A conference, an influencer and a bold move

When I decided to try to write a book, the only certainty I had was that I was not an expert on a lot of topics I wanted to write about. So I knew that to make sure I was writing a book that was correct regarding the industry standard I would need to study… a lot.

For instance, I have a whole chapter dedicated on software developers: expectations for each phase of the career, the myth of the superhero developer and the “soft” vs “hard” skills. Although I am a software engineer for many years now, that doesn’t mean my experience is universal. If I wanted to write something that was —more or less— universal, I needed to make sure to learn about many points of view.

The process of writing a book was long and I am working on a long post about it. But one of the aspects of my process was that when I allocated a piece of time to work on the book, I would sit down and do something. That didn’t mean that I would always write something. It isn’t every day that the creative juices were flowing freely. But just because I didn’t feel like writing, I still “forced” myself to do something that would move me somehow towards my goals. In many of those days, the only thing I could handle was to watch something. I couldn’t read, I couldn’t write, but talks were the thing I could bare to do.

I searched many, many videos online and I ended up always going back to talks given in a specific conference: GOTO. I liked the production, I like the edition but most of all I realized that the talks I was seeing were really good. Some of the speakers were known to me, but most weren’t. And more and more I watched the talks.

I kept an eye on the conference and tried to go a couple of times but resources and time are limited and I couldn’t. While talking to a dear friend of mine and talking about the conference he asked me “did you see they have a writer’s program?”. I didn’t.

The writers program seemed too good to be true: a chance to go to one of the many conferences, to be featured in the GOTO newsletter and to interview speakers at the conference. But of course, there was something that made me quickly dismiss this as something I could do: they were looking for tech influencers.

Well… I would never call me a tech influencer. I guess that one of the key fundamentals of a tech influencer is to have a certainty about being one that I don’t have and don’t think I ever will. I wrote a whole book but I can’t barely write a post on LinkedIn to promote it. My Twitter account is dead since its death. Influencer? Definitely not.

However, even though I would never consider myself one, I decided to write to the program. We have a Brazilian saying that is poorly translated to “the baby who doesn’t cry stays hungry”. I like the philosophy that you can only get things if you actually try. So I decided to try.

I wrote to the program and I put my heart on my sleeve. I made very clear that I was not a major player in the industry of tech writers but that I loved the conference and would like to engage with it. I pointed out my untraditional background and my ultimate goal to make tech more accessible and many more things. I reallytried to make clear what was different about me.

To my complete surprise the lovely Bára answered my email saying that they were happy with my profile and they wanted to meet me. They said I had the profile they were looking for and that, in fact, I was the first person to write to them about the program! What are the odds!?

There’s always a thousand reasons not to try for something. Unless you have an inflated sense of self, there will always be a voice in your head that will point out the things you are missing or could be better. But… we can’t be the ones to decide things for us. It is not my job to reject me. So I am happy to say that now I am a GOTO writer!

I am now in the process of checking the conferences and seeing which one I will attend this year. This is a tricky decision! On one side GOTO Amsterdam will receive Charity Majors, which is someone I admired for years and enjoy many of her blog posts. On the other hand, GOTO Copenhagen will receive Martin Fowler, after he retired from presenting in 2021, which I can only say would be a massive opportunity.

I am also going over some of the talks to get more ideas for things to write and interviews I could do with some of the speakers! Let me know if you have anything you would like to see.

And again… GO for it. The worst thing you can receive is a no. But the best is the thing you want!