Note: the fake template string below is intentional
I’m sure you’ve received marketing emails that start like this. It’s obvious that someone botched the mail merge. It feels lazy or incompetent, definitely unprofessional. But what if they got it right? What if your name was correct in the greeting? Is that really any better? Honestly, have you ever truly believed they were sending emails just to you?
I have hundreds of customers and subscribers to my email list. Does anyone think I send them individually? For me, it’s better to skip the pretend personalization and be straight with you. I send emails to hundreds of people, and we should be OK with that. That doesn’t mean the content of the email isn’t useful. I try to make all my communications valuable and not a waste of my readers’ time.
I want to start by telling you about an amusing technique I learned on Twitter to combat this very thing. Consider LinkedIn for a moment. I get lots of emails from recruiters who view my LinkedIn profile. Many of them are obviously bulk emails, loaded with irrelevant and sometimes inappropriate job opportunities. A very few of them are genuine, written directly to me, and maybe worth a response. The technique I want to share with us is that I added a US flag emoji to the front of my first name. My official name on LinkedIn is 🇺🇸 Michael Callaghan.
If someone is using a bulk email system with mail merge capabilities, the software will blindly copy my first name so the email is addressed “Dear 🇺🇸 Michael”. I usually ignore those. Humans, on the other hand, are very unlikely to address me as “🇺🇸 Michael,” and will instead address me as simply “Michael.” I will read and often respond to those emails.
As I said, a simple, fun, and surprisingly effective technique. Credit goes to @kvlly on Twitter for the idea. It probably won’t last, though. More and more systems will eventually be modified to strip emojis from names. But it’ll be fun until they do.
DEVIntersection Fall 2021
Now I’ll get to DEVIntersection. This was my first time attending the Las Vegas event. I’ve been to the Orlando conference three times, most recently as a speaker. For this one they accepted my proposal to give an all-day Ionic-Angular workshop. I’ve never tried doing a long workshop publicly before, so I had no idea what to expect. I asked my son Ben to assist me.
We ran the workshop twice. The first one was at my son’s office for his coworkers the Friday before the conference. This led to some tweaks and simplifications.
After that we drove the six hours from Lehi, Utah to Las Vegas. I spent most of the drive continuing to tweak and improve the deck, and then more time on Sunday, the day before the official workshop.
Monday morning found us in a small room in the MGM Grand, setting up our recording gear. We ended up getting four attendees. Three of them made it for the entire day. During our 6-hour session, we built a mobile app from scratch using Ionic Framework and Angular. It was entirely hands-on, with each attendee expected to follow along.
Our final half hour was spent live coding an Xcode project and installing it on my iPhone. Surprisingly, it all worked perfectly! 😁
The purpose of recording the presentation is so that I can eventually make it available to a wider audience. We had two recordings going all day: one an audio and video of me on the small stage; the other was the information being presented to the class, or so I thought.
When I opened all the recordings to start stitching them together, I realized my mistake. I recorded the wrong monitor all day. Instead of recording the class content, I recorded my slide notes for 6 hours. All is not lost, though. The video and audio of me seem fine, so I simply need to edit the deck into the video. It won’t be hard, but it will be monotonous. I probably won’t get to it until after the new year.
Once the first video is ready, I’ll probably put it up on Gumroad and/or YouTube and let you know where you can find it. Depending on its reception, I may decide to finish it and make the entire workshop available for sale.
The rest of DEVIntersection went pretty smoothly for the most part. I presented two more Angular topics, based on content from Angular Advocate and my Angular PWA book and course.
They scheduled both sessions back-to-back on Tuesday afternoon. I was to present the final two sessions of the day, in a room about as far away from the expo hall as possible. Each session was scheduled for one hour, but my Angular “Resolve or Die” presentation is barely 20 minutes long. Naturally, it was the first one. I finished more than half an hour too soon and had way too much time between the two sessions. I don’t think anyone would have minded had I finished the final session early. I think it’s time to retire that particular presentation unless someone wants a 15-20 talk about Angular data loading strategies.
The final session, Angular PWA, went over really well. There was just the right amount of audience participation with lots of good questions.
Unfortunately, I needed to get back to work and could not complete the conference. I had already taken a week off, so I cut my visit short and flew home Wednesday.
What’s Next for Conferences?
DEVIntersection is going back to Las Vegas in April 2022. I don’t know if I want to go back there so soon. I’m also considering submitting a few brand new sessions to ng-Conf, being held in March in Salt Lake City. I’ve never been accepted there, so I really want to take my time and get the titles and summaries right.
Here are the topics I’m considering.
- Slow Down to Get Ahead: If you want to make a stronger, more positive impression to those around you in your daily life, personal or professional, I have two words of advice: slow down.
- Unleash the Shell: The command line is all the rage these days. From node to git to the Angular CLI. Many developers have been using command line tools for decades, but some are only just now getting their feet wet. In addition to hundreds of available commands, most *nix shells make extensive use of symbols.
- Don’t Tell Them No: Very few people like hearing the word no. It isn’t pleasant. For example, how do you feel when you make a request and the answer is a quick no? Saying no shuts down a conversation. It is final, leaving little room for negotiation. On the other hand, you can’t say yes to everyone. it is simply not possible or realistic to agree with every request. What can you do?
- Angular to Phone in Minutes: Do you have an Angular app that is currently deployed to the web? Bring a laptop and a USB cable. Open your project in your favorite code editor and then follow along as we deploy it to your mobile device in mere minutes!
- Progressive (Angular) Web Applications: Deploy any static Angular app as a PWA without paying Google or Apple for the privilege. Not just a presentation, this will be a hands-on experience where you can deploy your own code as a PWA.
Thoughts? If you read Don’t Say That at Work, two of them should look familiar. I don’t know how well those topics will translate to a live presentation, but I think I can make it work. Feel free to ping me on Twitter with any feedback.
Connect with Me
Do you have any comments, questions, or just want to see more? Please follow me on Twitter and let me know.
Did I make any mistakes in this post? Feel free to suggest an edit.