What are conference talks about?

Something I always think about when I write talks, which (I hope) sets them apart from the average conference talk, is that I'm not there to sell you anything. I don't care if you use the same tools I use. I'm not really there to sell Notion either. It's crazy how so much industry conf content is an ad these days. Ads obfuscate and conflate truth and opinion.

Conferences with no ads disguised as talks are so rare. This is why events like Handmade Seattle or Strange Loop get so much love. They are about technology and people and values, not tools and companies.

When I write a talk, I almost always just want you to walk away thinking about the technology you create as an instrument for advancing your values, and a lens through which to view the world with those values. And if I do my job right, you won't go back and use the library I talked about, or whatever. You'll think about the values you're advancing when you build your technology, and think about the perspective it reveals to its users and audiences. All else is implementation detail.

Of course, there are other topics that can make amazing talks, but I've found the most timeless and valuable ones I've watched from my personal heroes to be about these themes, and wherever organizers bless me with a license to talk about whatever I want to a captive audience (maybe too often), this is what I'll choose to try to communicate.