Oh What a Week!

Oh What a Week! June 5th, 2015, by Matthew Setter

It's been an interesting week, this week. I'm not sure whether you'd call it hardening up, or putting my money where my mouth is really. Regardless, it's been a good one! Why, you may ask? Well it's been great for three reasons...

It’s been an interesting week, this week. I’m not sure whether you’d call it hardening up, or putting my money where my mouth is really. Regardless, it’s been a good one! Why, you may ask? Well it’s been great for three reasons.

Firstly, I’ve settled in, mostly, to my new office, which is in the top floor of the new family home, here in Wendelstein, in southern Germany. Secondly, I put three talk abstracts up on help me abstract. And thirdly, I was on the radio.

The New Office

My wife and I have been happily living in the neighbouring city to Nuremberg, called Fürth, since we first arrived in Germany, about 3 years ago. But with a growing family, of 3, the home office had become a corner in the bedroom, as the spare room was given over to our daughter, some months ago.

Whilst it worked, there was really no separation of home and work. Everything blurred in together, any sound from the rest of the apartment came in, and anyone could just pop in at any time. So it became difficult, frustrating even, to know when I was at home, and when I was “at work”.

Sure, I made great strides in bringing on new freelance clients, and was pumping out work like never before. But knowing when work was over was hard. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s had this experience. So for that, and a variety of other reasons, we made the decision to move to a bigger place, where one of the key criteria was that I would have a dedicated room for use as my office, ideally on its own floor.

Well, after quite a lot of effort, it’s done! I can now look out my window, at an area virtually backing on to the Bavarian wilderness, and work away, knowing that when I’m in here, I’m working, and when I leave the room, work’s either finished, or on hold for a while. OK, a lot of self-discipline’s required to ensure the distinction’s made too.

Conference Talk Abstracts

Now to the talk abstracts. I was asked by the wonderful Beth Tucker-Long, who I’m eternally indebted to for so many reasons, at PHP UK Conference (my tech Mecca), about 2 years ago, as to when I’m going to be up on stage speaking. My initial reaction was to look for any, and all, excuses possible to get out of doing so, mainly because of my nerves and self-consciousness.

In true form however, Beth shot all of them down, at a rapid rate. So the seed was planted, and began to gestate in my mind about what, in time, I’d talk about. In typical fashion though, I sat on it for ages, always intending to do something about it, but never actually doing so.

At this year’s PHP UK Conference, I said to Beth that I now had the goal of being accepted at a conference, at the latest of somewhere in 2016. Once again though, I sat on it again, doing nothing effective.

But then I received an email from Eli White, Conference Chair of php[world] conference, in Washington D.C., and a follow up from Oscar Merida, Editor-in-Chief of PHP|Arch magazine, asking if I was going to get some talk abstracts in. Something clicked. I actually took action!

I remembered that there was a site, where you could submit your talk and get it reviewed by people with a lot of talking experience. Putting the question out there on Twitter quickly pointed me to HelpMeAbstract.com. So I’m very proud to say that, this morning, I submitted Gist links to three talk abstracts I’m hoping to give, at least one of, at php[world], this November.

Have I written the talks yet? No. But in each case, they’re ideas I’ve been thinking about for quite some time; up to two years in some cases. Now I’ve never spoken at a conference before, and I’ve submitted talks before and not made the cut – though I understand I almost made it in one case.

But you have to start somewhere. And the community, who’s started to become such a big part of my life, has been super encouraging. There’s so many people who I could thank, but special mentions have to go to Yitchok Willroth, Andreas Heigl, Beth Tucker-Long, Oscar Merida, Marco Pivetta, and of course, Gary Hockin. I hope I make my goal of getting accepted before the end of next year.

I Was On The Radio

Finally, I was on the radio. This week, yesterday in fact, I was on ABC Statewide Drive, for the second of a two-part series, called Once a Queenslander. The series talks to people who were born in Queensland, but who now call somewhere else home. Over two weeks Rob Mailer, the host, and I talked about what it was like growing up in Queensland, I was born in Rockhampton, where I worked, what prompted me to move away, and what it’s like where I’m living now.

I’ll spare you the rest, but suffice to say, it was an interesting, thought-provoking, and eye-opening experience. I see a lot of possibilities in being on the radio, perhaps on a regular basis, as well as getting on podcasts. Not only are they great opportunities to talk with like-minded people, on a range of topics, thrashing out great ideas, but they’re great for getting the word out about what you do, what’s coming up, and where you’re going, in a non-spammy way. Watch this space. More to come.


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