Another day, another conference - the fifth for me this year! I can't tell you how excited I am to continue my speaking career, and my latest stop was Heartland Developer Conference in Omaha, NE.

I was asked to submit to this one last-minute and was thrilled to have my Angular 2 and TypeScript talk accepted, along with a brand new talk on the Elm programming language, which is by far my new favorite frontend web framework (gasp!)

My talks

I did my Angular 2 and TypeScript talk to an audience of about 150. One challenge I faced was cutting it down from an hour to 45 minutes, but I ended up having a bit of time to spare. I spent some time beforehand improving my slide deck to cut out the excess words and rely on visuals or a key phrase.

One thing that I learned that I did early in my speaking career was using my slides as a crutch, e.g. I'd use the bullets to know what to talk about next. A friend told me that this is normal for new speakers, but I knew I wanted to do better. I really worked to eliminate this, because wordy slides aren't the ideal. After doing my Angular 2 talk for so long, I was pretty comfortable with the content and so it didn't take me much practice to deliver it without the wordy slides. Success!

The talk that I did on Elm was my proudest yet. I worked really hard to dial this one up to 11. The strategy/style for this talk was a mixture of some of my favorite speakers - Cory House (be entertaining, focus on selling the idea, and don't do live demos) and Jay Harris/Jeff Strauss (know your slides really well, transition naturally, and make your slide deck absolutely beautiful!)

Overall, I did a pretty good job, but I knew after I finished that I need a stronger closing. I also unintentionally rushed a bit, so I ended up with some extra time. One of the great benefits of being in the speaker community is the feedback you get from your peers. I was thrilled that Cory House was attending HDC, so I asked him to come to watch my Elm talk and critique it. He went so far as to take notes and was very thoughtful on things I could improve on. My friends Jon Mills and Ken Versaw also had some great suggestions. I can't wait to use their feedback to make my talks even better.

Session highlights

I wasn't able to attend any sessions this time, which really bummed me out, but hey - duty calls! However, I did catch the end of a couple of talks that were very popular. Namely:

Jon Mills' excellent talk on Habits of Highly Effective JavaScript Developers. It was the most popular session at the conference according to the conference software, which is awesome!

Heather Downing has cornered the market on unique talks in the mobile development space, including one on using beacons.

Finally, Cory did a great session on scalable JavaScript. I saw this one at KCDC and it's both entertaining and informative.


The MESH party was a ton of fun and the food was great. Awesome venue, good friends, and even a HoloLens to play with!


This wasn't a stop I was planning on making in my speaking travels, but it was a totally worthwhile one. I had a ton of fun and the tech community in Nebraska is awesome. If I have the opportunity, I'll definitely be returning next year!