A Few Tips for the Competitors Going Forward
I first competed in DB2’s Got Talent in 2012. I made it past the search shows, but failed to get my network out there to vote, and was out of the competition based on votes very early on. I was devastated at the time. It was an important lesson to me on two levels. First, I learned that DB2’s Got Talent is not just about how good your presentation is, but is also very strongly about how well you can draw your network out to vote for you. Second, I learned that even when you lose, you can make great contacts and spin great opportunities out of it.
Then last year, I personally contacted at least 200 people every week, and reached others through social media and my blog. With that, and adding company-wide emails where I work and my family pestering their friends, I made it to 3rd place. The judges still had to save me one week when my actions did not quite reach far enough. My begging for votes reached hundreds of eyes every day through my blog.
My big advice to the contestants is to get your networks out there and voting in the very first round. If you wait until later because you’re worried about the impact of asking over and over again and want to whip out the big guns later, you may not make it until later.
Smaller advice is all the standard stuff. Choose an appropriately sized topic for the small time you have. Research your topic well. Present clearly on graphically interesting slides without too many words in large fonts. Avoid animation. Show us technical details wherever you can. Practice your presentation enough to have the timing down pat, but try not to sound like you are reading your words or saying the same exact words you’ve used a 100 times and are bored with. Remember that your topics do not have to be some dazzlingly complex topic no one’s ever thought of, but do need to show some spark experience or expertise or entertainment or originality. Start with a title slide and end with a contact slide. Provide links to reference material if appropriate. Also, go back and watch the shows from last year to see what people did well and what people did poorly and how the judges reacted, and also to get a feeling for how the contest works.
How DB2’s Got Talent Works
I’ll describe how it should work. There’s no guarantee that it will work exactly like this – DBI reserves the rights to change the way it works.
A no-show at any week means the person is out of the competition.
The next episode (March 7) is the first round of the Finals. In that round, all 10 Contestants selected will present, again for 4 minutes. The judges will present their reactions, but no action is taken in this show. After the show, the contestants must get as many people to vote as possible. Last year the total number of voters in this round was 752. That’s about as many people as were at last year’s IDUG NA Tech Conference in Orlando!
In the second round of the finals (March 14), all 10 contestants will present again. Approximately 6 of them will be “safe” based on their votes, and are simply presenting for votes for the next round. The judges will still present their opinions after each presentation. Of the 3 or 4 contestants who are not safe, the judges will be allowed to save one who did not have high enough votes to move on. The contestants will again need to get out their networks. There were 964 voters in this round last year.
In the third round of the finals (March 21), Approximately 7 contestants will present again. Approximately 4 of them will be safe based on their votes, and their presentations will be focused on getting votes for the next round. The judges will still present their opinions after each presentation. Of the 3 or so contestants who are not safe, the judges will be allowed to save one who did not have high enough votes to move on. The contestants will again need to get out their networks. Here’s what the distribution of votes looked like for the presentations made in this round last year:
In the fourth and final round of the finals (March 28), Approximately 5 contestants will present again. The number may vary as far as how many are eligible for the final vote. Votes from the last round may eliminate one or more of them. The judges may or may not be able to save someone. The final voting round in 2013 looked like this:
I am still shocked that I managed to get 577 votes! Note that only 20-30 votes separated 2nd from third and third from fourth.
I’m shocked that Brian got that few votes. He was really good and used some original presentation techniques, such a using a video to make it look like he was doing a live demonstration – very ambitious and risky for a short presentation in this format.
The final show is April 11, and contestants must be present to win. Winners are announced, and it is usually a fun show, and frequently includes some great tips about the upcoming IDUG North American Technical Conference.
One of the shows, the contestants are given a small amount of time to talk about themselves, and sometimes there are one or more themes that the presentations must focus on – so contestants, watch your email to see if there’s any theme for the next week. Later in the competition, the competitors may be given 5 or more minutes, so also watch out for longer presentation times.
CALL TO ACTION
It would be nice to imagine that we’re getting a full IDUG conference worth of DBAs and DB2 professionals to go out and watch the show and vote, but remember again the friend factor. The top competitors are all good, but what separates one from another is how many people they can convince to go vote for them.
If you are a reader, even if you haven’t gotten into DB2’s Got Talent in the past, this is your call to action. Sign up and watch each episode and vote based on pure talent! You don’t have to watch in real time on Friday mornings – you can download and watch the show and vote up until Thursday night before the next show. If we could get the DB2 community to do this, it would be less of a contest about getting one’s network engaged and more about the pure talent.