I Have No Talent (redux)

A few months back I wrote a post about my lack of talent. It seemed to really resonate with people, so when I was asked to keynote the Great Lakes Ruby Bash, I figured it would be a good topic.

This was my first presentation without a single line of code. Because of that, I was more nervous than usual beforehand, but once I got going it was a lot of fun. If I ever do the talk again, I think I will spend time strengthening the end as it was a bit anti-climatic. Feel free to flip through the slides below.

If you attended GLRB, please provide a rating and some feedback on Speaker Rate.

Upcoming Talks

GLRB was the first of a few talks I have upcoming. Next week, I’ll be speaking on Building Evented Single Page Applications (again) at jQueryConf in San Francisco. Rather than go home, I will be bumming around SF until the week after where I will be speaking at MongoSF on MongoMapper. If you are attending either, be sure to say hi!

San Francisco Recommendations

Also, this is my first trip to San Francisco, so any recommendations on what to see and where to eat would be appreciated. Steve and I will both be going and bring our wives for part of the trip.

12 Comments

  1. “You don’t learn by gliding”

    That slide really hit home.

  2. Very nice presentation, and I had all my students read your original article (it is required reading!).

    As a university lecturer, I deal with these issues constantly. Students (or their parents) pay for a degree and treat struggle as something negative: “just tell me the answer so I can get my degree and move on”. When students stumble on a problem, they come to me asking for the answer immediately. I always send them back empty handed, unless I know they have struggled genuinely. I give marks for wrong answers if I know the student struggled! In every case, I see students that have struggled do much better than all the rest.

    I should not blame the students only. I see every day lecturers and teachers bending over backwards to make learning as trouble-less as possible so that they don’t get a bad review at semester end or who knows what else.

    A system error? How come people need arguments and convincing that ambition and success is not possible without struggle?

  3. Very nice presentation, and I had all my students read your original article (it is required reading!).

    As a university lecturer, I deal with these issues constantly. Students (or their parents) pay for a degree and treat struggle as something negative: “just tell me the answer so I can get my degree and move on”. When students stumble on a problem, they come to me asking for the answer immediately. I always send them back empty handed, unless I know they have struggled genuinely. I give marks for wrong answers if I know the student struggled! In every case, I see students that have struggled do much better than all the rest.

    I should not blame the students only. I see every day lecturers and teachers bending over backwards to make learning as trouble-less as possible so that they don’t get a bad review at semester end or who knows what else.

    A system error? How come people need arguments and convincing that ambition and success is not possible without struggle?

  4. Very nice presentation. Your original post really resonated with me…

    I just came back from a conference in San Francisco a couple of days ago. If you are staying in the Union Square area (near the Apple Flagship Store if you need a landmark), here’s a couple of places that were amazing:

    1) Brenda’s French Soul Food , has seating for about 25 people, only open for breakfast and serves cajun food. Get the crawfish beignets.

    2) Gracias Madre , hop on the subway and get off at 16th & Mission, walk a couple of blocks through the hispanic neighborhood. Fair warning, this is a vegan mexican restaurant. I didn’t realize this until I was seated at the bar, and I almost left because I was looking for meat… so glad that I stayed though, one of the best meals I’ve had in a long time, even if you’re not vegan. If you don’t feel like trying this place, as I was told by a local, “get a burrito” anywhere in this neighborhood.

    3) Boudin Bakery , yes it’s a little touristy but the chowder in a bread bowl is amazing.

    4) Scoma’s , heard this was good from a local but didn’t go there myself.

  5. John,
    As a programmer, I find your articles extremely useful on so many levels. It’s good to see that other people feel like they have a lot to learn in the wonderful world of programming.

    I’ve lived in SF since October, check out:

    1) The Blue Plate (http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-blue-plate-san-francisco)

    2) Foreign Cinema (http://www.yelp.com/biz/foreign-cinema-san-francisco)

    or

    3) Baker Street Bistro (http://www.yelp.com/biz/baker-street-bistro-san-francisco)

    Enjoy!
    Taylor

  6. John,
    As a programmer, I find your articles extremely useful on so many levels. It’s good to see that other people feel like they have a lot to learn in the wonderful world of programming.

    I’ve lived in SF since October, check out:

    1) The Blue Plate (http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-blue-plate-san-francisco)

    2) Foreign Cinema (http://www.yelp.com/biz/foreign-cinema-san-francisco)

    or

    3) Baker Street Bistro (http://www.yelp.com/biz/baker-street-bistro-san-francisco)

    Enjoy!
    Taylor

  7. Another great read on this topic is Life is not a game of perfect by Dr. Bob Rotella. My favourite quote from the book: “There’s only one way to coast: downhill”.

  8. Looks very creative! :)

    I liked the phrase about great companies – what to do and what not to do. :)

  9. John,

    Thanks again for speaking at GLRB! It was great to have you there.

    I’ve been to SF once, and I very highly recommend Blue Bottle Coffee in SoMa

    http://www.bluebottlecoffee.net/

    It will knock your socks off.

  10. I came across the following and it reminded me of this post.

    http://jasonlbaptiste.com/personal/advice-12-year/

  11. Thanks for this presentation. I’m still practicing, some times even deliberately.

  12. SjfzVx wow, awesome article post.Much thanks again. Keep writing.

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Authored by John Nunemaker (Noo-neh-maker), a web developer and programmer who has fallen deeply in love with Ruby. More about John.

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