Interesting comments. To those that thought the presentation sucked - my apologies. Contrary to some comments, I did do a lot of prep for that talk, but it's an odd approach, and not one I've taken in the past. Based on reactions, it's not one I'm ever likely to take again.
I've given a bunch of presentations in the past on Kamaelia, concurrency, and also on topics like how to manage creativity in an R&D project, as well as on open source in general, but this was the first time I'd really gone down the route of no slides, which was an explicit request.
Specifically, the brief for the talk was essentially "can you talk about this code example, introducing python as you go, assume you're talking to experience developers, but they may not be familiar with specific aspects of python, and please do it without using any slides". (this is a paraphrase)
So I took that brief and went with it, and having seen a variety of responses varying from "please go away and do not darken my door again", through to "That was fantastic, thank you", I've come to the conclusion that if this talk style was a food that it would marmite.
I think there is a place for that sort of thing, but when you've got 900 people captive in a room, having 400 people upset is not a great thing. Marmite is all well and good, but if there's that many people, aiming for a talk with a similar appeal level as chocolate or coffee is probably a better aim.
I think if I was to redo that talk, I'd probably want to discuss in greater detail picking out something more generally relevant, and representative, even if not "all code, no slides". I'd also aim for a better balance - with more useful slides. (If you look at previous presentations, I tend to think extremely heavily about what I put in them to assist what I'm saying rather replace what I'm saying)
When I gave a tutorial at Europython this year by contrast, I produced slides, but still did much of the tutorial in terms of a walkthrough. In a way, I think the key difference is that having actual slides gives an audience more cues that actually the talk is going somewhere specific.
This is all 20:20 hindsight of course. Before giving the talk I liked the code example, thought it interesting and useful, and a good idea. Even right before the talk, Joel checked with me that I was going to do what I did saying it had been a really popular approach elsewhere.
From a pragmatic perspective, it's worth mentioning that having the audio drop out as it did really doesn't help . I could hear it doing it, and it really throws you as a speaker, and from experience of sitting through talks with bad audio levels, I know it's awful to listen to as well. There wasn't really any excuse for this incidentally. I arrived at the venue shortly after 8 in the morning, when a technical run through was happening. I wasn't mic'd up however until 9:30 - near the end of Joel's talk. That could have been, and should have been sorted before people started coming in IMO.
As they say, you live and learn. If anyone has any specific suggestions for improvement, I'd welcome them either below or via email ( sparks dot m at gmail dot com ).
Incidentally, I only found out about this page by chance. No one seems to have bothered to let the speakers know these links exist.
Mind you, Stack Overflow didn't pay speakers expenses either (and no, neither did my employer), so when I found that many of the other talks were all marketing oriented I came to the conclusion that I'd been used and decided to head home mid-afternoon in order to get home before midnight. (I don't live anywhere near London, and due to timing in the day had to come down the night before)
I'm glad some people got something from the day, and once again, my apologies to those who hated my talk for following the brief I'd been asked to follow (I did after all choose to follow that brief).
Whilst that may come over a little b* * *y, that's not my intent - unless we're honest about where things go wrong things don't improve. As I say above, if anyone has any more feedback, please get in touch. To me it was a fail due to the amount of negative feedback, something I've not had in any previous presentations, so I have something to learn. Please don't assume anyone's told me what you're thinking, since I've seen both extremes - I'd like to know where you perceived things went well and where you think they went badly.
But on the upside, at least some people liked it - I'll try and do better next time. (if there is a next time)
You live and learn I guess.