I spoke at LinuxCon last week on “Understanding Volunteers”. As always I felt terrible before I was speaking and oddly I still felt rather glum after I finished. It was difficult speaking in front of a mostly Japanese audience. I was incredibly worried that no-one would understand anything I was saying and very aware of cultural differences. Like most of the talks I saw I ended up finishing early which left extra time for questions. I was asked two questions but one of those was “what questions do you get asked at other conferences?”.
I ended up walking an extra 5,000 steps that day though, just in pacing around in circles before I had to talk.
I did learn some things by giving the talk. I now have a much better idea of how the research I have read on the motivations of people who work in Open Source can be applied to the community. And I got to have a couple of conversations regarding the concept that Japanese people are not good at trusting strangers and that they don’t necessarily want to work in an open environment. (These were not my ideas, but the ideas of some people doing post-graduate research on this area.)