Juha-Matti Santala
Community Builder. Dreamer. Adventurer.

5 minutes that changed my life

One night, I ended up in a discussion on Discord about how some websites use a certain type of algorithm to figure out if user's actions are organic-like (meaning human) or bot-like. I remembered seeing something about that in an older talk by Hilary Mason and went to Youtube trying to find it.

Instead, I found something I had forgotten, watched it and remembered how much that 5 minute talk inspired me.

If you can't see the Youtube embed, you can watch the talk here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2btv0yUPNQ

It's a talk by Hilary Mason in IgniteNYC from 2009. In 2011, I had studied in the university for a year and was very far from where I'm right now both mentally and professionally. As I watched the talk, so many memories rushed into my mind.

This is the talk that inspired me to become a tech speaker and start touring meetups and conferences to share my knowledge. It was so captivating and fun and inspiring that I wanted to do the same. 10 years later, I'm doing exactly that, although there's still a long way to reaching Mason's level of quality.

This the talk that inspired me to build small personal tools to help make my life easier or more fun. It taught me that you can do things that are goofy and experimental.

This is the talk that inspired me on how to present my projects and talk about them. This talk was not super technical (I think she later did a longer talk which was more technical in nature) but it caught my attention and told a story in a captivating way focusing on the main features and benefits of the project.

This is the talk that inspired me to work with data. Eventually I ended up in a different direction but this was a very influential moment for me and for the following 3-4 years I was very much focusing on building software around data and doing data visualizations. That interest took me to work in San Francisco in 2014 which on its own was a life-changing experience.

That's a lot of inspiration from a 5 minute presentation.

I hope that one day, one of my talks or blog posts will have that effect on someone.

Syntax Error

Sign up for Syntax Error, a monthly newsletter that helps developers turn a stressful debugging situation into a joyful exploration.