Saturday, September 27, 2014

Aim for the stars

One of the great things at most conferences is the keynote talks, since they are usually picked by the conference organizers in order to expand the mental horizons of the conferences goers.

The organizers behind the GOTO conferences are, in my opinion, particularly good at this.

Every time I've been to a GOTO conference (or a QCon conference where they have been involved), there has been at least one keynote talk, that made me rethink things, and look at the field in new ways.

At GOTO Copenhagen, there were several such talks, but one of them stands out in particular.

On a two-day conference, the least attractive keynote slot must be the early one on the second day (after the conference dinner the evening before), and I am always impressed by the speakers who can go on stage at that slot, and leave an unforgetable impression.

At GOTO Copenhagen it was Russ Olsen who gave his "To the Moon" talk.

I hadn't heard Russ Olsen before, but judging from the keynote talk, he is a great speaker, and I'll definitely check out any talks of his I come across in the future.

So, what was so great about Russ Olsen's talk?

Well, as my tweet embedded above states, it was about the Moon landing and what we, as a field, can learn from it. Most people would probably find this interesting as it is, but my description doesn't do the talk justice at all - Russ Olsen manages to express the feelings of nerverousness and wonder behind the whole process, especially during the last 10 minutes of decent towards the moon.

Russ Olsen also has a great message - quoting Kennedy, he reminds people that they shouldn't do something because it is easy, but because it is hard, and that nothing is impossible.

So, if you're at GOTO Aarhus, I would highly recommend going to Russ Olsen's keynote talk on Tuesday, even if the conference dinner made you get to bed late. But in case you miss it, it can apparently be found online.

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