Presenting in absentia

For our annual tech writer conference at work, I gave a talk about the sixteen-year history of our developer docs style guide; I created the original version of the guide in 2005.

The conference had the presenters prerecord their talks this year, so I recorded mine before I went on leave. The people running the conference asked me whether I wanted to do a 30-minute recorded talk, or a 25-minute recorded talk with five minutes at the end for live Q&A. I chose the latter; I knew I would be on leave, but I figured it would be easy enough for me to spend five minutes on a video call. When the first recording I did was a few minutes too long, I cut some material and re-recorded to get it down to about 25 minutes.

I made sure to put the date and time of the talk in my calendar so I wouldn’t forget about it, and then I went on leave.

A week ago, I checked my calendar to be sure that the talk wasn’t last week, and I saw that it was this week.

And then I forgot all about it.

And the talk was today.

And I had somehow managed to only put the calendar event in my work calendar, and I’ve turned off notifications from my work calendar while I’m on leave.

So I completely missed it.

This isn’t a disaster. I imagine that when the recorded talk was over, someone asked if I was there, and when they got no answer, they took a five-minute break instead. Or maybe other editors answered questions in my stead, dunno.

But I am nonetheless rather annoyed with myself, both because I had told the organizers I would be there, and because I put a fair bit of extra work into making sure there would be time for this Q&A. Also because one of my points near the end of the talk was that we’re working on improving transparency and getting more input from the tech writers, so it would have been good to be there to get that input.

Oh, well. Nothing to be done. I dropped an apology note to the organizers, and I’ll move on.

But still. Disappointing.

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