The rectangle behind you

Introduction to the series

I give talks. I usually enjoy giving talks. Very rarely, I get paid to give talks, which I guess makes me a professional…

…although I still rarely feel like one. I speak too fast, I make shitty eye contact, and I throw in “you know” and “right…?” much too often.

But I also like treating my talks — and their slide decks — as opportunities to create my own little universes. About 14 years ago, I started making most of my slides as HTML apps rather than powerpoints or keynotes. I’ve played with some unusual transitions, tried to engage the audience, wrote a lot of custom code, and up until today I continue experimenting with one goal in mind: to use technology to make talks more magical — to surprise, to delight, to enhance what I’m talking about, to make that rectangle behind me appear to have special powers no one suspected it of having.

I was the original author of the HTML5 slide deck and Google HTML5 slide template. A few times, I controlled my talk with a Nintendo Power Glove. Once, my computer fell off a podium and people thought I did it on purpose. Some other time, I made a movie theatre audience of 100+ people spend three hours looking at a website… and they didn’t even know. What I mean to say: I have a lot of fun giving talks, and maybe you’ll find some fun in here, too.

Of the talks I gave, I’m most happy with these three: