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  • Fall 2010 Unconference Lightning Talks
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What is a "lightning talk"?

A lightning talk is a quick presentation. See also discussion of lightning talks in Wikipedia.

As well as being tremendously interesting and entertaining for attendees, the conference organizers recognize that lightning talks offer an unequaled opportunity for new speakers to present for the first time without going to the lengths required for a longer talk.

How do I give a "lightning talk"?

Mark Fowler's article has advice on effectively lightning talking.

How quick should my Unconference Lightning Talk be?

Your lightning talk should last no more than ten minutes. You will be cut off at ten minutes. A five-minute lightning talk is totally fine. A two-minute lightning talk is totally fine. Your talk should take as long as it needs to take to make a point, and no longer. Make a point. But if you need a few minutes to motivate your point, and then make it, and it takes nine minutes, that's okay too.

Lightning talks are scheduled as they are in the scheduling grid to provide a reasonable estimate of how long the activity will actually take. By no means do you need to be sure to exactly fill some particular ten minute slot.

How can I help?

Volunteer topics you could give a talk about. Lightning talks are a good way to leverage your existing experiences and interests into knowledge sharing. If you're an established presenter, people are likely interested in quick updates on what you're up to. If you're new to presenting, a lightning talk is a great way to get started. Likely there's something you're already doing at work, something you're ready to present today with a minimum of preparation.

Express interest in the talks others have proposed. Gauging interest is one important way for a slate of talks to emerge from the ideas on this page. It isn't necessary to go into the Unconference with an ironclad schedule of talks, but it is desirable to go into the conference with plenty of lightning talks being ready to go, with participants comfortable that they're ready to present something that others are open to hearing. You can express interest in others' talks here, and you can even guide others towards focusing their remarks closer to what you're looking for. (A few iconoclastic talks that people don't really want to hear but nonetheless need to hear would be interesting too.)

Propose topics you'd like others to talk about. Help others to realize they have expertise and experiences you'd like to hear about.

Brainstorm random ideas for talks, even bad ideas These can help trigger an idea or three.

Concrete Lightning Talk Ideas

These are ideas that intended conference participants have for lightning talks that they could give. As the Unconference approaches, plans will become more firm for how much time will be spent on lightning talks, whether they are plenary or concurrent, and which talks are scheduled. This is an Unconference, so of course plans can change and in particular nothing prevents using unscheduled time for presentation of additional topics or followup on these topics. But the idea is to go into the conference with confidence that there are plenty of available talks and participants are comfortable presenting them.

Right now, the goal is to encourage as many participants as possible to suggest what talks they might give, so that others can express interest in what's here, disappointment at what's not here, and thereby guide towards a good slate of talks.

Lightning talks Unconference Participants could give

(I bet you could give a lightning talk on the topics you listed as expertise and experience on the participants page where you signed up to attend the Unconference.)


Talk topic

People particularly interested in hearing this talk, comments

Andrew Petro

Form Binding and Validation in Spring Web Flow

Jeremy Rosenberg

Andrew Petro

Vision and code for the now-incubating Self Service Accounts Portlet


Andrew Petro

Lessons learned from a month of working remotely full time


Benn Oshrin

From the NetID to the NetProfile: making authz as "easy to grasp" as authn

Jeremy Rosenberg

Benn Oshrin

Report From ACAMP: Let's Try Again on OSS IDM


Benn Oshrin

I2 CoManage, VO Identity, and Why the Jasig Projects Might Care


Jeremy Rosenberg

OpenRegistry: State of the project


Lightning talk topics Unconference Participants would like to see someone give

What topics would you like to hear presented? (Yes, this relates closely to the column on what participants would like to learn about on the participants page where you signed up).


Who is interested in consuming this talk

Who could present this talk

Some examples of CASifying uncooperative applications

Andrew Petro

Adam Rybicki

An Open Source Course Schedule Display Portlet

Andrew Petro


What you need to know about SVN to be a successful Jasig committer

Andrew Petro


Any ideas that anyone has for Lightning Talks, whether they're good or not

This is for brainstorming. Feel free to add your ideas here. You don't have to be ready to present the idea, or think anyone else might present it. You don't even have to think it's a good idea. However, if you do think it's a good idea, or if interest is growing, feel free to "graduate" the idea to the above category of desired talks needing speakers.


Who is interested

"Departments are people too" modeling non-person entities in an identity management system

Jeremy Rosenberg

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