2011
04.22

A week has passed since I attended Notacon 8 in Cleveland Ohio. Not only did I go, I got to speak on my own and with my son. In 2010 I attended my first Notacon, which also happened to be my first ever public speaking experience. The experience was phenomenal and so I knew I not only wanted to go back this year, I also wanted to speak again. If you haven’t been to Notacon before you are truly missing an experience. You never feel like you have to be anywhere, but you want to be everywhere. Because of this laid back type of atmosphere you also get to connect with people in so many ways. So as I prepared my talk proposal for this year, my son came to me and said he wanted to do a talk with me. Being that my son was 9, I was a little taken back.

Just so my son wouldn’t be completely heartbroken I contacted the organizers and asked if they would even consider a talk given by a 9 year old and his father. The response I got back was what I would expect from the organizers “If it is interesting, absolutely.” With that out of the way my son and I sat down and hashed out our talk proposal which we then submitted. I also submitted a similar proposal for a talk I was submitting to BSides Cleveland. When I got the email that my son and I had been selected to give our joint talk I ran into my sons room and woke him up, or should I say he leaped out of bed and started shaking with joy. Over the next few months we outlined, rehearsed, and designed the slides.

The day of our talk came and we set out for our adventure. Our talk was going to be very early in the day so my son, and mostly myself, would not have time to get nervous. We decided that since our talk was titled “One Bad Cookie” we should bring cookies to hand out. From my point of view the talk went very well as my son eased into his thoughts and talked like it was just us having the same conversation we had been practicing the last two weeks. The audience was great, and more importantly through out the day everyone who we came in contact was welcoming to my son. He wasn’t the only kid there, but he wouldn’t have felt out of place even if he was. That is what makes Notacon such a great, local for me, event that I will always find time for in my schedule to go to.

When the video is available I will post it here and would love to hear any and all feedback. If you weren’t in the talk let me give you a teaser. There are things that make us aware we want to make something better, and in our youth we have the spirit to tackle those challenges. As adults we need to not only recapture that spirit, we need to help foster and not push to hard to make kids just like us. I don’t want to give the rest away so you will just have to wait a little longer to see it with your own eyes.

There are two ways I know this years Notacon was a success. First, I came away with a renewed passion to want to learn more, and expand into places I hadn’t thought of before. Second, my son walked out of our talk and wondered what we could present on next year. Not only did he ask that, he has been asking questions about what he learned and wants to know more. So this is a big thank you to all the people in the planning, execution, and participation of Notacon 8! You all know how to make a con not a con.