dictionary On stage at Amigos del Bellas Artes in Buenos Aires

If I can do it, you certainly can – me

Recently I assisted to the Swiftable 2023 conference in Buenos Aires. It’s not my first time there, my first one was December 2022. Back then I went with a couple of friends from work.


With Federico “Fede” Jordan and Franco “Frisma” Risma at Usina del Arte

The difference this time though, is that I was in the speaker’s roast. It’s the first time I was speaking to a live audience of colleagues in English. In that regard, the classic “you’re the expert on X subject” didn’t hold true.

In this post I’ll share my journey in case someone else is thinking about entering in this arena. It’s fun as hell being on stage!


The first thing was sending my proposal once the organizers (Facundo Menzella and Josefina Bustamente) opened the CFP. I needed to expose, in fewer than 300 words, the topic of my talk. All I knew was that I wanted to talk about habits, the one thing I’ve been studying for years now consistently besides coding.

I laid out the concepts and gave the following elevator speech:

The talk will consist of coding systems every developer should commit to, regardless of their seniority and type of job. Whether you’re a Jr on a big company or a Sr working for an emerging startup, these systems will make you more productive and overall avoid stressful situations in the long run.

It did the trick because I got the gig 😎


I knew I wanted to give my talk leveraging the animation power in Keynotes. However, all the animations in the toolkit won’t compensate for a lazy story. Therefore I needed some cohesive train of thought throughout I could be able to expand my ideas.

I decided to start with a problem based on my personal experience and take it from there. Also the title of my talk was Atomic Coding Habits so it made sense to use the framework already provided by James Clear to my advantage.

Warm up

A week before the conference, I took it for a test drive with a couple of teammates. After giving my talk to them, the feedback I received was gold: it was a good talk but it didn’t resemble the concepts from the book:

  • The 4 laws of habits
  • 1% increments
  • Make good habits easier
  • Add friction to bad ones

After hearing this I got two options: either cut my losses and patch up whatever set of slides I had managed to assemble already or take a hard left and restructure my talk. My wife simply told me: “you’ve got the time, it’s up to you”. And with that, I devoted the weekend previous to the trip to redo 80% of the keynote

The day of the event

A few things I did right that day:

  • Scheduled ride: any ride-hailing service has this feature. Granted, it’ll be a more expensive ride, but any bit of uncertainty avoided that day was a gift

  • Took my own laptop: The organizers offer a laptop for the presentation in case the speaker doesn’t bring their own. But then again, doubling down on certainty made me –and the rest of the speakers for that matter– bring my own equipment. You don’t want any unexpected surprise arising during the talk in a foreign device. (also, custom fonts 🎨)

  • A good night sleep: the day before the conference’s kick off we (the speakers) were invited to dinner where food and drinks were included. I stayed away from alcohol and too much sugar. That didn’t prevent me from enjoying myself and meet all sort of fellows from around the world there, I just didn’t go wild (there’d be time for that later in the after party event)

dictionary With the Emerge tools fellows, the one and only Antoine “SwiftLee” Van Der Lee, and Claudia “CoderPilot” Maciel

A couple of things I didn’t anticipate:

  • Light mode 💡: The projector was adapted for light content and my slides were in dark mode. I heard Josh Holtz was able to quickly switch the entire theme of his presentation on spot but my slides consisted in many dark mode snapshots.
  • Sonoma OS and permissions 🤦🏽‍♂️: There was a video in one of my slides and Apple being Apple is now asking permissions for EVERYTHING the first time. Ergo, during my presentation the permission popup jumped and my presentation was interrupted. Learning: during prep test, go through the entire presentation at least once.


Whatever the topic you’ve struggled with and come on the other side (either successfully or with a bunch of experience), there’s a talk waiting to happen somewhere in there. Just organize your thoughts in a story and practice. Chances are someone will appreciate those learning.

If you’d like to see the final result, here it is 🫣