This week, I’ve been in Salt Lake City for the Pluralsight Author Summit and the first-ever PluralsightLIVE event. What a great time! This is my first time on a plane in over two years, and it is terrific to be out traveling again.
Pluralsight takes great care of its authors and that started with a lovely box of goodies in my room the first night.
Tuesday we all got together to hear about the past growth and future vision for Pluralsight, and to get a sneak peek at some things that would be announced later in the week. And of course, for Aaron to get a selfie with the authors!
In the afternoon, we had open sessions where we learned from some Pluralsight staff we don’t normally get to meet, and from each other. What makes you a great author in the eyes of your editor and the other people who help to get your material published and live? How can you get your courses recorded faster? Geeky talk about microphones and other tools of our trade, of promo videos on YouTube, and so many other things we all really wanted to talk about.
PluralsightLIVE itself started Tuesday night with a reception in the partner pavilion and an evening event I wasn’t able to stay up for.
That's my shirt being printed on the spot for me!
That's the very popular candy dispenser array.
I’ve been to a LOT of conferences and most of them look pretty generic. Here there was just so much effort showing: the fun activities like huge Jenga, Connect 4, and similar games, the couches everywhere (with power and USB ports so you could charge whatever you needed to charge), the large easy-to-spot-and-read signage, and more. It was clear the organizers were really caring about the wellbeing and happiness of all the attendees.
There were a lot of keynotes. Wednesday and Thursday both had keynotes the whole morning, and Thursday also had an afternoon keynote. These were entertaining, inspirational, educational, and really worth my time. I was especially looking forward to Joel Spolsky on Wednesday morning and he didn’t disappoint. He was funny and open. He also announced that Stack Exchange users will all get 60 free days of Pluralsight training. I hope some of them use it to take my Stack Exchange course! Then he liked my tweet afterwards so that was fun.
(If you want to take one of my courses, and don't have a subscription, there's a grey rectangle over the right that says Author: click it and you can get a ten-day free trial.)
When I wasn’t in keynotes, I was meeting other attendees and Pluralsight authors. Many of the authors are friends I haven’t seen in far too long, so it was tough to tear myself away, but I forced myself, because meeting learners is what this week was about for me. It was especially helpful to talk to managers and team leaders who want to know how their people are using their subscriptions. The Pluralsight IQ announcement [link] was very well received both by learners who wanted to show off their scores, and managers who wanted to track a team’s progress.
I took the C++ assessment, but I zipped through it a little too quickly and some questions needed more thought than I gave them. Still, I did ok:
After I tweeted my results, a whole pile of my C++ tribe also got their scores, and I even outscored a few! (Plus, I think they found a few bugs in the assessment – I’m going to get them fixed.)
The afternoon keynotes on Thursday wrapped up with Michelle Obama talking about diversity, education, children, and much more. I hadn’t heard her speak before other than sound bites on the news, and I was really impressed. She was warm and funny and willing to show irritation or frustration as well as the polished pleasantness I was expecting.
Next year’s dates have already been announced: the week of August 26th, 2018. I’m planning to be there. If you take Pluralsight courses (and come on, you should be taking Pluralsight courses) then consider it too. There was a lot of good content in a wonderful atmosphere, a chance to meet all kinds of interesting people, and a few days to put learning and growing front and centre – time well spent for me.