One month, nine events

Or how I almost burnt myself by taking on too many things at once.

Two weeks ago I was fully depleted of energy, laying on bed with a jumbo-sized headache. Thinking about my list of commitments made me anxious.

My life is ruled by the almighty Google Calendar. I plan everything around it. If something’s not there, it doesn’t exist. Or it does in the back of my mind, making me scared of forgetting about it until I write it down on my calendar where I can find a time to deal with it.

I thought I was doing great, but when April started and I looked at the calendar I new I had fucked up.

This was tweeted in the middle of the two week breakdown

I was way overbooked and there was no way of backup up. The only thing I could do was power trough it and take notes to make sure I didn’t end up like this again.

Some of the commitments in that calendar needed more preparation, like finding slots for doctor’s and veterinary’s appointments, book taxis in the middle of a metro strike in Barcelona, make traveling arrangements for two trips (one with my cat in tow) and find a way of waking up at 8:00 AM every Saturday. I hate waking up early.

The main reason I was overwhelmed is that everything in this month was a commitment I made to someone else. There was a ton of people counting on me.

Google Developers’ Study jams are events promoted by Google. The main goal is to get the local community up to speed in a specific Google technology.

Last year I was a student/participant at the Android Fundamentals Study Jam hosted by GDG Barcelona and I loved the group mentality and overall feeling of the sessions. This year, I though, it would be great to host an Android Study Jam in Vigo, which is close to where I spend most of my time now.

The plan was to have 5 sessions on Saturdays so we could have as much people as possible. We had 30 people register their interest, 17 signed up for the course, 12 actually showed up to the events and 7 finished the whole thing.

Hosting this took over 30h of my time. It made me forgo all of my Saturday mornings for April. It made me plan my trips so I was in Galicia every weekend, which was a challenge in itself. Thankfully, I wasn’t alone during the sessions as my friend Ismael Reyes was helping me out by solving student’s questions on slack and in person. Thanks a lot, Isma!

Overall, I feel pretty happy about the finishing rate. Galicia is a small place and it’s a lot more difficult to gather people around tech events so having a 50%+ rate of completion is good enough for me.

Now that we’re done, I can write a cool recap e-mail with pics of the group and their finished apps. That way I can to try to get the 250+ GDG Vigo’s Meetup members jealous and that maybe we’ll have a better attendance next time we do a free course :)

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The finalists. Don’t they look smug as heck?

This event was on the 7th of April. The night before the biggest event for me this month. I was really nervous about the next day. Thankfully, this one was organised entirely by my co-organiser Juan Diego and I only had to show up for it. Still, that took almost 4h of driving.

Presenting along with Juan Diego.

The speakers were nice. I liked David Pombar’s talk about cutting shortcuts and using 3rd party tools instead of programming everything ourselves. The networking event was great. I had some time to catch up with many of the attendees (and try to lure them into talking at some of the events I host).

After helping out tidying up and driving back home, it was 3:30 a.m. when I finally got to bed that day, right before the big event.

I’ve already written about it here, My first 100+ people conference. Long story short, hosting an all-women speakers conference in a small place like Galicia is hard. Still, we managed to gather 105 attendees and got some great feedback.

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Not too bad, huh? :)

Recovering from this event took a long time. Right after we finished this, we had dinner with one of the speakers to keep her company. I ended up going to bed really late again knowing that I had to wake up at 8 to host the next session of the Android StudyJam.

As always, we were hosted at the amazing Mobile World Centre, right in downtown Barcelona, by Plaça Catalunya. The first talk by Cristian Monforte was an overview of Realm, a database for Android and iOS.

Cristian’s talk was a fun one and it was also very opinionated, explaining the reasoning behind his remarks about Realm’s best practices and advice. Really insightful, I’m sure he saved someone hours of debugging weird behaviours and weighing decisions.

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Cristian showing off Realm

Then we had Tim Perry talking about his side project, Build Focus, a Pomodoro timer for your browser with a gamification twist.

It’s been months since I’ve started using Build Focus and I really want everyone to try it. It hooks you into the focus-break cycle like no other tool I’ve tried. Everyone I’ve introduced it to has fell in love with it.

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What kind of monster would break his/her concentration and let this beautiful city be destroyed?

After some beer-powered networking, it was time to wrap up.

We had our first community use case, and the company presenting was none other that Wallapop. They put an amazing reception for us with beers and snacks, even some pizzas.

My friend Ismael Benitez helped me set this one up, although he couldn’t join us for the event. Thanks for the help, Isma! :) (that’s two different Ismaels)

Ansible is a DevOps tool that allows companies to automate almost anything in their operations. The Wallapop use case showed the growing pains of a startup and how tools like Ansible helped them become more streamlined and keep their infrastructure under control.

The crowd was amazing, we had 70+ people, including well-known community speakers who threw in a couple of good questions to spark some debate.

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José Luis, Senior DevOps at Wallapop, presenting their Ansible use case

After the presentation, we had some great networking time as most people stayed. I’m pretty sure the beers had something to do with it. We discussed different scenarios and many people shared how they were feeling after getting started with Ansible not that long ago. It seems that everyone is pretty happy with it so if you’re on the fence about giving it a go, just know that everyone is having a good time with it :)

This Saturday we had the last Android Study Jam session. I got home and felt all the tension and anxiety go away. I’d done it.

Looking back I can’t help to feel proud. Sure, there’s always some (or a lot of) room for improvement, but all in all, I’ve managed to finish a tremendous amount of work. This was the month I’ve delivered a big project while helping out with at a couple of smaller ones, attended two local events while I also hosted 9 different events in 3 different cities, 1.000 km apart from each other.

Doing this once was enough. Going forward, I have to make sure I manage my time a lot better. May is looking good, having said yes to only a couple of events, but June and July are already feeling a bit too full. I’ll have to keep an eye out and not get myself into one of this months.

Remote Software Developer. Co-founder Lighthorse, Navigo. https://orestes.io

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