Twinkle Twinkle I’m back from STAR

It’s Thursday night, and I have just returned home from STAR East. Lee Copeland said that he thought it was the best STAR conference ever, and I know many who agreed with him. As for me, I had a great time, but was a bit too distracted from trying not to suck at my keynote that I couldn’t take it in as well as I hoped. I give a lot of presentations, and can’t remember the last time I was nervous before a presentation – but I was a bit nervous before my Wednesday afternoon keynote. I thought I had reasonable material, and I’m usually pretty good at keeping thoughts straight in my head, but I would be talking to a room filled with peers who I really respect. I’ve given keynotes before (not at STAR), and presented to large groups before, but if I messed up (or worse, if I was boring), I knew that there were people in the audience who would talk about me on the internet! I once gave a keynote a few years ago and I had the distinction of following Joel Spolsky (I’m fairly certain he was a lot better than me, but at least nobody tweeted aboutit).On top of that, Elisabeth Hendrickson gave what was probably the best presentation I’d ever seen on Wednesday morning in her keynote session, so I was feeling sort of intimidated,So, I tweaked a little more, and went through my slides a bit more than I usually do. Then I paced. I never pace… – but I did more laps than I’d like to admit around that ballroom while I got my act together.

Then, for the next fifty minutes, I told some stories and shared a few ideas with several hundred of my best friends in testing.

And no one booed!

But it’s better than that. Some of those same respected colleagues ( those responsible for my nervousness) told me that they liked the presentation – that was very nice to hear, and each of those comments were probably the highlight of my week.

But there were other highpoints from the week – I met at least half a dozen people that I knew from twitter and blogs, but had never met in person before – each and every one of these meetings was a memorable moment for me and more good memories. Joey McAllister and I had dinner Wednesday and talked about music (a part of my life that I don’t get to talk about enough), and I got to talk to Lanette and Matt a bit more about details of my recent job change. I signed a few copies of hwtsam, but also signed Beautiful Testing for the first time (and second, third, and fourth times too).

And now it’s back to reality of my day job. For the first time I can remember, I have no conference plans on my calendar (or any business travel for that matter). I finished a chapter for Dot Graham’s upcoming compilation last week, and have no other (external) writing projects lined up (except this blog). This is good, because I have a lot of really cool work on my plate, a great team and a pretty awesome product to ship. Fun stuff.


  1. Shame I missed it. I recall one of your STAR presentations from a few years back was pretty good. Did anyone notice the hair regrowth? [grin]
    Would have loved to have been at the music discussion dinner too…

  2. You have been worrying unnecessarily. I think that you could give a good presentation on testing even if someone just woke you up from sleep 🙂

  3. Alan, I was at your talk. You did fantastic. I have to say your talk hit home for me the most of the whole conference.

    When I talk of the conference with my co-workers your keynote will be the first one that I reference and discuss.

    FYI I was one of the persons that was standing till the end, then at the end I was the one who didn’t end up winning a book. 🙁

    Thanks for you insight and entertainment.

  4. One more thing, Alan. That video you sent at the begining of the Keynote. Is that available for me to share with my Department. I loved it.

  5. I’m bummed I never actually got to MEET you though we were both there – just too much to do in too short a time! But I really enjoyed your keynote! I usually hate keynotes (in fact I usually skip them), but this StarEast there was lots of joy in that department!

    • I’m bummed too – but I’m sure our paths will cross again soon enough.

      Thanks for the comment – glad you enjoyed the keynote!


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