That time Jared Spool brought me a cupcake
The first time I spoke in front of a crowd was on what was then the largest stage in the content strategy industry: Confab, in Minneapolis.
It was 2012. I was about to drop Fugazi references and pictures of my great grandmother’s cookbook and surprisingly no fart jokes. I was hoping not to shit myself, to be honest. I had somehow attracted a standing-room only crowd, despite no one knowing who the hell I actually was.
I swallowed. And the first thing I said was a complaint.
“I just realized I missed cupcakes.”
Snack time had just occurred. There were cupcakes. Fun fact: I don’t really care about cupcakes. I think they’re fine, and I will eat them when I am offered, but there’s no way I cared more about cupcakes at that moment than, say, the integrity of Keynote or the status of my zipper or whether or not I might actually throw up right there in the middle of that conference room carpet.
But I talked about cupcakes. That’s what I did.
I started my talk. I nailed a few jokes. I started capturing the audience. I thought, “this is going well.”
And then, Jared Spool brought me a cupcake.
And I thought, “Well.”
“I guess this talk is going to go okay.”
And it did. I killed. I may have peaked early in life, presenting my best right from the get go. I may have notched a little mark in Confab history by being the annual “Where Did That Speaker Come From?” of the 2012 conference. I may have realized I did okay once I had stopped shivering in my hotel room from the “speaking shakes.”
I don’t remember any of that. I remember, instead, two things.
1. Dan Eizans audibly laughing as the only person who got the Fugazi joke.
2. Jared Spool bringing me a cupcake.
To risk sounding macabre, it’s all been downhill from there, folks.