Time to geek it up! I wanted this third part of my series to be a culmination of my previous Up and Running with Homebrew part 1 and part 2 blogs along with Forcing Myself to Learn by Teaching. I figured I’d compromise on forcing myself to learn and start the process by sharing something that I’d already been working with. It had become more important to me to start the process of collaboration and in the future swing for the fences by teaching something new.
At Isos, as part of our office culture we would regularly have a Geek Night event in which someone would share their insight of a particular technology with others in the company. In the past few months, though, these events had become rare and I decided to reignite our tradition by having a geek lunch. This way more people could participate and certainly nobody would protest getting a free lunch. Even those not in the office could join remotely through video chat collaboration.

Preparation and Presentation

My focus was to keep planning, preparing and executing the presentation in the quickest and easiest fashion. I came up with the following steps to keep myself on task and hammer it out without falling behind with my regular workload.

  • Schedule a meeting invite for lunch time on a day I knew most people would be in the office. In the agenda I included some links for them to find out more and to bring any questions. I also asked for contributions for those who had experience with the tools–to offer up suggestions and make corrections for any problems presented.
  • Condense my Homebrew blog entries into a Keynote presentation. Something simple to page through that showed highlighted concepts and some of the commands they’d be typing in.
  • Create an up-to-date Mac OS X installation in a virtual machine (resettable to an clean installation) so that I could step through all the Homebrew commands as a first time user during the presentation. This is the same technique I used when initially writing the blogs and it gave me the opportunity to step through the commands a few times beforehand and eliminate any potential problems.
  • Arrange lunch through a sandwich, burrito or equivalent restaurant website allowing me to initiate the order and each team member choosing their own menu items. This certainly saved me time and headaches.

And that was it. Pretty straightforward. Sandwiches arrived right on time and I was able to start stepping through the slides while jumping back and forth to the virtual machine for command entry. I’d gotten some positive feedback and a few people learned some new tools and techniques. In all, a win.

My Goals

My goal for this presentation was to give enough information to inspire people to investigate using new tools while minimizing the amount of my own preparation time. My overall goal is to reignite collaboration and to get people to learn new technology by sharing what they already know with others. There is enough experience between everyone in the office to keep us engaged for months. I want everyone to jump in and not let any barriers stand in the way like making the meetings too formalized or enforcing that information needs to be shared in any particular way. I want collaborative sharing to be a joyful experience that people can do efficiently. Not a painstaking task in which people would allow barriers to prevent them from completing. Don’t overthink it–just do it.
In all, it felt like it was a success and I’m already getting ideas for sharing additional productivity tips that I’ve been gathering. If these meetings become more regular and others start presentations of their own, then I’ll consider it a massive success.