Go Time – Episode #265

How to ace that CFP

with V Körbes & Anna-Katharina Wickert

All Episodes

It’s “Call For Papers” (CFP) season in Go land, so we gathered some seriously experienced conference organizers to help YOUR submission be the best ever.



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Notes & Links

📝 Edit Notes


1 00:00 It's Go Time!
2 00:50 Welcoming our guests
3 02:19 Getting to know Angelica
4 03:10 Anna's turn to introduce herself
5 04:13 Your friendly neighborhood Johnny
6 05:24 Natalie's conference background
7 06:48 Getting to know V
8 09:09 Angelica's favorite talk submission
9 10:18 Anna's amazing talk
10 13:57 Go conferences you can submit to in 2023
11 14:42 V's tips for submitting a talk
12 17:36 Tell a story
13 20:12 State the benefits
14 21:27 Sponsor: Changelog++
15 22:23 Movie trailer voice!
16 24:35 Prepare to use the Inigo Montoya method
17 25:27 Developer storytelling skills
18 28:55 Fix spelling & grammar mistakes
19 30:19 Advice for non-native english speakers
20 31:45 Should we use humor in proposals?
21 35:24 V's universal humor formula
22 37:03 Being comfortable on stage
23 39:36 To give a good talk... don't give a talk
24 42:10 Don't be afraid to be yourself
25 45:02 Don't try to sound smart
26 47:27 How to use slides well
27 48:42 Know the first/last sentences of your talk
28 51:02 It's time for Unpopular Opinions!
29 51:33 V's unpop
30 52:41 Anna's unpop
31 55:13 Johnny's unpop
32 1:00:09 V on workers' unions
33 1:02:28 Natalie's very dangerous unpop
34 1:05:44 Time to Go!
35 1:05:58 Outro


📝 Edit Transcript


Play the audio to listen along while you enjoy the transcript. 🎧

Hello everyone, and good time of your day, wherever you are, and whatever time that is, whether you’re watching and listening to this live, or later recorded. We are today in January 24th, and right now there are many call for papers open to different Go conferences, and we have today many reviewers of the different review committees to talk about CFPs. Hi, V and Johnny and Angelica and Anna. How are y’all doing?

We are doing good, as far as I know.

Yes, I think so.

Best of all time.

How would you rank your well-being today?

Since we’re live on camera, it’s a ten. Totally a ten. Best in my life. [laughter]

Every Go Time day is a great day.

Exactly. You can see I have no eyebags here, and we’re all good.

It’s because of the Berlin internet we actually cannot see that.


I like those podcast days. It’s 9 PM, and it’s quite late, in the middle of the week, kind of, on a Tuesday, but it’s still quite fun. It’s always like new energy. I used to work a lot with the U.S, especially with California, so 9 PM is like noon… So it’s a very normal working hour for a long time. So it’s fun that this is not a working hour, but just a fun activity to do these days.

Whereas I have to have like a lunch break on my calendar to do this… [laughs]

We appreciate you not chewing on live. Thank you.

You’re welcome. Next time.

So Angelica…

Tell us about yourself and your connection to call for papers. Have you submitted a talk? Have you given a talk? Have you reviewed a talk? Let’s make this round of introductions.

Yes, all of the above. Hi, I’m Angelica Hill. I’m a technical product manager at the New York Times, but in my free time I love Go, and do Go stuff. I submitted and did a talk to GopherCon in 2020, and then I did the CFP committee review in 2021, and then last year I became a chair of GopherCon US, and reviewed papers then. So that is my interaction with paper reviewing. I would say I’m somewhat of a novice, because I haven’t done it all that many years… But I’m excited to talk about what it’s like. That’s me in a nutshell.

Thank you. Who do you invite next to share their part?

I’m going to invite lovely Anna to the stage… Virtual stage.

Thank you. Yes, I’m Anna and in my day to day job I’m a researcher, but at night no. I’m a member also of the Go community, and organize the local Go group, and I came into reviewing talks back at the end of 2018, to review for the Entwickler Tage, Frankfort 2019, which is –

Which is Developer Days, for those outside of that region…

Yes, exactly, which is Developer Days, organized by our company in Frankfurt, where we reviewed quite a few talk submissions. My first Go talk was back into 2020, online, so I’m quite new to this… And I also reviewed Go talks for GopherCon last year. And I would pass further to Johnny.

Hi. It’s your friendly neighborhood Johnny. [laughs]

Sorry, who are you?

I’m Johnny. I’m Golang Johnny. Don’t you know?

Oh, okay… No, I’m sorry, I must just be out of sync.

Let me see… I’ve been involved in submitting, reviewing, organizing conferences since 2013. And I know that because I went looking at my archive, like “When was the first thing I was involved in?” It was like in 2013. So yeah, the better part of 10 years; I guess this is a 10th year I’ll be involved in some capacity with all things conferences, and talks, and creating programs for conferences, and things… So yeah, I’ve seen quite a bit of proposals in my day, I’ve written a few of myself, and given talks, and seen talks that I’ve helped select, you know, go on stage, and everything… So yeah, basically, I’ve seen it from all the angles, I guess.

You’ve done all the things, all the opinions…

All the things.

[unintelligible 00:05:13.20]

That’s true. And I know Natalie does this as well… Don’t you, Natalie?

I do. And I spoke at a conference first time in 2016, and just as we were chatting before the show began, I said that I love mentioning how bad that talk was, and how it’s online, and everybody who’s wanting to submit a talk and scared that they’re bad, I challenge you. Find my online talk and make it worse! [laughter] That was in GopherCon UK, and I wish I was able to attend it ever since, but it’s almost always in the middle of the summer travel plans and so on. So one day I will be back, hopefully with a good talk. Probably not this year.

[06:00] You’ve said that so many times at this point, I went back and like after the fourth time you mentioned it, I actually had to go back and watch it… And I was expecting like a car crash. It was not bad. I feel like it was just you thinking it was.

It was a bicycle crash. I’ll take that. [laughter]

I can tell Angelica is a very good friend, [laughter]

So since then, I went on to organize conferences as well, and GopherCon Europe has been my passion project since 2018. And I’ve not been reviewing for any other conference, actually… But I do get a mail for each submission that comes in, although I’m never on the review committee. And… V, you are.

Hi. Yeah, so I’m V. I’m technically a Senior Product Line Manager at VMware, which just means a nerd that’s on Google Docs all day… I haven’t written code in years.

What is your favorite macro?

Copy and paste, for sure.

It’s a good one. [laughter]

So my relation, I guess, with the topic at hand is that my previous career before I moved back into this whole tech thing was also very stage-heavy… So I was always on stage, presenting stuff. That was my bread and butter. So I did not come new to the world of tech conferences. I presented my first tech conference in 2017, at a Python conference in Brazil. It was pretty cool at the time… And this was the time when I was coming back to working with tech stuff, and I remember at that time I was thinking “Oh, this was a lot of fun. What if I could do this for a living?” Long story short, I did. So presented talks in all the conferences: KubeCons, GopherCons, all of them. You know the old-timers we remember, like the O’Reilly conferences, like velocity, and - what’s the other one? There was like an open source one that was super-famous, but I forget the name now, in Portland. Johnny looks like he’s been there…

I want to say OSCON.

Yeah, OSCON. Yes, that one. So basically, all the big conferences at least from that time. So I did a lot, a lot, a lot of talks. I was traveling, I did I think, 20-something conference talks a year back then… I was also part of all the committees, like conference committee and track chair, and all of those different roles… So like Johnny, I’ve seen every side of this happen.

In the end, after the isolation became a thing and we couldn’t travel anymore, I started doing little movies. So I did like a – it was kind of a talk mixed with a movie at KubeCon, and it was like a little hacker movie kind of a thing I did with Tabitha Sable… And I think I did two of those, and now I’m taking a break. Maybe I’ll be a YouTuber, or something…

A TikTokker.


Yeah, influencer maybe. Does that pay?

If you’re famous… [laughter]

Okay, I’ll think about it… But yeah, anyway, so Natalie invited me to this chat, and I thought I had a little bit of experience to share that could be helpful.

So before we talk about what makes a talk good or bad, and submissions especially, what makes them good and bad, tell us about your first or your favorite submission and talk. More submission than the talk, because we are talking about call for papers… Or call for proposals, or call for… What was the third one?


Participation. Yes. CFP stands for so many things… So tell us about your favorite CFP that you have done.

Who are you asking?

Whoever’s brave enough to jump in.

There you go, Johnny. Good job.

Our favorite one that we’ve submitted, or our favorite one we’ve reviewed?

I would prefer about the one you submitted, but if you have a really special one that you reviewed that you really want to share, that can work.

[09:53] I can take this one. I have submitted one talk, therefore that is my favorite… [laughter] Anyone can be a gopher in 2020…

That’s 100% success rate.

I never looked back. And that was my talk that I submitted. But I do intend to submit one this year, so… Maybe that will be my new favorite.

Well, if you want to share about some – the favorite one that you reviewed, something that stood out a lot, and so on… This can be interesting as well.

I’m kind of biased, because – and I promise I’m not saying this because of the fact that she’s on the call… But Anna submitted a very, very good proposal; it was really interesting, about some research that she was doing. And I don’t know whether you were still doing it last year… I liked it, and I’m gonna ask you to do a TL;DR, because you can give the TL;DR far better than I can on the topic.

But the reason I liked it so much was that it was an area I had not ever seen explored in a talk before, one. Two, she was especially qualified to give the talk. It was very clear, even though it was an anonymized process, this was someone who really knew the subject, was going to be able to talk in detail about it, and it was written really well. So I knew that even though it was a semi-complex topic, because the proposal was so beautifully structured and written very clearly, I had faith that it was going to be able to be given in a way that was clear, concise, and fair.

New people coming in, or experts, they would be able to follow it and get something from the talk. I don’t know whether, Anna, you want to talk about that one… I would be interested to know, in all the proposals you’ve submitted, how you felt about that one… Because I loved it.

Yeah, I can jump in. Actually, I submitted only three proposals. The one you mentioned, I submitted it two times, to my shame, and therefore I withdrew one, the one you are talking about… And both were accepted. So I think it’s a pretty good success rate as well.

Yeah, and I really liked it, and one insight from me also from your feedback is that structuring your talk really helps me in thinking about “Can I deliver a talk in the timeframe?” And also, it seems that it helped you to make an assumption about it.

And one thing I realized sitting in review committees also really helped me - writing it down, because I knew what I as a reviewer want to see in a proposal, and so I could draft it easily to have at least the for me important aspects included. And the proposal we are talking about was actually my GopherCon EU talk last year, which was also my first in-person conference talk in the Go community… So I think it’s really one of my favorite ones, of the few. [unintelligible 00:12:49.28] submission because the conference was really cool. And also it was the first talk I really enjoyed more or less completely.

We’ll add the link to that in the show notes, if you can share what was the name, or what was it about. Or if you want to tell us in a second… In two words…

Sorry… Yeah, I forgot to totally mention what it was about. It was about – basically my master’s thesis I wrote back in 2016, the idea of static analyzers, which is a tool to analyze code without executing it. There is one specific term called taint analysis, which is frequently used in research… But there are a few terms which are difficult to get, if you don’t know it, and which can be confusing… And I try to break it down, and with examples of these kinds of analyses in Go.

And we will add the link to that in the show notes. Cool. So there are at least three Go conferences that have CFPs open. GopherCon, which takes place in San Diego in September, has their call for papers open until March 13.

[14:12] GopherCon UK, which takes place in London in August, has the call for papers open until February 28th. And GopherCon Europe, which takes place in Berlin in June, has the call for papers open until February 26.

So even when this episode goes live, and everybody watches it/listens to it later, all three call for papers will still be open, and maybe others. So a) we’ll add links to all the three of them in the show notes, b) big question to everybody: what are your tips and recommendations for what makes a good submission?

Yeah, I’ll take this one. I think there’s a few pointed adjustments that people need to make when they prepare to submit a talk. The first one is that when you present a talk, you’re thinking of it from your point of view, like “I am saying something”, and you care about what you’re saying, and how you say it etc. But the audience - and of course, the committees that select your talk or not, they don’t care about your point of view, they care about their point of view, of course… Because we’re humans, and humans are selfish [unintelligible 00:15:16.01] philosophy. But basically, whenever you’re presenting a talk, you need to think “If I’m in the audience, how does this help me?” I think that is the first thing that people need to keep in mind at all times.

And a lot of people, they present a talk because they want to get promoted, or because they want their product to be showcased, or they want to generate sales, or they want to look good on the internet etc. And those things are okay, they really are. You can present a talk that showcases a product that makes you look good, that gets you promoted - that’s all fine. As long as none of those come before the first principle, which is “Are you helping the person who’s watching your talk? Is this beneficial for the audience?”

So the previous topic was like “What’s the favorite talk that you presented?” and I was thinking about one talk that I presented which was - so I was a developer advocate at the time, and it was my job to make the product of my company to look good on stage, and to have adoption etc. but I never presented a talk like that. I always presented, for example, “You’re this person who works on this thing. You’re having issues doing this type of task, or with this type of workflow etc. What can you do to make things easier?” And then I, for example, presented all the competition; I presented – every compiler that we had was there, and I included my product in it. So was I showcasing my product? Yes. But it was not a sales thing, because it’s like, if my product cannot help you, I don’t want you as a customer; I want you to go for the thing that’s going to help you the most. If it’s something else, go for something else, not for my product. But the point is, I was showcasing my product in a way that was “I only want you to look at my product if it’s genuinely going to help you.” And I think everybody presenting a talk needs to think about that. People should only watch the talk or pay attention to any individual minute of your talk if it’s going to help them. So you can have everything else, you can look good, you can present a product etc. you can have all your secondary objectives, as long as your first objective is to help or to assist or to provide knowledge, instruction etc. to your audience. So always put the audience first, and the rest later. You can have the other things, but the audience always comes first.

I can sort of jump in and sort of support that, another way of looking at sort of conveying information… Because at the end of the day, that’s what you’re doing, you’re conveying some piece of information that ideally is valuable to most of the audience. And the first thing to kind of keep in mind is that whatever it is you’re sort of presenting, not everybody’s gonna resonate with it. It’s impossible to give a talk and to have everybody in the room love it. I’m not saying those don’t happen, but they’re very rare, and that’s the par for the course kind of thing.

[18:04] But really, the biggest piece of advice I usually give speakers, either first-time or experienced speakers, who sort of haven’t caught on to that particular piece of nugget yet, is that “Don’t tell me things I can easily use a search engine and find online. I don’t care about that.” I too can go and read a reference doc, I too can go read the documentation, I too can go play around whatever it is you’re talking about. I too can download the repo and play around. Tell me a story. You’re bringing the audience along on a journey, on an experience that you had that I can’t google for, That’s what sort of impresses me as the audience member, sitting there and listening to you, watching you… And again, body language plays a role in that, enunciation plays a role in that… All the things that you’d consider sort of baseline for giving a great presentation, all those things are still sort of very important… But really, what is the story that you’re trying to tell me?

And because obviously I’m on the program committee, I’m receiving your talk, Your job as the person who wants to tell the story is to tell me how you’re going to tell the story. So you have to have a story, and you have to convince me as the reviewer of your talk of how you’re going to tell that story. If I can review your talk and I don’t see a story there, you’re just sort of like listing out facts and random numbers or whatever it is… Again, these things I can go find out on my own. You’re going to be talking to a highly technical audience in the case of a GopherCon; we can go read the spec, we can go find the nuance, and all these things. Tell us a story. You have to convince me that you can tell a story.

As the podcast goes on, we can tell about “Okay, what does that mean? How do you tell a story?” We can get into these things. But these are the things I’m looking for when I’m reviewing a talk. If I’m sitting there listening to you, watching you present this, sometimes I see proposals come in and I’m like “Wow, they’ve laid this out so well. I had no idea what machine learning was. Now I want to know what –” Even as the reviewer, if you can grab me, if you can grab my attention, and like walk me through, like an experience, that already puts you way ahead of the game in terms of having a talk picked. Tell stories, don’t regurgitate facts.

I would jump in on the two points V and Johnny mentioned; besides telling the story, it’s also important that in the submission you clearly state what the benefit is, like V told. Don’t make it implicit. I can speculate about it, but that’s not my job as a reviewer, because I don’t know you. You’re anonymous in most of the cases. So I have to rely on what you write. And therefore, be specific about what you deliver to your audience, to [unintelligible 00:20:41.13] me and get me. And even though if I’m maybe not into the topic, if I see that you will provide a value for the main audience, or even for a niche, but it’s irrelevant, then it’s “Okay, then I’m convinced” in most of the cases. But it’s your job to convince me and to make it explicit, because it’s not my job to make assumptions. And that’s something I can’t do; that would be unfair, because I can’t read your mind.

Let me add a trick here… So Johnny was talking about story, and he’s 100% right. A story is the most compelling method to get the attention of people. You want to talk about whatever it is, if you make it into a story, you’re going to grab people’s attention like crazy. And a lot of people struggle with that, especially when you’re talking to people who are more engineering-focused, who are more technical and less, let’s say rhetorical in their expertise… So my favorite trick is - and some people absolutely hate this, so you know, grain of salt there… But my favorite trick is, “Does it sound good if you read it in a movie trailer voice?” Because every movie trailer has someone with a problem, in a situation, and is going to try to do something to get out of that trouble. The movie trailer doesn’t tell you how the hero gets out of that trouble. It doesn’t tell you all the details, but it always needs to very clearly show someone, and ideally this someone is going to be someone relatable to your audience… So like if you do DevOps stuff, you’re probably talking to DevOps people about DevOps problems. So you’re gonna have somebody in a situation, “Oh, my Kubernetes exploded. My code doesn’t compile”, whatever the situation is. And then you get the adventure, which is what we paid the movie ticket to come and watch. And then the hero is going to attempt to expose the Deathstar, or whatever it is.

So if your abstract – like, literally, read your abstract and imitate a movie trailer voice. Does it work? I find that if it does work, you did it right. If it doesn’t, maybe it still works, but try to make it work. And for me, at least, that’s a good guideline.

I have friends who hate this. So our friend Rona, for example, she was like criticizing my abstracts at some point… And you know, we’re all friends, so it’s fine… But she was criticizing because she just didn’t like that voice, because it’s a bit too trying to be impressive; like trying too hard to sound good, basically, was her feedback. And that’s totally valid. But for me, it always helped to transform a pile of information into a story that’s compelling for people.

In a world of bits and bytes… [laughs]

As you were saying this structure of what you would do there, it reminded me the recommendation of how to introduce yourself - always follow the Inigo Montoya. Say “Hello.” Say something nice. “My name is…” Introduce yourself. “You killed my father.” That’s the relation, or that’s what happens, or that’s kind of the problem. “Prepare to die.” Let’s go on that ticket adventure. This thing goes everywhere. It’s such an amazing, short, four-lines meme to remember.

And for those who didn’t get the reference, look up Princess Bride. [laughs]

A link to the meme will be in the show notes… So V, you brought up the point that telling the story should have a good structure, but not all developers and not all people have the skill, the ability; most of the people who submit talks don’t do talks for a living in the sense that dev rel people sometimes do, or dev advocates, and so on. So I am a software engineer, I have a cool project; I don’t know how to tell stories. Other than AI, how can I make a good submission?

I personally would start with bullet points and brainstorming on it. So if I have the topic, I probably would use V’s tips and write up who should be the main character, and what’s the problem, and I’d try to get step by step through the process. Because if I have like bullet points, I can easily transfer them in text if they’re correct, and work on them this way, and brainstorm. Go one step at a time. And also ask for feedback. A lot of people - like V mentioned, one of her friends reviewed her summary, or abstract. That’s something a newly - or someone who wants to submit the first time can also do. There are people who want to help you probably.

[26:30] I think a good first step is to answer, you know, the W questions. So like who, what, why, when… And how doesn’t start with a W, but you know… This is basically a narrative structure. I think if you google “narrative structure”, you’re gonna come across how to start a story. This is the same thing if you’re writing a movie script, or a novel, or like any narrative structure is the same. So you need somebody, in a situation, with a problem. It’s always like that. You don’t need to tell the solution of the problem in your abstract. And often you shouldn’t, because it’s more interesting if we don’t know. But of course, the reviewing committee needs to know that you know what you’re talking about, so that they trust that you are going to deliver the solution.

But it’s a person, in a place, with a problem. And of course, the person doesn’t have to be a person; it can be a role, or it can be a profession, or anything like that. The place doesn’t have to be a place; it can be a situation, or anything like that. And the problem - once again, all those things are figurative. But if you think in terms of “There’s always someone, somewhere, with a problem.” Start from there and go from that starting point. If I read your abstract, and I know who is this for, what situation are they facing, and what’s their mindset about it, most times that tells me enough. So I would say that’s the first step.

I think a lot of people - they get too much into poetry when it comes to writing abstracts, which is like “Oh, if I make this sound perfect, if I channel my Shakespeare spirit here…” They focus too much on the words. And the fact is we don’t care about the words, but we care about the story. So if you tell me a compelling story, but your writing skills are terrible, that’s fine. We don’t want you to be a writer; you’re not here to replace Shakespeare and write the next great American novel, or whatever it is. It’s a story. It’s like someone, in a situation, with an interesting problem.

So if your writing skills are terrible, just give me a really interesting problem. I don’t care if you’re really bad at writing that problem down, but just give me an interesting problem. A problem I haven’t seen before, or a situation… Like, maybe it’s a silly problem that everybody faces it, but you’re facing that problem in a very unique situation. That makes it interesting. So it’s always the story. And the first thing Johnny said 10 minutes ago was “Well, it starts with a story.” And yes, it’s always the story.

So I would agree that the story is definitely like first and foremost, but I would say do check your proposal for like spelling issues, slight grammar. It doesn’t have to be poetry, it does not have to be incredibly beautifully written… But do do the due diligence to check for typos. Check that if you’ve referenced a certain technology, you’ve spelled it right. Because although it’s definitely not the most important part, if as a reviewer you see a proposal that’s riddled with typos, riddled with spelling mistakes, it doesn’t instill confidence that you’re going to be able to have like a slide deck that doesn’t have typos, and misprints, and all this kind of thing. So I think yes, absolutely, story is first, but do take that second, when you’re happy with the story, when you feel confident, when you’re excited, ready to submit, stop for a moment, reread it and just do that once over, to make sure that – it doesn’t have to be beautifully written, but it needs to be understandable, so that those reading it will understand that story that you’re trying to get across.

Just rephrase what I said… What I’m saying is don’t rewrite the same sentence 20 times. We don’t need that. But yes, you should write properly.

Just a once over. Because if you write a beautiful story, then like every two seconds, the reviewer has to stop in their like flow and be like “Oh, what’s that word?”, then it’s just gonna ruin the story, for them and for you… Because if you’ve got this wonderful story, don’t let typos stop you.

[30:18] I have one tip there - if you’re a non-native speaker, such as I am, and you’re not grown up with beautiful synchronized films etc. and you’re maybe not so confident in speaking, there are beautiful tools like Grammarly and Language Tool, who checks your text to check for the main grammar issues, for example, like missing an s, and by now they can also sometimes give you hints on how to structure a sentence such that it’s more clear. And that’s something I regularly use for writing texts, because if it’s no error markers there, then I’m more confident that I didn’t screw up basic stuff. And you can imagine it like your static analyzer or linter you’re running along on your code - it’s the same for language. And you maybe don’t want to push code which is full of reports from your linter, so why do you want to push a proposal where easy tools can still find bugs?

Grammarly is amazing. I use Grammarly every day. Any email I write, I copy-paste it to Grammarly to check if it’s right.

Just a disclaimer - if you’re working with confidential information, do not use Grammarly, because that’s going to make your employers mad… [laughs]

I think Language Tool is better, but I’m not sure about that…

I would love a slightly different topic, but it’s on my mind, so I’m going to ask it… What does everyone think about trying to be funny, or like adding jokes, or like trying to make – I guess inject a degree of your style, or your speaking tone into the proposal, by doing - I don’t know, like parentheses, like “Hahaha”, or I don’t know…? Because I’ve seen a lot of proposals that have tried to be really funny, they have jokes in there, and I get the sense that it’s done because they want the reviewers to get a sense of how they would present it, and kind of almost advocate for how they would be an engaging speaker. And I’ve seen it done really well, but I’ve also seen it done where - I’m putting my hands up - maybe it’s like they’ve done a joke that’s maybe very US-centric, or a joke that’s very specific to their area of expertise, that I read and I don’t get it. Other people find it hilarious, but I as a reviewer, I’m like “What?!” What is everyone’s view on that?

It’s so hard to get right, unless you’re confident that it’s going to hit, it’s going to land the way you want it to land. I’d say omit it. The time to let your personality shine through is on the stage. Body language plays such an important role in conveying information… It is hard to get that right in text message. Sometimes I’m even texting my wife and she’d be like “What did you say to me?” I’m like “No, no, no, that came out wrong.” Like, to somebody I know, and who knows me, we still get it wrong because text is so hard to convey nuance, and emotion, and stuff through… So if you can’t get it right, it’s better to play it safe. And if your talk gets picked up, and you go on stage, then let the world see who you are. But yeah, I’d say if you know there’s room for misinterpretation, I’d say leave it out.

I think there’s many different levels to this… For example, there’s a type of humor that goes on stage, and there’s a humor where you’re connecting to your audience. So for example, you’re at an event, and a bunch of things happened in that event that those people laughed at, from the previous talks etc. and you have an energy connection with the audience when you’re on stage, and you know what humor is going to work for that audience, and you can come up with jokes on the fly, if that’s a thing you’re good at… And it lands with the audience.

[34:00] But for example, I presented a talk I think in Paris, at dotGo 2019, and there were a bunch of jokes in that talk that the audience was in stitches. But watching the video later doesn’t work at all, because when you’re watching just the video, you don’t have all that context, and the people watching it don’t know what you’re talking about. So a bunch of those jokes - on the video they completely fall flat, but on the day they were hilarious. I mean, I’m judging my own joke, but you know, people told me so…

And in the recording nobody can see the audience laugh with you, right? So it’s completely deadpan.

Yeah, because the microphones don’t pick up the laughter, they only pick up me. So I’m like “Hahaha…” And then there’s that awkward moment, and it’s horrible. So there’s a lot of context.

For example, if you’re in a meetup and you know half the people there, because it’s always the same crowd at the meetup, and you have that context that you’ve built together, you can use that. But use that in a meetup where half the people are your friends. If you try to use the same jokes at KubeCon, where there’s 12,000 people you’ve never seen before from all different countries in the world, that’s not going to work. So you need to be very aware of context. Like Johnny said, it’s very difficult to communicate humor, especially across boundaries… So if you’re writing on text, like an abstract, that’s going to be very hard. You can do it if you’re really good at it, but it’s going to be tricky. And the same goes across cultures, and at different events etc. So humor is hard.

So I have one trick for humor, which has become my favorite thing… And I picked this up watching – it was like when students graduate and they get a famous person to do a speech at the university… There’s a name for that. Johnny, you’re American; you should know the name of that thing.

Yeah, whatever. Anyways.

Not a keynote speaker, more like a – yeah, I know what you mean. I think most people would know what you mean. Yeah.

Yeah. Okay, anyway… So Bill Gates was presenting there, and I’m not saying anything good or bad about him, just a thing he does in his public speaking, which is you tell jokes that if nobody figures out that it’s a joke, no harm done; you’re communicating the same thing anyway. You don’t try to make it fun, you don’t laugh at it, you just say the thing. People who get the joke will be in stitches, and deadpan humor can be very effective. People don’t get the joke - find, no harm done. You’re not off topic, you’re still talking about the thing, and it works fine.

It can be very tricky to do, but if you figure out how to be completely serious while you’re saying very funny things, that if people don’t realize it’s funny, no harm done - to me, that’s the most effective thing. Because then you can make the silliest jokes in the world for people who know that it’s a joke, and it just goes completely unnoticed for everybody else. It’s really hard, but if you can master that, that’s my go-to, universal humor formula.

So if you’ve ever watched Ryan Reynolds, I think he’s the master of that. He will say something with like a completely serious face, but it’s funny as all hell. So I’m not saying you need to become like Ryan Reynolds levels of funny, but you can use that as your cue.

The commencement speech of Bill Gates will be in the show notes.

Oh, you’ve found it. Great. Commencement speech, that was the –

That’s right. Yeah.

Thank you, internet. So one tip that each one of you can share for new speakers who are making a submission, and a challenge, one tip for seasoned speakers. So even to each other.

Comfort. Be comfortable with your topic. And I have actual true to life hack. My first talk wasn’t a talk at all. My first talk was I was teaching. So I’ve found in my career – [unintelligible 00:37:26.24] I’ve taught more than I’ve actually given talks. That’s my life hack for talks and public speaking. So I find that I’m way more comfortable when I’m trying to teach somebody to do something than if I’m trying to convey like a structured, beginning, middle, end, sort of convey that kind of information… Because I think there’s more room there for me to sort of be myself when I’m teaching. Because of the interactiveness of going back and forth in that setting, that has actually made me a better speaker as a result of all of that. So it helps me get more comfortable being in front of people. And if you ever sit down next to somebody to help them do something, without touching their keyboard, just using words to convey, to communicate what they should be doing next, that’s actually going to train you for actually when you do get on stage, and you are looking at a bunch of people that are looking back at you. That’s going to help you with that comfort level, the more interaction you have with people.

[38:21] So if it’s your first time speaking, don’t let going on stage and staring at 500+ people be your very first time you’re being placed in that situation. Try to sort of a micro-dose it, if you will. Like, go to your local meetup… You can even present your talk, the very talk you’re about to give on stage, because it’s going to be a smaller venue; you can ask for feedback within that venue, where the stakes are lower, so to speak… So just be comfortable, and know your talk in and out. Because once you know what you need to convey, then you have room in between your salient points and between your main points. You have room in between that two sort of ad-lib a little bit. You don’t have to be like you’re reading the slides to the audience. The more you know the topic, the more you’re comfortable with it, the more you can kind of deviate a little bit and then come back smoothly in and out. So you’re just weaving stories in and out of your talk as you go, because you know it so well, because you know what comes after the next point.

So get comfortable, really. That’s the biggest hack I can think of. Just get comfortable, whatever means necessary. Know your talk, know how to talk to people, be around people; that’s a kind of prerequisite. And then yeah, the rest is just going to be rehearse. Go back and forth and rehearse it.

Let me follow up on Johnny’s advice… I think the best advice for giving talks is just don’t give talks. Because giving talks is too formal. It’s too like “Oh, I need to be on stage…” Don’t give talks. So here’s what you’re gonna do. Imagine you’re with your group of friends and you’re telling them about something you find really cool. And that’s the scenario. You’re telling your friends about something you find cool. Now, do your friends want you to embarrass yourself, so they’re gonna laugh at you etc? No. When you’re presenting a talk, the audience also doesn’t want to laugh at you. Nobody cares. That’s not the thing.

If you’re nervous about, “Oh, what if – my accent, or what if I forget the next slide?” We all want you to succeed, because we all want to have a good time listening to you, as much as you want to have a good time presenting. So this is not a talk; you’re talking to your friends. It’s not a presentation on stage, or whatever. That’s a detail. You’re talking to a circle of friends.

And one thing to think about as well is there’s a social mechanic that everybody’s familiar with. So you’re at a party, and there’s a circle of people; maybe you have half a dozen friends around you. You start telling a story. If you go off topic, or you just start rambling about whatever, people are gonna lose attention; they’re gonna start thinking about other things, and go grab some beer, or whatever it is. And the way to hold an audience’s attention on stage is the same way as to hold the audience of your friends when you’re telling a story about them at a party, or whatever.

So I find that a good way to measure, like “Am I rambling too much?” If you learn to tell an engaging story to friends, you know how to tell an engaging story at a talk. If you know how to tell your friends in an excited way about something you’ve found cool - maybe it’s the topic of your talk; you probably did this before. If you’re a programmer, you surely have programmer friends, and you’ve told them cool programming things before. It’s exactly the same dynamic, “Hey, I’ve just found out about this thing! And actually, when you’re doing this kind of thing in that situation, you can do the other thing; you don’t have to do this thing.” You’ve had this conversation 100 times before, and you can do the exact same thing on stage. You don’t need to present a talk, you can just do that. And when you want to improve, just think, “Okay, when was a time that I was trying to tell my friend a story, and I lost everyone’s attention? When was the time I told a story and everybody was like “Oh, seriously dude? Oh, my God! It’s the same energy. It’s the same dynamic. You already know how to present a good talk, because everybody talks to their friends, and tells stories, because that’s a human trait. So forget the talk, forget the stage, forget the 500 people; it’s you and half a dozen of your best friends wanting to hear the really cool thing that you’ve been working on.

[42:10] I think kind of along the same kind of vein, it made me think of this in terms of like thinking about talking to a group of friends… This is, I think, for new speakers, and for seasoned speakers. Like, don’t be afraid to present in the way that you feel most comfortable presenting in. You don’t have to fit into this like box, of like you have to stand completely still, and talk in your very formal work voice, and you can’t smile, you can’t fumble, you can’t giggle at yourself… You can’t – I don’t know, just like mute yourself. People are gonna engage more with your talk and what you’re saying if they feel like you are one of their friends; you are acting as you would in a group of friends.

When I was practicing over and over again for my talks, that was the one piece of feedback I got the most, is my friends are like “Angelica, why are you putting on your weird, formal voice? Why are you speaking like that?” Or like “Angelica, why aren’t you moving?” You know this, but I wave my hands a lot, and I get overexcited, and my volume fluctuates quite a lot… And I would be sitting there like “And then the function went to move –” And like, that’s just not me, and they could tell that, and that’s going to put a barrier up. People aren’t going to be able to engage with you. They want to be like “Okay, we’re hearing about this interesting stuff that a job is talking about”, but also, people like seeing people being themselves, and talking about something they are excited about. So let that out. Move around. Have your hands do whatever. If your voice goes high pitch, low pitch, whatever - that’s you; that’s gonna bring them in. And if you’re at a party, that’s what you would do.

So don’t be trying to mute yourself, or being like “Oh, I’ve seen people do talks, and this isn’t how they act.” No. As long as you’re conveying the information clearly, you have that clear story that you’ve thought through… As Johnny said, you really know the content, then it doesn’t matter what pitch your voice is, or how much your arms are moving, or all these things. Just do whatever’s gonna make you happy.

My favorite trick when people come to me asking for help in presenting their talk, and then I can see that they’re very nervous, and tense, and to get them to get the good version of themselves out - I just go like “Okay, okay, before we start working on the talk, I don’t know much about the subject. Can you explain it to me? Not as your presentation… Just tell it to me how this is.” And then they present the whole talk to me, super-excited, and with their very genuine self, not censored by inhibitions… And they just tell the whole thing to me, because we’re just having a conversation. We’re just friends. And then the minute they switch back into talk mode, then they get nervous again, and I’m like “No, no, don’t do that. You just did exactly how you should.” So the way you explain it to me, that’s what you do on stage. Just pretend I’m sitting there in the audience and you’re just telling all this to me.

Yeah, don’t try to sound smart. You know, you’ve already been accepted, you’re up here, you got your shot… At this point you’re not trying to justify why you’re up there. You’re up there. You don’t need to convince the audience that you had a great proposal, that’s why you got picked. No. Now it’s time to actually deliver the value. So avoid overly dramatic sort of vocabulary, like where people have to be looking up Google for words that you’re saying on stage, and trying to follow along with you… Just speak naturally. The idea is to connect with the audience, and your audience is going to be made up of people from a wide spectrum of skill set, of knowledge, of experience… You want to reach as many of these people as possible. Sure, there are gonna be some people at the edges that either they’re too young or too inexperienced to get everything you’re saying, but it’s still valuable for them to hear.

[45:59] Or you’re going to be on the opposite end, where they came here for just one talk, and yours is just in the way until the talk they want to listen to. You can’t do anything about those people. But for the vast majority of people, they are here to learn and listen and connect with you. There’s a reason why after you give a great talk and it resonates with people, you see people walk up front to the stage to talk to the speaker… Because “Hey, you know what? I ran into that same problem at work”, or “I did the same thing in my side project.” There’s a reason for that, because you’re connecting with people at that level. Like, that’s what you’re there to do; you’re there to connect, and make that relationship, and find that common ground, and the things that – basically, these ties that bind us all in this industry and in what we do for a living. You’re there to establish connections, not to seem like you know more than everybody else, not to seem unapproachable… I’ve gone to talks and the speakers just walk offstage, they’re make a straight beeline for the exit. They were just there to deliver the talk, and they were gone. They were not there to make friends, relationships or anything like that. Sometimes you’ve got to do that, but when you go to these events - again, you’re there in the spirit of connecting with people. When you’re on stage, it’s no different. You just have an opportunity to talk to a lot more people all at once, but your authentic voice needs to come through. You need to sound like you care about what you’re talking about, not like you’re trying to sound smarter than everybody else.

Anna, do you have any last tip?

Any last tip… I’d say for slides - slides are, in my opinion, only there to support what you’re saying, all the things we’ve mentioned before - being authentic, and everything, is more important than having perfectly over-revised slides up there. And for me, being aware of that helped me focusing more on practicing what I want to say than revising slides. And also on slides - for me, that also helps me to make bullet points. One slide, one key message. When I try the talk the first time, I only have one key message per slide, and I’m trying it, and I have to restructure it multiple times probably, but I haven’t invested time on slides; I only invest times on speaking. And that’s the one thing which probably motivates or delivers the message better than my slides, in the end. And I’m not saying that your slides shouldn’t look good, or supported, but prioritize on what you want to say, and going step by step.

I will share something that I’m using quite a lot… I think it’s from Dave Cheney. Know the first and the last sentences of your talk.

Hello. Goodbye. [laughs]

That’s a very short sentence. But yeah, also remembering to say hi is a good thing to do. Sometimes I like starting a talk with “So back then to–” Kind of just dive into a story.

You just dive straight into it.

Yeah. And then third or second slide I kind of introduce myself, and so on, and acknowledge the situation. I think that also makes it fun sometimes.

I actually like that. That can work, because it’s so common to start with an intro slide… Basically, you’re introducing yourself to me, and right now I don’t have a reason to care. But if you open, like V was talking about - basically, grab my attention. It’s a clip from a movie, “Grab my attention.” Make my like “Oh, I want to know what happens next.” Let me give a quick example. So you can either say, “Well, you handle for 429 throttling errors by implementing an exponential back-off.” And then you walk off stage. You could do that… Or you could say, “Hey, so I had a really rough day the last week, because I put something into production, and I had a bunch of students that needed to actually use the software that I had published, but they couldn’t use the software because some error in my code… And I ended up learning that it was because I was hitting an API basically too rapidly, too much… Oh man, it was a tough situation, because I had these students that were depending on the software… And let me tell you about how we went about finding out what the problem was, how we solved it, my experience learning about throttling for the first time, how I dealt with it… This is the language I use.” So much more engaging, than basically saying, “Oh yeah, you’ve got [unintelligible 00:50:29.16] from the server. Do exponential back-off.” You see the difference? But if you intro with that story, now you can tell me what your name is, because I’m like “Okay, fine, I know you’ve got the credentials, but let’s get back to the story.” If you can grab my attention from slide one, you’ve got me. I’ll listen to everything else you have to say, including who you are, and who you work for.

Click my affiliate links. [laughter]

Just remember that first sentence. Yeah. Well, that was a surprisingly popular opinion…

I want to say that Johnny and I did not plan this, but thank you very much. This was so smooth… Like vegan butter. So does anybody have an unpopular opinion?

So before the recording started, I was asking Natalie, “I didn’t prepare my unpopular opinion… What do I do?” And then Natalie was like “Oh, I don’t know. Maybe try ChatGPT.” So I did. And I had two types of opinion coming out of that tool. One was opinions that were not actually unpopular. The other was opinions that are so unpopular that they are revolting, and I will not talk about them in any recorded format whatsoever. So I guess my opinion - and I don’t know if this is popular or unpopular, but my opinion is that ChatGPT’s opinions are bad.

Unpopular opinions are bad.


[52:14] So you’d say its unpopular opinions are indeed unpopular?

That is a very good question. Probably. But this is becoming too like too many parentheses that, you know, the brain loses track… So I’m not that smart. I’ll leave that up you.

[laughs] Are you gonna leave that up to ChatGPT?

It’s like that language, Lua, that’s just parentheses all the way, entire lines of that…

Lisp, yeah.

Cool. Any more unpopular opinions?

I have another one… So I rarely eat chocolate, and I have chocolate bars, which consists of 99% to 100% chocolate… And there are people who say that I’m not allowed to call them chocolate bars. And I think 99% and 100% chocolate bars are still chocolate bars.

What is their argument against it being a chocolate bar? I agree with you.

It’s pure cocoa. So chocolate needs other ingredients… I guess that’s the requirement.

Yeah. And it’s very bitter, if you didn’t try them. And if people don’t know them, and put them in their mouths and chew on them, it’s a shock, because you shouldn’t chew them, and let them melt.

I think I need to see the product brief of what chocolate is. Then I can give an informed opinion.

I can show you a picture…

I actually know how chocolate is made… I don’t know what’s in it, but…

Okay, so chocolate is cocoa, some kind of fat, like butter, or milk, or whatever, and some kind of sweetener. So I think the sweetener we can do without, but chocolate is generally cocoa and fat. And I guess the dilemma here is if you remove the fact, that it’s just cocoa - is it still chocolate, or is it just cocoa?

Lindt sells them…

Okay, then it’s chocolate.

Yeah, Lindt [unintelligible 00:54:06.26] makes it… So come on, you’ve gotta trust the chocolatiers.

I don’t know, is this an opinion, or is this just like fact check and we’re done?

No, I think it’s an opinion. At least I know parts of it was an unpopular opinion…

It’s like that food company, I forget who, that had chips or something that was like 15% potatoes or something, and the rest was not potatoes, and then they were food, but then it was not food, for taxation reasons… It reminds me of that thing. I will add that in the show notes as well.

Is tomato sauce a salad? [laughter]

Is that your unpopular opinion, “Tomato sauce is a salad”?

No, I’m just adding fire to the controversy.

But it’s 100%, you cannot add anything.

So the one percent is sometimes sugar. So there’s a little bit of potential…

I think it’s chocolate. I agree.

It looks like this might just be an unpopular opinion, because look at the discussion… Cool.

All this debate… Yeah.

Good job. Any more?

I have one. I don’t trust any company, including whatever employer I might be working for at the moment.

So who do you work for right now? [laughter]

I will not divulge any information about anybody… But yeah, I’m just saying that, at the time of this recording, dear listener, when you will be listening to this in the future, or far into the future, the tech industry is going through a massive round of layoffs, and thousands and thousands of people across big tech are being laid off. And the way these layoffs are happening is kind of disconcerting a little bit. You know, people are finding out the morning before going to work that their logins don’t work anymore, and things of that nature. They don’t even get a chance to say goodbye to colleagues, and things… And people are just flooding social networks with basically how they feeling – they’re sort of dealing with their emotions out in the open, and things like that. And it’s hard to see that, and it’s hard to sort of reason about why companies do things that way.

[56:13] I’m a realist, I understand that layoffs are part of sort of the way things work at a business, especially businesses here in the United States. I’m not familiar with all the nuances of how it works across the world, but I’ve been around long enough to know that, okay, this is something you should expect at least once or twice in your – if you have a long career, there’s a chance you might get laid off at some point.

So I fully expect these kinds of things. But the way it’s done can say a lot about a company. Some companies, they do it well, if you can consider a layoff something that can be done well. Some do it better than others, let’s just put it that way. And I’m not naming names, or anything like that. I’m just speaking generally here. But because of that, because I know how capitalism sort of pushes, what direction it kind of pushes companies, in terms of shareholder value being number one, regardless of what companies say about what their value systems are, and what they care about most… You know, “People are number one–” You’ll hear that all the time. Everybody says “People, people, people, people, number one, number one, number one.” But at the end of the day really it’s shareholders… And I say that fully being a shareholder myself. So you know, I understand sort of that dichotomy here. But at the end of the day, I also believe that we should be looking out for ourselves. We can’t fully trust a company. The days of “I worked for this company for 40-50 years, and I retired with a pension from the company” - those days are long gone. So basically as workers in the system, we shouldn’t try to operate as if the loyalty we give to companies is going to be reciprocated, because at the first sign of a shareholder saying, “Hey, you need to do layoffs, because you know, the revenue from last year is too low, or I think you pay people too much”, companies are going to do that, because they are beholden to shareholders, not to you, the worker.

So that’s why I kind of half-jokingly say I don’t trust any company, but I kind of don’t… Let’s just put this way - I expect companies to behave the way they are doing now. And because of that, I will never put all my eggs in any one basket.

Do you think unionization efforts, like we have at The New York Times, is gonna help with that? Not to jump into a semi-controversial discussion, but I’m genuinely intrigued, because part of the reason - and those who maybe don’t know, New York Times, our tech workers all unionize. We’re currently in kind of negotiations with the company. Does the concept of like a union or an external party being able to advocate for workers - do you think help that relationship? Or is that a step in kind of being the shield, of like - you still have no trust, and you’re just as unprotected?

Personally, I think - and I invite others who jump in here as well… Personally, I think when you bring in unions, they tend to sort of level-set everything… So the union trust sort of provides this equilibrium across the board, so that everybody gets treated fairly, and etc. So there’s that; there’s value in that, right? But what inevitably ends up happening is that rather than lifting everybody up, the company tries to bring everybody down to the same level. Sometimes the incentives don’t align, and you end up having sort of the common ground, but it’s the worst possible common ground. It’s the stuff we could agree to settle on after a lot of back and forth, after the company’s saying, “Well, I don’t want to do this”, and the union says, “Well, you should do this…” You end up basically having less for everybody, but everybody gets the same less, right? That’s just my opinion of how unions affect certain industries.

Again, I’m not an economist, I don’t know enough of the subject matter to actually speak with authority on it… But that’s just my impression from – and I’ve heard of what unions do to other industries, and having heard through the grapevine, and having heard like on Twitter and social media and whatnot, all efforts to unionize, certain sectors within tech, that’s usually inevitably what comes out of it. Basically, the bar gets lower, so that nobody – you get the worst of all possible things for everybody involved.

[01:00:08.19] I think there’s different viewpoints to this discussion… And as an individual, you need to hold all the viewpoints at the same time for your best interest. So as an individual, you’re a part of a community, and I would say that as a member of a community, you should strive to better that community. So unions are one step in that direction, which is like “We are all gonna get together and try to ensure our rights” etc. And that’s cool. And a bigger example of that is workers’ rights that affects entire countries. So you know, here in Germany you can’t just get fired; it’s not at-will employment, let’s say, as it is in the US. So that can be beneficial in more situations than not, which is great.

But at the same time, if you look at Brazil, for example, there was this big political shift there in like 2015-2016, around that time. Brazil had really good workers’ rights, and I am slightly out of touch lately, but as far as I know, a lot of that has been reverted. So you can’t trust that these things will be there forever, as an individual. So as a member of society, as a member of a community, or a tradecraft, or something like that, you should strive for those things, but as an individual, you can’t expect that they’re going to be there forever, because as we can see in the real world, oftentimes they won’t.

So I think Johnny’s right, and there’s like basic economics advice that is given fairly widely. So you need an emergency fund; assume you’re going to be fired at all times. “Oh, but I live in Europe. I’m never gonna get fired.” Have an emergency fund anyway; maybe not that big, but have an emergency fund. That emergency fund needs to cover all your expenses for X number of months, depending on your risk profile. You need that. “Oh, I’m expecting my bonus. I’m gonna pay my credit card debt with the bonus at the end of the year.” Maybe you’re gonna get fired the day before you get the bonus. So don’t count on the bonus before it hits your bank account.

So it’s like, aim for the utopia, but plan for the dystopia. You need to be conservative when it comes to your finances. Even if you think you have rights, and if you are in a union etc. you need to have some planning as an individual, because you often can’t count on the collective to help you.

I have to say that the unpopular opinion that I prepared is so simple, or such an easygoing subject that it almost feels like it doesn’t fit here… But I will do that nevertheless.

[01:02:40.14] Oh, let’s end on a high, positive note. It doesn’t have to be a downer… [laughter]

So I am going to a Pilates class that is very small, with five machines. So it’s room for five people and the trainer. And usually, it’s like two, three people, roughly… It’s not the same people always, but it’s a rotation of people. And today, somebody came who was never there before, and that person was breathing like doing deadlifts. And that was really not cool. So that is the background story. And I always find unpopular opinions that sound really bad in tweets, when this is going out for a poll… And this is definitely going to be one of those, but when you join a group activity of sports of other people as a class, not as like you go running with your friends, be mindful of the sound and the breaths of the place. [laughter] Good thing that nobody else is on Twitter anymore, so I cannot lose any more followers over this opinion.

So what you’re saying is “Don’t breathe on a Pilates class.”

Check your breath at the door. [laughs]

Take a moment to understand what is the sound, what is the atmosphere of the class before you bring your vibe.

Learn how to hold your breath for 45 minutes.

It’s true, it’s very hard things; everybody’s – you know, I’m not gonna say suffer quietly, but I don’t have a better thing to say. You’re working really hard and you’re doing a physical effort. That is how you have sore muscles. Yes. But don’t bring different vibes into a room that has a vibe set, when doing a small group exercise. You know, if it’s 30 people in an aerobics class - sure everybody’s going to be – you know, you’re going to hear the music anyway. That’s one thing.

But you know that exhaling deeply releases stress. Perhaps the Pilates class was so good for him that he or she was totally released, and it’s actually a sign, but just uncommon.

See, that’s an unpopular opinion. There’s disagreements, yes. [laughs]

You see, when I was a kid, I was bullied because I was breathing, and I just stopped, and I actually haven’t breathed since 1995… And that’s actually why I never got COVID. So good advice.

[laughs] She stopped breathing…

Just stop. You don’t have to.

I’m gonna be so, so worried for that.

Nobody can force you to breathe.

I’m going to a class later today and I’m gonna be like “Oh my God, am I breathing too loud?”

“Should I breathe?” [laughter]

“Oh, no…”

There’s the difference - so you can exhale quietly, and you can exhale like you just dropped 100 kilos. Just do it when it’s appropriate.

I think severely overestimate my fitness… Like, it’s a struggle just to move my legs.

Classes are hard. I’m there with you.

But the advantage of online classes is there’s nobody except the people in your flat, where you breathe, which can be good I think, in this situation…

I really like that unpopular opinion.

Don’t breathe.

Don’t breathe!

[laughs] Yeah. Well, with this uplifting tone, we will say bye to everyone. Take a deep breath and exhale once you’re on mute. Bye, everyone.


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