A Rude Dude Presenter
Update: On the advice of my usually wise wife, I've revised this post by removing the name of the offender. I still stand by what I wrote, but have decided to focus on the rude act rather than on the actor. My point in writing this, really, was not directed at the presenter but rather the audience. We shouldn't enable this kind of thoughtlessness by politely standing by. A few years ago I watched another presenter knowingly go way over his time until someone in the audience stood up and pointed out to the speaker that he was cutting into the next guy's session. Half the audience cheered. We (in the audience) should do that more often.
One of the featured speakers at TCEA is someone who is everywhere on the speaker circuit these days, rebuilding the buzz as the release of his next book draws near. His first book was required reading in my games class several years ago so I was looking forward to hearing him speak. Yesterday I hustled over to the convention center for his 8:00 a.m. session.
Not a bad presentation, done in Lessig style with few words per slide, but it was mostly the same familiar stuff: thanks to a life of game/video/rich media exposure, kids are wired differently from the rest of us and must therefore be taught differently. Yeah, OK, maybe.
But here's my beef. Sessions at the conference were scheduled for 45 minutes with a 15 minute break in between. By 8:45, he was nowhere near the end of his slides, so he asked the audience if it was OK if he just kept on going past his time slot. Several hands were raised in assent, and he forged ahead.
Dave Thornburg was sitting next to me in the back row, waiting to go on stage at 9:00 with a presentation about Linux and he, understandably, was not OK with the presenter expanding his domain. Dave walked up to the front of the room and spoke to him, he nodded and then resumed.
By 8:55 the speaker was still plowing through his slides, (there were 160 of them, he told us proudly) and was clearly not about to stop until he got to the last one. Dave got up and stood right next to the stage waiting for the hint to be taken, but the slides just kept on coming until the stroke of 9:00, the last one supposedly being a punchline of sorts that just had to be shown. That left Thornburg with a time slot shortened by the time needed to get the other presenter unplugged, off stage and himself set up. The presenter was completely unapologetic.
Rude, rude, rude. An inconsiderate ass. Note to program chairs of future conferences: schedule people like this at the end of the day or give them a facilitator with a stun gun.