Once Upon a Time There Were... Docs

Sep. 20, 2023

Here are the video and abstract from my talk Once Upon a Time There Were… Docs from Write the Docs Atlantic 2023.

A year and a half ago, I had a crazy idea: I’d write a children’s book on OpenTelemetry. My goal was to learn the essentials of the technology that I document every day at work while having fun along the way. After lots of editing, reviews, and illustration efforts, the book finally went live last year to enthusiastic reactions from the community.

Explaining the product to my kids through storytelling required deepening my knowledge and exploring new mental models that I hadn’t tried yet. I learned that the journey of creating something so different and creative mattered more than the final deliverable, and that the way of reaching product truth is different from person to person.

In this talk I’ll tell you how I created the book and got it published by Splunk. Along the way, I’ll explain the Circles of Product Truth model and present other ways in which unconventional technical communication and media can bridge the gap between different levels of audience knowledge and provide a safe path to product truth. Because this, too, is tech writing.

Here is the video: