Design & Entrepreneurship Conference Speaker

David speaking at the Echelon conference in Singapore.Photo by Dave McClure

David speaking at the Echelon conference in Singapore.
Photo by Dave McClure

Every speaker’s worst nightmare happened to me moments after stepping onto the stage in Singapore. Despite having checked my slides obsessively, despite having given this talk before, despite having checked and double-checked with the venue technicians that my slides displayed right, what displayed on the screen was garbled text. Russian characters perhaps (and I don’t speak Russian).

A giant auditorium of people was waiting for me to deliver my talk, we had a packed schedule for the day, and my slides were suddenly useless. Mind you, this was a talk about design, so the slides were pretty important. The techs signaled for me to continue as scheduled, while they scrambled to get the slides to display correctly.

If public speaking is most people’s second biggest fear, then this situation probably ranks at 1.1.

Fortunately I was prepared. I made light of the situation, and even got a few laughs (I believe they were laughing with me). Then, I started to deliver my talk – my talk about design – without slides.

I love speaking, and I do it a lot

Years ago, I probably would have had a more difficult time handling such a high-pressure situation, but thankfully, 1) I speak a lot, because 2) I love speaking.

I’ve spoken all over the world: on 3 continents, in 6 countries, and all over the U.S., including two appearances at SXSW. I even spoke at the Obama 2012 Campaign headquarters.


Some places I’ve spoken (from top left): Mexico City, San Francisco, Washington DC, Omaha, Buenos Aires, New York City, Singapore, Seattle

I try to make my talks as entertaining as they are informative. Though I wouldn’t claim to be a comedian, I’ve even studied improv and comedy writing at the world-famous Second City just to improve my talks. I customize the experience of my talks for every audience I talk in front of, and I find ways to engage with the audience even well after the event has passed, thus making it a memorable experience they want to repeat.

If you’re organizing a technology, entrepreneurship, or design event or conference, you have enough stuff to worry about (like projectors malfunctioning). I’ll take care of making it an amazing experience for your attendees.

But don’t take it from me. Here’s a few tweets from my latest SXSW appearance.

The most helpful session at #sxsw so far #SXwhite with tons of practical tips I need to get the book on my reading list. Thanks @kadavy

— Manu Ravichandran (@manumr) March 11, 2012

Best session of the day so far. #columnsoup #sxwhite (@ Austin Convention Center for White Space: Shaping N…) [pic]:

— Melissa Fabina (@MelissaFabina) March 11, 2012

#sxwhite tops so far as the best #sxsw presentation in my mind!

— Jigar Patel (@jigar_patel) March 11, 2012

My talks and speaking history

For more details about my speaking experience, as well as to see some videos of my presentations, check out my Lanyrd profile. Or, feel free to email me at david at kadavy dot net.

Event organizer kit

I’m happy to provide a customized bio and information to appeal to your particular audience, but this will get you started:


David Kadavy is the author of Design for Hackers: Reverse-Engineering Beauty, which debuted in the top 20 on Amazon’s best-seller list. David is dedicated to breaking down the fundamentals of good design and making design literacy accessible to developers and entrepreneurs.


David Kadavy

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David Kadavy

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