Workshops

Developer Relations revelations: workshops are a lot of communication work

This is part of a series of posts about the life as a DevRel person and how not all is unicorns and roses. You can read the introduction and the other parts of the series here.

So, today, let’s talk about giving workshops.

Giving a workshop is very different to presenting and needs a different skillset. Whilst preparing a great talk already takes a lot of time, workshops are a different beast. As a rule of thumb, a good trainer spends eight hours research and preparation for each hour of a workshop.

Workshops are where you can’t fake anything. It is not enough to know the subject matter inside-out. You also need to deal with the attendees. Their requests, different speeds and knowledge levels. You need to lead the group and guide it. And you can’t do that if you don’t feel confident about the material or know much about the group you will teach.

Workshops are much less forgiving than presentations. Only a few people will complain about a bad presenter at a conference. It doesn’t feel like a waste of money to get the conference ticket when there was one dud. Workshops are much more expensive and more personal, that’s why criticism is harsher.

Conference organisers like having workshop days as they are much more profitable. Most of the ticket money of events needs to get into venue, catering, speaker fees and travel. Workshop ticket sales get shared with the teacher with a higher profit margin. Venues are often sponsored by companies. For freelance speakers this is great, as it means more money.

For a DevRel person it is trickier, as you represent a company and you have a different agenda. You need not to get people excited about your knowledge but also about the things you represent. That’s why it is also tougher to sell and fill a workshop as a DevRel person. Your workshops are seen as something that should be free and it is OK to put not as much effort in as an attendee. That doesn’t mean though that they are easier to create and run. At all.

With this increased pressure, it is tough to feel great about your workshops as a DevRel person. Your company will most likely want you to create a generic course. One that shows off the benefits of your products.

This makes sense, as it is an upfront investment of time and money. A lot of the products I worked with benefitted from workshops. You find gaps in the documentation, you see where people get lost, and what technical difficulties come up. All great opportunities to improve your product.

The great thing about generic courses is that they are reusable and measurable. The bad thing about them is that they make for disappointing workshops. You might as well have them online as a course with offline participation instead.

I feel a lot of worry about delivering workshops as they are important. Teaching is a tough job and a bad teacher can utterly mess up a subject. Remember school? All the topics taught by a great teacher are things I still love. All the topics run by a lackluster by-the-book teacher I had to re-learn later in life.

A workshop is much higher stress for you. Your passion, your excitement, your fearlessness to play make the course. It is uncommon to have “bad attendees” as they have a much bigger stake in the workshop than listening to a talk.

Your mistakes, your lack of passion, your sloppiness multiplies with the attendees. That’s why you need to be on your toes for the whole duration of the workshop.

The fun bit about teaching is to find out how people tick and what they need to understand something. It is not about telling them a lot of information and hope things stick. Humans keep information they found out on their own much more than those they had to memorise.

That’s why I want a workshop to be a real workshop. I want to know who will come, what their levels of knowledge are and have them set up their computers in advance. I might as well want X-Ray vision, as the sad fact is that often you need to face the following issues:

  • People who hired you expect you to give a five hour presentation showing a lot of technical demos for people to maybe take part in
  • You have no idea how many people and who will show up to your workshop
  • You face a room full of 50 people – no way you can help them individually or even pair them up to help each other
  • Half the people don’t come back after a break as their boss called them out to do “something important”
  • A large part of the group didn’t bring a computer or didn’t expect having to do anything
  • You end up being helpdesk for faulty computer configurations of the attendees’ computers
  • You end up being offline when most of your materials need a connection or are a download to start with

To run a successful workshop you need to prepare for these. That’s why it is much more important to be clear and demanding in your communication. People who invite you to give a workshop often want a detailed outline of it. Make sure that this also contains detailed information about the needs you have. Setup of the room, the machines of the attendees, detailed timing and attendance demands. It may feel bad to be such a stickler for details, but anything you leave to interpretation will come back to haunt you and cost time. Time you can’t use to help attendees reach the goal of the workshop. Time you need to work with individuals whilst you lose the group.

Don’t be the bad teacher that messed up a subject for you. Workshops have detailed outcomes and you need to measure at the end of them if people learned something. This might be hard to swallow when it didn’t work, but it really helps being excited about your job when it does.

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New Firefox OS App Workshops & Other Updates

Here in the virtual headquarters of Mozilla’s geo-distributed tech evangelism team, we always have bags packed and traveling shoes on. Today we’re happy to announce a couple of new Firefox OS App Workshops for web developers: we’ll be in Guadalajara, Mexico, on Saturday, October 26, and we’ll be in Budapest, Hungary, on Saturday, November 23.

Who should apply

Remember, these are full-day hands-on technical workshops for developers who are already working on building or porting mobile apps for Firefox Marketplace. You must apply to participate and we will give a preference to developers who can show us a Firefox OS app in progress or a listed HTML5 web app that’s ready to port. Try to arrive at the Workshop with app code already running in the Firefox Simulator.

bogota_workshop

At the workshop, you’ll spend the day working on your app with help from our team, with breaks for meals and snacks. Our first activity will show you how to send your app from the Simulator to the Geeksphone Keon Firefox OS Developer Preview device. At the end of the day, there’s a chance to demo the app you’re working on. After the workshop, the Geeksphone is yours to keep, to complete your Firefox OS app and continue to use. Our goal is to help you finish your first app and see it listed in Firefox Marketplace. We’re especially interested in apps built in your language, for people in your location.

Firefox OS App Workshop, October 26, Guadalajara, MX: Apply here.

Firefox OS App Workshop, November 23, Budapest, HU: Apply here.

How to prepare

Getting started with Open Web Apps – why and how will help you get started. Once you’ve installed the Firefox OS Simulator, and spent a little time reading the documentation, there are many other useful articles about Firefox OS on the Hacks blog. On the Mozilla Developer Network, you’ll find abundant documentation for app developers.

captrogers

Update: Phones for app ports

Thanks to everyone who applied for our Phones for app ports program. Submissions to this program are now closed. We share your enthusiasm and look forward to seeing all your apps listed in Marketplace. We hope to finish reviewing all submissions this week, so please be patient just a little bit longer if you haven’t heard from us. Please note: If your proposal is not accepted, you will not receive a notification.

If your proposal is selected, you will receive an acceptance email from Mozilla, followed by a notification from the shipper with more information. Once your phone is shipped and your app is in progress, someone on our team will contact you and be available if you need help to get your app done and listed. We are probably a week or two behind on shipping phones, so again, please bear with us. In some countries, we are working through some specific shipping issues. Thanks everyone for your patience. We regret that we can’t respond to every email inquiry.

Special kudos to those app developers who’ve already received phones and gotten their apps ported and listed in Marketplace. We are super-proud of you and we know there are more of you every day. Together we can build the open mobile web. Thank you!

View full post on Mozilla Hacks – the Web developer blog

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New Firefox App Workshops & Other Updates

Here in the virtual headquarters of Mozilla’s geo-distributed tech evangelism team, we always have bags packed and traveling shoes on. Today we’re happy to announce a couple of new Firefox OS App Workshops for web developers: we’ll be in Guadalajara, Mexico, on October 26, and we’ll be in Budapest, Hungary, in November (the precise Saturday date is still to be determined).

Who should apply

Remember, these are full-day hands-on technical workshops for developers who are already working on building or porting mobile apps for Firefox Marketplace. You must apply to participate and we will give a preference to developers who can show us a Firefox OS app in progress or a listed HTML5 web app that’s ready to port. Try to arrive at the Workshop with app code already running in the Firefox Simulator.

bogota_workshop

At the workshop, you’ll spend the day working on your app with help from our team, with breaks for meals and snacks. Our first activity will show you how to send your app from the Simulator to the Geeksphone Keon Firefox OS Developer Preview device. At the end of the day, there’s a chance to demo the app you’re working on. After the workshop, the Geeksphone is yours to keep, to complete your Firefox OS app and continue to use. Our goal is to help you finish your first app and see it listed in Firefox Marketplace. We’re especially interested in apps built in your language, for people in your location.

Firefox OS App Workshop, October 26, Guadalajara, MX: Apply here.

Firefox OS App Workshop, November (TBD), Budapest, HU: Apply here.

How to prepare

Getting started with Open Web Apps – why and how will help you get started. Once you’ve installed the Firefox OS Simulator, and spent a little time reading the documentation, there are many other useful articles about Firefox OS on the Hacks blog. On the Mozilla Developer Network, you’ll find abundant documentation for app developers.

captrogers

Update: Phones for app ports

Thanks to everyone who applied for our Phones for app ports program. Submissions to this program are now closed. We share your enthusiasm and look forward to seeing all your apps listed in Marketplace. We hope to finish reviewing all submissions this week, so please be patient just a little bit longer if you haven’t heard from us. Please note: If your proposal is not accepted, you will not receive a notification.

If your proposal is selected, you will receive an acceptance email from Mozilla, followed by a notification from the shipper with more information. Once your phone is shipped and your app is in progress, someone on our team will contact you and be available if you need help to get your app done and listed. We are probably a week or two behind on shipping phones, so again, please bear with us. In some countries, we are working through some specific shipping issues. Thanks everyone for your patience. We regret that we can’t respond to every email inquiry.

Special kudos to those app developers who’ve already received phones and gotten their apps ported and listed in Marketplace. We are super-proud of you and we know there are more of you every day. Together we can build the open mobile web. Thank you!

View full post on Mozilla Hacks – the Web developer blog

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Announcing Firefox OS App Workshops

Madrid, Bogotá, Warsaw & Beyond


blaze_your_fxosFirefox OS phones will be available to consumers in several countries this summer, and they will be looking for great apps to install from Firefox Marketplace. If you know how to build mobile app experiences with HTML5 and JavaScript, we’re looking for you—especially if you’d like to develop apps in Spanish, Polish or Portuguese! If you’re fast and focused, this is the time to take first-mover advantage.

Our first three hands-on technical workshops for skilled web app developers take place in Madrid, Spain, on Saturday, April 20; in Bogotá, Colombia on Saturday, May 18; and in Warsaw, Poland on Saturday, June 1. We hope to announce more workshops in more locales later in the season.

You must apply to attend: We’ll ask you to show us your JavaScript expertise and/or past experience building web apps and working with web APIs.

Who Should Apply


We’re looking for small teams or solo developers with solid ideas and strong web development skills. If you’ve already built a successful PhoneGap, Chrome, webOS, Blackberry WebWorks app, or other open web app for mobile or desktop, we’d love to work with you on migrating your existing app or building a new one. Mozilla engineers and tech evangelists will help participants complete an app or port an existing one to the Firefox OS phone and into the Firefox Marketplace.

Please apply now if you’d like to attend any of these workshops. We’ll be reviewing applications as they come in, with a focus on our first locations. We’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Moz_Ldn

What We’ll Offer

  • A great place to hack.
  • Hands-on help from Firefox OS developers.
  • Food, drink and demos. And t-shirts, of course.
  • More code, less talk.
  • Firefox OS Developer Preview phones, really!

How to Prepare

There’s more than one way to start building Firefox apps. Here are a few resources to get you started:

Firefox OS Workshop application form.

View full post on Mozilla Hacks – the Web developer blog

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LevelTen Interactive Hosts Summer Series of Drupal Training Workshops in Dallas

LevelTen Interactive, a boutique Drupal Shop in Dallas, TX, is helping inexperienced and seasoned Drupal users by offering a summer series of workshops on a broad range of topics. These courses are designed to help expose you to a world of new possibilities in web development. They will be of particular interest to enterprise webmasters, sales and marketing managers, small business owners, non …

View full post on web development – Yahoo! News Search Results

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