Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I Gave a Talk, and It Didn't Suck

So yesterday I skipped (delegated) dinner with the quantitative finance guy from the hedge fund so that I could give a talk. Considering how choppy the talk was going when I was practicing it yesterday afternoon, I'm sort of surprised that it went so well in person. Well, maybe not, since based on all my teaching experience I have reached the point where I am pretty comfortable talking in front of a group.

Yet more evidence that what I do now is easier than math. Every time I gave a math talk I was a wreck. I couldn't hold all the parts of my argument in my brain at once. I had to be super-prepped in order to talk about math. Questions were terrifying. What I talked about last night is something that I wasn't even aware of until late May, early June. And I gave a good talk about it. And people liked my talk. Or at least they said they did. I was even able to answer the completely tangential questions. (My talk started out with a statement along the lines of, "I work with X and Y, and tonight I'm going to give an introduction to X." At the end of the talk someone asked, "How do you do Y?")

In other news from yesterday, there was still more evidence that I work with people who have incomplete frontal lobe development. They don't really seem to grasp the difference between my ignoring stupid stuff that is against the rules but doesn't really matter and my being unaware of it. But beyond that, yesterday I had to deal with two people who were even unaware that they should make at least a token effort to hide their stupidity from me. So then I had to be all directorial and threaten to make a fuss and to suggest consequences.

Looking forward to the next talk that I have to give, I am stuck on how to write it. It relies on both hardware and software. The hardware arrived on the loading dock yesterday and is being installed all this week and will probably take longer than anticipated to install. The talk also requires software that was supposed to be installed almost three weeks ago but that can not be installed until the hardware is all upgraded. Since the talk is about both software and hardware, I can't really do much about working on the talk until other people do stuff. So I sort of need to prep two versions: The version that works if the software gets installed and the version that works if the software doesn't get installed. And to make things worse, instead of working double-hard to prep two versions, I'm instead procrastinating until I know for sure which one version to do.

Maybe I should email the people who I met at my talk last night and network with them to see if they have any insight about either a real-job task that I'm supposed to be working on for a few months down the road or else something that will make life easier for the next person to do my summer job.

Or maybe I will work on my talk tonight. I was invited out to be social, but I think that I am too shy to go. I think that scotch-tasting is out of my league when it comes to social events. Better to spend my time working on writing a second non-sucking talk.