Reducing my international speaking

I’ve been immensely privileged to be invited to speak at various international developer conferences, and until now I’ve usually tried to accept the majority of those invitations. I’ve had a wonderful time, and made many dear friends – who I’ve often then caught up with at other events.

However, I’ve recently found that travelling has become increasingly disruptive for me as a human – mostly in terms of missing my family. Additionally, I’m finding it hard to justify taking so many flights when it comes to the environmental cost of flying.

I still intend to do some international speaking (assuming I’m still invited, of course) and probably more UK-based talks. Additionally, I’m very happy to work with any conferences who’d be interested in me speaking remotely via a live stream. I’m hoping that the future of developer conferences is a mixture of in-person talks (which absolutely still have their place) and remote talks which retain the element of interactivity with attendees. I’m more than happy to get up in the middle of the night to fit in with a schedule, etc.

I’ll be linking to this post if/when I decline invitations on these grounds, partly as a way of demonstrating “It’s not you, it’s me.” If you’re reading this post in that context, please understand that I wish you all the best for your conference, and I’m pretty confident that you’ll be able to find a much more interesting speaker than me anyway :)

8 thoughts on “Reducing my international speaking”

    1. That’s very kind of you. While I won’t be at CodeMash 2020, that wasn’t due to this – it was just that none of my talks were accepted, which is fine. I’m sure I’ll submit more talks in future years though :)


  1. As for the environmental impact, an interesting idea I’ve heard about is to to continue to fly, but also offset that by paying to support changes that reduce CO2 emissions. Here’s an article from Tom Scott about this:

    Though that doesn’t help with you missing your family. And I can certainly understand if this approach doesn’t appeal to you for other reasons.


    1. That’s a good post, thanks. I’ve always been a bit skeptical about carbon offsetting, but that may be unjustified. I do think it would be great for conferences to start offering to include carbon offsetting as part of the travel expense they’ll pay for – and that would definitely influence which conferences I attend in future.


  2. I think that more conferences should live stream speakers and make that available to attendees so that they can attend remotely. Being away from your family is one of the toughest things to go through… especially if your kids are still young like mine. I was in the US for 3 weeks and my son took it quite hard. I have to admit, having to do that on a regular basis, would not work for me as a dad.

    I love being a dad (even though I remind me of my dad sometimes, which makes me feel old). So scaling back on your international speaking commitments is totally understandable and kudos to you for making that decision to put your family first.

    In this day and age of the Internet, there is no reason why a well organised even’t can’t live stream any speaker :-)


  3. Don’t worry guy, in 2020 there will be a global pandemic that will make traveling for just talking 30 minutes a thing of the past.

    You took the right decision

    Liked by 1 person

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