State of the ReverentGeek, June 2016

I can't believe it's been a year since my last blog post! So much has happened. TL;DR: I am a very blessed man, and so grateful for the incredible opportunities I've had over the past year!

Look, ma! I'm a innernashunul spaker!

In addition to whole bunch of fantastic conferences in the US, I've had the privilege of a few international speaking engagements. My wife and I made our first trip to London, thanks to the opportunity to speak at NDC London. I made my first trip to South America to speak at JSConf UY in Montevideo, Uruguay. And, I made my second trip to Oslo, Norway to speak at NDC Oslo!

While at NDC Oslo, I was fortunate to be a part of PubConf. It's fun after-party event, that follows the ignite talk format. You have 5 minutes, 20 slides, and each slide auto-advances after 15 seconds. My talk was titled Win Hearts with Your Craptastic Drawings, in which I attempted to persuade the audience to use hand-drawn illustrations for maximum impact. The pinnacle of the event was Rob Conery doing a "roast" of the previous 12 ignite talks. So much fun!

I've been everywhere, man

Spinning Electrons

Speaking of fun, I've been speaking a lot about Electron. Electron is an awesome bit of technology built on top of Node.js and Chrome for creating truly portable desktop apps for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Want a 30-minute introduction? Check out this recording from Nodevember.

I also gave a hands-on Electron workshop at JSConf UY. If you're interested in going through the exercises, you can find them here on GitHub.

Do you even beard, bro?

I decided around Christmas to grow out my beard. I've had facial hair for more than 20 years, but never let it grow out very long. It's certainly received a lot of attention. One person told me, "It's past the point of no return!" I agree. I think this might be the new signature "me."

So, with an upgraded face, I decided I need an updated avatar for the socials. Here's what I came up with (click to watch the speed drawing):

The making of the avatar

A video posted by David Neal (@reverentgeek) on

Drawing Intensifies

I've had such phenomenal success with my hand-drawn illustrations, I decided to "up my game" and get an iPad Pro and the Apple Pencil. I couldn't be happier. The above avatar illustration was created using Procreate, which is an amazing app.

By the way, I've been sitting on a half-written blog post about the tools and techniques I use for creating my hand-drawn illustrations for my talks. I'm hoping I'll get in the groove of blogging again and finish that up.

Up Next

I have so many exciting speaking opportunities coming up. CodeStock is an annual favorite, and it seems I've built a good reputation there. In August, I'm making my first trip to Australia to speak at NDC Sydney! Immediately following NDC Sydney, I'm speaking at That Conference and Code on the Beach, then a short break before heading to Music City Agile and Music City Code in my favorite city, Nashville, TN. If you're interested in keeping track of where I'm speaking, or where I've spoken in the past, take a look at my speaking engagements page.

I've started working on a new talk. Right now I'm calling it, Public Speaking without Barfing on your Shoes. (Credit for the title goes to my fellow grumpy-pants friend, Jim Holmes.) Current abstract:

Sooner or later, we are called on to speak. Out loud. In front of an audience. We may have to present something to our team, our leadership, or even a larger group of (--gulp--) mostly strangers. Public speaking strikes fear into the hearts of nearly everyone... especially those of us who are very shy. Imagining people in their underwear does not help.

I have been speaking at conferences, user groups, and meetups for many years. However, as a shy introvert, this is not something that comes natural to me! If I can do it, so can you! In this fun and light-hearted talk, I want to share with you what I have learned from my hard-won experience. Introverts and extroverts alike will walk away with practical tips on preparing and giving effective presentations.

If you have any suggestions on the abstract, specific things you think I should cover in this talk, or any tips to share, please let me know!

Warm Moist Regards

Here's my parting pro tip. Take a minute each day to think about the things you are grateful for. Even the stuff that seems to be going wrong, try to think of some way it's going to make you stronger or better in the end. This, too, shall pass!

Thanks for reading! I hope you have a blessed day!