Technology conference speakers come from a wide range of backgrounds, experience levels, and interests. At CFP Land, we highlight different speakers every week in our Speaker’s Story blog posts.

As companies recognize the need for accessible software on the web, conference speakers like Adrián are finding more opportunities to spread the word. After speaking at local several meetups, Adrián started applying to conferences and has now been a speaker at 4 international gatherings. One of my favorite parts about speaking is the same as Adrián’s: meeting people from around the world.

Tell me about yourself. How did you get into public speaking?

My name is Adrián Bolonio. I’m an experienced Spanish Frontend developer and Web Team Lead, focusing now in Web Accessibility (a11y). Since 2012 I’ve been living and working in Vienna. I currently work at willhaben, the biggest classified company in Austria with the 2nd highest traffic of all Austrian websites.

I started speaking at local meetups in Vienna, such as ViennaJS, ReactJS and then I talked at the DevFest Vienna, organised by the local Google Developer Group. I had the opportunity to organise an internal frontend conference inside my company for 100 people and I gave a talk as well there. I’m now sending more CFPs to International conferences to continue my speaking path.

What do you like about speaking at conferences?

I like the feeling to contribution to the community. Sharing the knowledge I’ve acquired over the years as a developer helps me improve my public speaking skills as well. Another thing that I love from conferences is networking and meeting new and amazingly interesting people from all over the world who share your interest and sometimes even hobbies.

Do you remember your first conference talk? How did it go?

I do remember my first talk. It was in the Vienna JS meetup, and I talked about a new library my team and I built at my current company. The idea was to share the library and promote it as open-source so anyone could use it. I was extremely nervous before going onto the stage, but the fact that my audience were developers too allowed me to relax a bit. At the end it went very well and smoothly. I got some very interesting questions after the talk and the people liked it.

Adrián Bolonio at ViennaJS

How many conferences have you applied to and spoken at?

I’ve applied to around 15 international conferences so far. In the last 2 years I’ve been accepted to 4 conferences and several meetups.

Adrián Bolonio on Accessibility at DevFest Vienna, 2018

Do you have a pre-talk routine?

At the beginning I was nervous and my only routine was trying to calm down. Now I’m a bit more experienced, so I check that my computer has enough battery or I have a charger that works. I check that all my other applications are closed and my notifications are muted. I check that the microphone works properly and the screen where the presentation is shown is readable from any point in the venue.

What advice do you have for new speakers?

I think the best and more difficult advice is “calm down”.

It’s ok to be a bit nervous, but try to understand that if you have been chosen to give a talk at a conference or at a local meetup it’s because you’re an expert in that field, so you know what you’re talking about. Just calm down, enjoy the talk, and accept any feedback.

It needs to be fun for you, you don’t have to suffer, so please enjoy the process.

Are there any other speakers you look up to? Anyone who’s inspired you?

Since I’m very focused now on Web Accessibility I follow a lot of experts, but some of them are Manuel Matuzovic, Sergei Kriger and Marcy Sutton.

Where can readers find more about you?

My next speaker appearance in a conference will be at the JSConf Colombia on October 18th & 19th, 2019. You can follow me in Twitter or Instagram, and check my latest talk slides on my deck as well as my repositories in GitHub.


If you’re a tech conference speaker, email [email protected] to tell your story. 💌

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