Our work culture: weekly tech talks

Lukasz Karwacki - Co-Founder & CEO at Sunscrapers

Lukasz Karwacki

19 May 2016, 4 min read

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What's inside

  1. The power of soft skills
  2. Professional development
  3. The foundations of discipline
  4. A collaboration really works!
  5. Why do we record presentations?
  6. Let’s talk about effects

What are weekly tech talks? Every Thursday at 4:30 p.m. our team gathers in a conference room to participate in a presentation prepared by one of us. The topic of the speech can concern tech (IT, project management) and soft skills (work culture, communication).

The main rule is an appropriate timeline: we limit our presentations to 10 minutes and leave the remaining time for questions and discussion. Ten minutes is more than enough time to present a compelling and effective speech.

The power of soft skills

There are many reasons why we’ve introduced Thursday’s presentations. Tech talks are connected with different expectations, challenges and results. They support soft skills’ development - we exercise public speaking, teaching and effective communication. That’s one of the most important reasons why we’ve started a journey with presentations. We step out of our comfort zone and learn new things which is a huge value hard to gain in other conditions. Thanks to these presentations we feel comfortable at conferences and IT events (as participants - during networking, as lecturers and as organizers of PyWaw meetups and PyWaw Summit). Soft talks also improve our language skills (many presentations are in English). Even today there is not that many IT companies that appreciate soft skills, and invest in developing the soft skills and look for them in potential candidates.

Professional development

On the other hand, the goal of tech talks is to help us develop professionally. These presentations create a possibility to systematize our knowledge about a particular topic and introduce new points. What’s more, we stay up-to-date with the latest technology news (new libraries and technologies are a frequently chosen subject). Finally, tech talks diversify our daily work routine and learning process, additionally guaranteeing that we have time for self-development.

The foundations of discipline

The key to success in giving a good presentation is discipline and preparation. It is extremely important for the presenter to follow the time guideline. Preparing 10 minutes talk isn’t as simple as it seems. It requires adding or deleting slides and a few rehearsals to make sure that you fit within your time. Learning the whole presentation by heart is difficult and time consuming. Instead, the speaker should try to learn key points he wants to include and come up with clues to remind himself when to change slides. A presentation should be well-structured - time spent on each topic should be allocated in a direct proportion to its importance. The best way is to start with an introduction which = overviews the subject, then go through main points and summarize the talk with key conclusions.

A collaboration really works!

Our teammate, Paweł, volunteered to be a supervisor of the presentation routine. His role includes administration tasks (managing the calendar, collecting topics and gathering people before the presentation, setting up a video stream) and encouraging colleagues to prepare a speech about a chosen topic. Robert, on the other hand, is our ‘video guy’. He records all presentations and edits them afterwards. Finally there comes Beata. Her role is to add presentations to our blog and share them with the world through social media.

Why do we record presentations?

We pay huge attention to recording because it motivates the speaker to prepare himself well   and assures a high quality presentation. Why does it matter so much? We engage the whole team for 20-30 minutes and we don’t want to waste anybody’s time. We also become independent of somebody’s time and availability: a person interested in the subject can always watch the talk later. We have already a solid base of valuable presentations on various topics and we refresh them when we need a revision of a particular topic.

Let’s talk about effects

These talks show who we are in an authentic way - everyone can see who we are, what we do and where we work. The whole initiative is coherent with our mission statement and work culture. We share our knowledge not only with our Warsaw based team but also with our remote teammates and the broader public. Our latest idea - inviting our clients’ team to join our tech talk - has received a great feedback, which then inspired us to think about organizing a joint workshop as an evolution of this concept.

Check out 3 examples of our presentations:

Lukasz Karwacki - Co-Founder & CEO at Sunscrapers

Lukasz Karwacki

Co-Founder & CEO

Luke is a co-founder and CEO of Sunscrapers. He has got his background in computer graphics (graduate of Kingston University London) and has started his career as a web designer in a creative agency. He currently manages Sunscrapers, takes care of business development and looks after clients. Throughout the last 10 years, Lukasz managed, supervised and consulted projects for startups, SMBs and enterprises across different industries and locations. He has a passionate dad, speaker and writer.


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