Talks Night

Enrique had the brilliant idea of hosting a talks night at Makers yesterday evening. The idea was that anyone could get up and speak for five minutes on any topic of their choice. It was a chance for us to find out more about everyone, especially any hidden passions, as well as hone our presentation skills.

Initially, only a few people had signed up to give a talk, but once it got going, more and more people put their names in for an impromptu talk, and so we had around ten in number. Vinay was first to go. He hadn’t been planning on giving one at all but had said to me earlier in the day that if I put together a random presentation for him, he would challenge himself to speak around it for the duration of the time limit. Well, in between putting together my own presentation and trying to complete the week’s test, I didn’t find the time to do that. After some encouragement from Enrique and myself, Vinay still stood up to speak and gave an insightful presentation on flat white coffee, from its origins, to the techniques of making it, to discussing a potential project, featuring a series of interviews with baristas, that he hoped to complete once he was done at Makers. Vinay’s talk was the perfect example of how some of the best things arise from spontaneity.

I gave the audience a basic introduction to Game Theory, one of my favourite papers at university. I introduced the payoff matrix, different types of games, as well as the Nash Equilibrium concept, before asking for three volunteers to play one. Each had to write down an integer value between £0 and £100 inclusive, with the player who wrote the lowest value winning that amount in cash. If there was a tie, the monetary amount was split between the relevant number of players. What would you write? What is the Nash Equilibrium of this game? Leave your comments below!

The range of topics discussed was excellent. We had talks on anime and manga, game design and development, the London startup scene, golf, the charity charity: water, and the Nazi invasion of America. There were a couple of highlights for me. One was Natalie’s talk on debunking the snobbery against musical theatre, complete with musical clips. Essentially, there is such a wide variety of musical theatre out there that anybody should be able to find ones that they enjoy, provided they like music in some shape or form! My second highlight was Enrique’s talk. On the previous evening, he had asked us all to send him a random image. He would then string together twenty of them, add a twenty second timer to each, before getting somebody to randomise the order so he wouldn’t know what was coming next. As the slideshow went on, he weaved his talk on the trials, tribulations, and benefits of learning to code with the images that he saw. There were some truly wonderful and hilarious transitions.

We all left the evening in good spirits. We had a list of things that we wanted to go away and research and questions for one another to follow up on topics that had piqued our interest. Talks nights are fantastic things. I highly recommend that you go and organise one now!

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