Leadership Guide for the Reluctant Leader

Regardless of the technology you know, regardless of the job title you have, you have amazing potential to impact your workplace, community, and beyond.

In this talk, I’ll share a few candid stories of my career failures… I mean… learning opportunities. We’ll start by debunking the myth that leadership == management. Next, we’ll talk about some the attributes, behaviors and skills of good leaders. Last, we’ll cover some practical steps and resources to accelerate your journey.

You’ll walk away with some essential leadership skills I believe anyone can develop, and a good dose of encouragement to be more awesome!

Note: I've given this talk several times as both a keynote and a presentation.
Video | Slides

You. Are. Awesome.

You may not realize it, but you are awesome. You have the power to change the world. Regardless if you are a student, professional, or “family engineer,” I firmly believe you have amazing potential to impact the people around you in powerful and meaningful ways. My goal is to help you realize the awesomeness you already possess and be encouraged to unleash it!

Note: This is the keynote I have given for conferences such as That Conference, DevReach, and NDC Oslo.
Video | Slides

JavaScript: Hey Y'all Watch This!

Ah, JavaScript! Like it or not, it’s a “tragically important” language that is “eating the world.” Hate it? Love it? Avoid it? Embrace it?

This talk is a parade of face-palm JavaScript fails, history of JavaScript, why it is the way that it is, how it's getting better, and bad jokes sure to get an eye-roll from everyone! Along the way, we may even learn a few mistakes to avoid and tips to make our own JavaScript less terrible!


Cross-Platform Desktop Apps with Electron

Would you like to leverage your HTML, CSS, and JavaScript skills to build cross-platform desktop applications? Electron is an open source application shell created by GitHub, designed to make building great desktop applications easy. You may have already experienced Electron apps such as Atom, Slack, or Visual Studio Code. In this talk, you will learn its features, how to quickly get started, and tips from my experience building Electron applications.

Video | Slides

Software and The Art of Delivery

Engineering, DevOps, IT, Marketing, ...you name it, there is a constant battle between going fast and doing it right. Add to the mix the fact that coordination across teams and departments comes at a high transaction cost. How can we minimize the friction?

At my time at LeanKit, we strove to continuously improve our processes across the entire organization. Along the way, we developed FSGD, which distills many core lean (and agile) principles into an easy-to-remember and easy-to-communicate thinking tool you can use to make better decisions about the work you do.

In this talk, I'll share with you the challenges we faced as we scaled, how we struggled, what we learned, and how we evolved. The goal is for you to walk away with tools and practical processes that will impact you and your team's success.

Note: I have given this talk as both a keynote and presentation.

Node.js Crash Course

Node.js is a compelling platform that is quickly spreading from startups to the enterprise. Node.js strategically unites developers of all backgrounds through the universal language of JavaScript. Why should you learn Node.js and where do you start? You will come away from this talk with the evidence to support Node.js, and tools you need to be productive. We will walk through a typical workflow of creating and debugging a web application. You will learn how easy it is to deploy, including Microsoft Azure. We'll also look at popular frameworks and modules, and other learning resources to give you the best start.

Video | Slides

Public Speaking without Barfing on Your Shoes

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 management, or even a larger group of 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 naturally 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.

Video | Slides

Take Back Project Sanity: The Kanban Journey

Kanban is just sticky notes on a whiteboard, right? There’s more to this methodology than you might think. Kanban harnesses the power of visual information to turn your team’s work into brain candy. However, visualization is only the beginning.

Whether you work in software development, operations, or professional cat wrangling, Kanban can help you continuously improve your process (yes, you have one!). That can help your team boost things like delivery speed, predictability, and quality.

In this fun and entertaining talk, you’ll learn the core principles and practices of Kanban, as well as how to maximize its potential to evolve how you, your team, and your organization works.


Sketchnotes: How Drawing Can Supercharge Learning

Have you ever sat in a presentation where an artist captured a summary on an art board using graphics and word art? It's fascinating to watch! You might think,

"Wow, I wish I could do that!"

Well, you can! Visual note taking, or "sketchnotes," is not only fun but also a powerful way to learn, think about information, and solve problems.

Regardless of your artistic ability, you can add simple illustrations to your notes that will help you remain engaged and focused and increase your learning.

In this talk, I want to share with you techniques to improve your note-taking system. You will walk away with the tools and resources you need to radically transform and improve the way you learn, process information, and communicate ideas!

Drawing: How to be a Superhuman Communicator

Who says communication has to be dry, dull, and boring? Simple, hand-drawn illustrations are a compelling and fun way to engage, inform, and win your audience of readers and viewers!

I firmly believe drawing is a skill that anyone can learn. The amazing thing is, there’s no such thing as “bad” art! With some fundamentals and practice, you can make an impact, and have fun doing it!

I started drawing about four years ago, and it is now an essential part of everything I do. I would love to share with you my bag of tips and tricks I’ve learned to create illustrations for presentations, articles, videos, and more!


Build Cross-Platform Desktops with Electron

4-hour workshop

Many companies are turning to Electron.js to build amazing desktop applications that run on Windows, Mac, and Linux using familiar Web technologies. In this hands-on workshop, we will learn the fundamentals of building desktop applications with Electron.js. Our goal is to walk away with a solid framework for building and deploying your own applications!



David is a family man, musician, illustrator, software developer, and Microsoft MVP living in North Georgia. He is currently a Senior Developer Advocate for Okta, runs on a high-octane mixture of caffeine and JavaScript, and is made entirely of bacon.