This year, my friend Corey Haines returned to CodeMash to facilitate lightning talks. Let’s talk about lightning talks.

Corey Haines, standing behind the transparent CodeMash podium, introducing a lightning talk

What is a lightning talk?

A lightning talk is a short presentation – about 5-10 minutes in length -that focuses on a few key points. They’re good for introducing a topic and leaving the audience wanting more. If you want to get into speaking and aren’t sure where to start, lightning talks are a great way to put yourself out there by talking about something you’re excited about.

These are some of the folks who spoke at CodeMash 2023’s lightning talks.

Tony Stark and C4 for Igniting Earning Potential

First of all, Tony Stark was around for a good portion of the conference. He stayed in character, which really won my kids’ hearts. Second of all, he showed up and told us about things Scott Showalter talks about – blasting through financial barriers and igniting your earning potential. He kicked off the lightning talks, and his stage presence was fun!

Tony Stark, kicking of lightning talks at CodeMash 1000

The Lightning Talk on Giving a Lightning Talk

He started this by suggesting it in Slack:

Should we have a lightning talk on how to prepare for a lightning talk??  :joy:

Andrew Potozniak

Then, Andrew made good on it! There were some A/V issues to start but once they got that worked out, he told us what it takes to give a lightning talk. Hopefully he signed the waiver to release the video, because it’s a great one to prepare for delivering a lightning talk!

Andrew Potozniak, giving a lightning talk on how to give a lightning talk

Raise Your Hand If You Know the Answer

Damian Synadinos was up next after Andrew. He took us on a quick journey to understand proprioception, how it relates to testing, and why it is important. He had us raising our hands, looking at our hands, and learning all at once. It was a very engaging lightning talk!

Damian Synadinos getting ready to have us raise our hands while explaining proprioception

Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Get Involved in the Tech Community

I knew I wanted to do a talk on getting involved in the community. However, I didn’t know exactly my approach until I was playing with Microsoft Designer and had it draw a “black star with a gold background in colored pencil”. Once I saw the results, I knew a Hamilton-themed presentation would appear. What were my Hamilton song reasons to get involved in the community?

  • Helpless – If you feel helpless, turn to the community. We can help you!
  • The Room Where It Happens – Be there where announcements and deals happen. (Yes, I may have sang a bit of this. 😂)
  • Satisfied – This is how you probably feel after helping others in the community.
  • Blow Us All Away – We all come from different walks of life, different backgrounds. Bring your perspective, as you can blow us all away with new ideas.
  • Stay Alive – Get a pulse on the technologies that are being used and how to keep your career alive.

I also include ways to find your community and get involved. (By the way – 6 minutes goes QUICKLY! I think I clocked in at just over 6.5 minutes – despite rehearsing multiple times and coming in under 6 minutes. 😖)

Sadukie talking about getting involved in the community. Picture credit goes to the 8-year-old Saduklet

Legacy of the Printing Press

Jamey Alea told us the story of the printing press and why it’s still relevant today. They also shared their passion for letterpress printing and encouraged us to get into hobbies that have us working with our hands. Jamey also happened to run sessions all week on soldering – talk about working with your hands!

Jamey Alea, standing in front of a slide with words laid out for typesetting

Refactor your self care

Esther Gotfryd reminded us that we have to take care of ourselves. Her intro included that she’s not a techie but has been associated with it for 24 years. (She’s married into it. More on her husband soon!) 😂

Esther Gotfryd talking about self care

Data Quality Lessons Learned from 2200-3300 Years of Writing One Book

Reading this lightning talk title, I wondered what Nuri Halperin was going to talk about. There are a handful of books that came to mind. Nuri talked about the quality lessons learned from those replicating the Torah. This is a great story of understanding the process of making copies of the Torah and how they maintain the quality of those copies – and these lessons can be applied to quality even in software.

Nuri Halperin talking about the crew responsible for creating copies of the Torah

How I stopped hating metrics

Ilya Gotfryd started his lightning talk mentioning that he isn’t in psychiatry but happens to be married into it. The way his intro mirrored his wife’s was adorable and funny! 😂 He told us about the metrics used to help him lose weight.

Ilya and Esther were one of two husband-wife teams presenting lightning talks this year! 🥰

Ilya Gotfryd, talking about how he stopped hating metrics and learned to lose weight

Talking about 3D Filaments

In case I haven’t mentioned it, meet Kevin! This guy came to lightning talks to talk about 3D filaments. His submission was the first one on the list. We were the other husband-wife team with lightning talks.

Kev has been into 3D printers for awhile, and he shared all sorts of details on the different types of filament used for printing including the pros and cons. We have 2 3D printers here – an Ender and a Robo. He’s printed all sorts of things – including picture anchors, drying racks for plastic bags, my microphone stand, phone cases, tchotchkes, and more. So I was excited to see him giving this talk!

Kevin Dutkiewicz talking about 3D filaments – in this picture, there’s a slide for PETG.


We had 6 minutes to share topics we wanted to share. Those 6 minutes go by quickly. I’m glad that we had this opportunity. Thanks to Corey for facilitating these and bringing them back to CodeMash! Thanks to Christopher Sauer and the A/V crew for all the A/V adventures throughout the lightning talks. It was a great experience overall. If you want to get into speaking or practice talking about something you enjoy in a short period of time, consider giving a lightning talk!

By sadukie

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