TCUK16 Speaker Raymond Gillespie – “Backspace to the future: plain text in the 21st Century”

Raymond Gillespie will be presenting at TCUK16 on “Backspace to the future: plain text in the 21st Century”.

Raymond Gillespie

In this presentation, Raymond Gillespie will step through the history of plain text software documentation. He’ll bring us up-to-date with some examples of contemporary documentation written in Markdown, reStructuredText and AsciiDoc—three of the most popular lightweight markup languages. To finish, Raymond will touch on some key questions facing technical communicators today:

  • What types of documentation projects lend themselves to lightweight markup approaches and what types don’t?
  • Is there a middle ground? Can we integrate lightweight approaches into a more structured approach, for example in conjunction with DITA?

About Raymond Gillespie

Raymond Gillespie has over 20 years experience in the field of information technology. For the past 15 years, Raymond has lived in Budapest, Hungary, working as both a software engineer and a technical writer, mainly in the fields of telecommunication, medical imaging, and navigation software. He is currently working for Nokia as part of an R&D System Verification and Customer Documentation team. He holds an MSc in information management from Lancaster University Management School (UK).

TCUK16 Speaker Erin Vang – “Rockstars, not typists!” and “Where do tech comms managers come from?”

Erin Vang will be presenting twice at TCUK16: “Rockstars, not typists! Expanding your influence in tech organizations” and “Where do tech comms managers come from?”

Erin Vang

Rockstars, not typists! Expanding your influence in tech organizations

It’s an old story: tech writers get mistaken for the typing pool. Engineers aren’t sure why they should have to explain things to writers or review our drafts. When there’s a shortage of writers, people ask us why we can’t just get a couple student interns to help with formatting. But we know better! Let’s discuss how to bring up tech writers’ level of contribution and visibility, so our stakeholders finally start to recognize us as the rockstars who help make products better. We enable customer success, we help our collaborators who see a bigger picture, and we ultimately increase the production capacity of the whole team. We do all these things by using our tech comm superpowers for good. We are the secret, hidden rockstars in tech organizations, and it’s time to get the word out!

The only surprise in my talk is that there are no surprises. Any decent tech comms professional already has all the knowledge necessary to be recognized as a rockstar—but probably isn’t getting that message out. I pull together into one place the basics of knowing your value, delivering your value, and selling your value, challenging tech comms professionals to step outside their (usually shy, humble, introverted) comfort zone and get the attention they richly deserve.

Where do tech comms managers come from?

Where do technical communications managers come from? The stork doesn’t deliver them. Simply asking a top performing writer to take the job doesn’t usually work out very well, either. So let’s break it down. What does the job actually entail? What skills, talents, and interests do you need? How do you acquire these? How do you know when you’re doing the job well? What does leadership actually mean in concrete terms?

This session will be of interest to technical communications individual contributors interested in considering a management track, to general managers wanting to understand better the particulars of managing a technical communications functional group, and to current tech comms managers interested in widening the lens on a big job.

About Erin Vang

Erin Vang, PMP, has several decades of experience in commercial software documentation, quality assurance, project and program management, localization, content strategy, and people management, most recently as a senior manager of tech comms at Dolby Laboratories, and previously in the JMP division of SAS, at Abacus Concepts, and SYSTAT. In 2008 she formed the consultancy Global Pragmatica LLC®, offering services in facilitative leadership, localization, and custom statistical tool development.

TCUK16 Speaker David Farbey – “How Agile is your Parachute?”

David Farbey will be presenting at TCUK16 on “How Agile is your Parachute? Or, is there life beyond Concepts, Tasks, and References?”

David Farbey

You’re working for a great company, you’re surrounded by good people, but something isn’t right. How many times can you write another reference topic, attend another scrum stand up, or tweak another page layout?

In this session, David returns to a favourite topic: what is it that makes people in general, and technical communicators in particular, happy or not happy in their jobs? Along with a review of current thinking on job satisfaction and motivation, he offers some suggestions about what you can do if you aren’t satisfied in your job, and how your existing technical communication skills could be applied in other areas.

About David Farbey

David worked in technical communication for over twenty years in a variety of roles, mainly related to software documentation. He was also an Associate Lecturer on Sheffield Hallam University’s MA programme in Technical Communication. David has been interested in content strategy, information design, and the management of technical communication, particularly in the context of agile software development, for a very long time, and has served on the ISTC Council since 2010. In 2015 David launched a new phase in his career, becoming a technical consultant for a financial services company.

TCUK 2016 Keynote Speaker – Sarah Richards

We are pleased to announce Sarah Richards as a keynote speaker for TCUK 2016.

Photo of Sarah Richards

Content strategist, digital consultant, and former Head of Content Design for GDS. Sarah Richards has led high-performing, award winning, agile teams, and has a longer and more varied editorial career than she cares to admit.

Sarah started in a quiet team of editors and ended up banning Whitehall from using their favourite jargon on GOV.UK. Sarah will explain her journey from having to publish whatever lawyers and policy people said to running an agency that will only take on work if the process is agile and user-centred.

We’ll have more news from Sarah Richards in a later post.

TCUK 2016 Keynote Speaker – Jack Molisani

We are pleased to announce Jack Molisani as a keynote speaker for TCUK 2016.

Photo of Jack Molisani

Jack is the Executive Director of the LavaCon Conference, a conference on content strategy and technical communication management. He is also president of ProSpring Technical Staffing and author of the book, Be the Captain of Your Career: A New Approach to Career Planning and Advancement, which made Amazon’s top 10 career and resume bestseller list.

We’ll have more news from Jack Molisani in a later post.

TCUK 2016 Keynote Speaker – Chris West

We are pleased to announce Chris West as a keynote speaker for TCUK 2016.

Photo of Chris West

Chris West is a professional writer. He writes marketing and PR copy, ghost-writes and publishes works in a range of genres under his own name. His most recent publication is Hello Europe! A History of Modern Europe in Sixty Eurovision Song Contests.

The Beermat Entrepreneur was co-written with Mike Southon, co-founder of 1980s training company The Instruction Set. It was published in 2002 and was one of the first of a new generation of books on entrepreneurship. Previous ones had been rather dry manuals. Beermat told it like it was. The book has been translated into many languages and sold over 60,000 copies in the UK.

Chris West: Life on a Beermat
The Beermat Entrepreneur was one of the bestselling entrepreneurship books of the 2000s. I shall tell the story of how it got written and promoted, and what we did to turn the book into a ‘brand’ – what we got right and what we got wrong!

I shall look at (amongst other things):

  • Choosing the right subject
  • Choosing the right co-author
  • Working with a subject-matter expert
  • Choosing a publisher and working with them
  • Getting publicity
  • Building a brand
  • Brand extensions that worked – other Beermat books, speaking
  • Brand extensions that didn’t work
  • The importance of keeping focus and momentum