2023
On the second day of the conference, I gave my intro talk on Uno Platform. There was A LOT of ground to cover as I wanted to highlight everything that was announced as part of the Uno Platform 5.0 release. That meant covering C# Markup, the Uno Platform for Figma Plugin, Hot Reload for C# and XAML, our MVUX extension, and more. What I really wanted to do was roll all of those topics up into a single demo app that I could build live on stage and explain the concepts as I went. I was able to get through it all as well as highlight some other cool things, like MAUI Embedding, but it was tight and I FLEW through it. I’ve heard my talk described as “drinking from a firehose” and I think that’s pretty accurate.
I really need to work on how to slow the pace of my talk down. I think I get so excited about the topic that I just want to get it all out there as fast as possible. I need to work on a better narrative for the talk, and a better flow. It’s just so hard to focus on only a few features when I want to show everyone everything! However, I did get some really good advice from a few people that I should break the talk up into multiple sessions, each one focusing on a smaller subset of features. My task for the next few weeks is to work out a few different talks that I can give to spread the information out a bit more. Perhaps a very high-level, general, “What is Uno Platform” talk and then a few more focused talks on specific features like C# Markup, MVUX, etc.
Networking is my kryptonite, I suck at it. What I usually do at conferences is hermit up in my room and work/rewatch old episodes of Parks and Recreation. This time, however, I made a conscious effort to get out there and meet people. Basically, I was forced to socialize at least somewhat by the fact that Matthew and Andres were there with me and it’s not like I was going to avoid them and eat meals by myself, although that does sound like something I would do.
The first night, I hopped on the TechBash Slack and asked what people were planning for the evening and the Uno Platform team ended up hanging out with a bunch of other speakers at Barkely Creek Brewery. We are now known as “The Canadians” to many of the speakers and it was a really good time. We talked about all kinds of things, not just tech, things like Taylor Swift, how Americans pronounce the word “gyro”, hockey, etc.
The next day, I got to eat lunch at the same table as Kathleen Dollard (@KathleenDollard), Program Manager at Microsoft for C# and the .NET CLI! What an experience! Absolutely one of the smartest and coolest people I’ve ever met. Kathleen is such an interesting person and she could honestly talk to you on any subject for HOURS without stopping. She seemed genuinely happy to talk to me and was so pleased when I told her I was still in the early stages of my speaking career. She gave me some amazing advice and really encouraged me to keep at it. The most important thing she told me was to pace myself. “Pause!” she said, “Pause and let people think about what you just said. Pause and let them catch up. Have a glass of water to drink from, you can even just fake drink from it, just force yourself to take pauses.” KD is the GOAT
The following night was Game Night where I got to spend some time with Joe Guadagno (@jguadagno), a friend of Uno Platform and all around great guy. He’s the one who gave me the great advice to break my talk up into multiple sessions since he was in attendance at my talk and saw how much I was trying to cram into it. I am planning on reaching out to Joe to pick his brain on how he structures his talk on Uno Platform and what he thinks are the biggest topics to hit.
CAN’T GO TO SCRANTON WITHOUT VISITING THE OFFICE MURAL!
The conference took place 30 minutes away from Scranton, PA so I couldn’t resist visiting classic locations from The Office such as:
The Penn Paper Tower
Boscov’s at the Steamtown Mall
Close your mouth, sweetie. You look like a trout.
All in all, a great trip :)
This was a long-ass blog post, so I’m not gonna drag it on any further. If you made it this far, toodles .