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From the other side

Careful! This post is looking a little old and could be inaccurate in many, many ways

So another Think Visibility is over and as always Dom and the team brought their now infamous mix of learning and piss yourself laughing fun and then dialled it up to 11.

Though the escapades of Think Vis 5 will always be hard to beat this certainly comes in a close second for me. Ideas such a bouncy castle in a casino and Chewbacca (of Star Wars fame) speaking about anchor text can only come from the ever so slightly twisted mind of Dominic Hodgson, or at the very least he’s the only man with the balls to ever go through with it.

Something different

But this year was always going to be a little different for me as this year I was one of the lucky few to get my face on some pick ‘n’ mix (Rhubarb and Custard btw). If you don’t know what this means, it means I was one of the speakers.

I got asked a few times why I’d decided to do it and the most useful answer was I just had to see if I could do it. I look at other people presenting and think it’s a nice way to be recognised by your peers and so I thought I should put myself outside of my comfort zone and give it a go.

The Presentation

Here’s the actual presentation I did, and it’s a little useless on its own. But luckily it’s based on this article, which got remixed into this infographic.

If these together still leave some blanks then tweet or email me and I’d be happy to try and fill some in.

I bit of drowning does us good, right?

Before I presented I was worried I wasn’t more terrified. I had my presentation done, I knew what I was going to say and had some notes just in case. Everything went fine till I turned on the microphone and suddenly bottled it, got nervous and forgot most of what I wanted to say.
Notes became things to shuffle while trying to get my brain in order, water was another useful distraction as well as a necessary addition otherwise I’d not have lasted. But in the end I survived and got through it.

I know it wasn’t slick; I’d have been a fool to think it would have been. I paused too much, forgot to say certain things and over elaborated on others. I dropped some jokey bits as I knew they’d have to be played with more confidence to get the right reaction. Some of the things I did include were a little hit and miss too so I was best to avoid trying too hard.

When talking to people afterwards it seemed people easily picked up on my nerves but said I did settle down after a while so that’s good. Other comments included a lack of examples in places and a little too much explaining what I was going to talk about rather than just doing it. I think this is possible a case of me trying to over justify the reason for talking about design in an SEO conference.

But it’s the day after now and all in I’m glad I did it. As they say it’s better to try and fail (which I don’t think I did) then to not try at all.

Would I do it again though? I’d love to be able to do it better and without the nerves but I could try 100 times and possibly never get to that point. Let’s just say given the opportunity and the right topic I’d probably give it another shot.


I should also thank the people that turned up to the session, I expected it might be a fairly low turnout but there were more than I expected, and of course I had @douglasradburn, @juliankay and a few others quietly sat in the front row for friendly moral support.

Also big thanks to @carla_marshall, it’s weird but I kept seeing her nod along though the talk which really helped.

The After party

I have to quickly mention the after party. Between learning I can’t drive race cars drunk, playing in a bouncy castle ball pit and trying my best to win the poker tournament it was loads of fun. Made even better by the company of @stuSEOlong and @joe_griffiths2 from branded3 (though different things I seem to be slowly meeting and collecting branded3 people).

My only disappointment is that on returning for a second go in the bouncy castle it was already closed. But returning to the frankly beautiful hotel room I got for being a speaker made up for it.


If anyone saw the talk or has looked through the presentation above and has any questions feel free to contact me either here or through twitter.