Thanks to being a competitor in the Microsoft Imagine Cup 2012, I had the chance to serve as a Microsoft Evangelist. This was my job between April 2012 and October 2012.
It was super simple, and it was unpaid work which consisted of attending different events. These were usually events sponsored by Microsoft and and where they talked about Microsoft’s technology.
My friends and I had expertise in C#, Azure and some APIs from Microsoft, so it was easy and I really enjoyed it. Microsoft paid for all of my expenses: plane tickets, bus tickets, food, hotel and so forth. But they didn’t pay me for my labor – I didn’t expect it either.
Meanwhile, on a daily basis, I went to a coworking space named SUMA Conectivo, in Mar del Plata, Argentina, I organized some small events for coworkers and others where we discussed different technology topics.
Once, in August 2012, we organized an International Hackathon, between Argentina, Chile, Brazil, and the United States. It ran for 12 hours and the idea was to build something in that time frame. I was also pleased that the Miami Herald mentioned me for my creation.
At that time, there weren’t a lot of apps and services that offered the feature to live stream from your camera. Facebook Live didn’t exist, nor did Instagram Live or Snapchat. So I made a web-app that allows you to live stream, were you could also see tweet activity for a specific hashtag next to the video. We used #hacklatam.
Here are some valuable lessons I learned about talking about technology to real-world audiences.
- Talking in public: I think this is a skill, and like almost all skills, you can always improve it. How can you improve it? By doing it, each time you speak to an audience you are improving. This has helped me improve my skills a lot.
- Networking: I underestimated the power of networking when I was young. I was a strong believer that you can connect with everybody via DM (Twitter, Facebook, email, …). But I was wrong, of course. Having real talks and connecting for real with other human beings is much more powerful than sending a LinkedIn invite or cold mailing/calling.
- Internet and Technology audiences are huge: I grew up sitting at my computer alone at home. I actually used to believe that I was weird because my friends didn’t have the same interest in or knowledge of the Internet as me. Time showed me that I was wrong. There are a lot of people doing awesome things with technology.
- Always have a Plan B, C or Z: Normally, when you have to do a live demo of a product or run code in front of an audience, there are a lot things that can go wrong, in ways that you can’t imagine. Thanks to this short experience as an Evangelist, I learned that you should always have a backup plan in case everything fails.