Dealing With Imposter Syndrome on Panels – #impostersyndrome #beltech2020 #ai #machinelearning #conferences

Thirty-two years into this industry and this was possibly the first time that imposter syndrome didn’t hit me five minutes before the start of the panel.

If you are doing a talk and it’s you and you alone, then that’s okay. You’ve put the work in, got the slides sorted, rehearsed(!) and when you stand on the platform or stage then you are in control (most of the time). A panel though is different, yes you’ve been invited because of one of many factors: you were pushed by your employer, you know what you’re talking about or you’re an idiot. While the invites I get are based on the second notion, I really do think it’s about the third.

The AI Explainability panel at Beltech 2020 was enjoyable. First of all I didn’t have to hike to Belfast to do it. Secondly while I’ve routinely heckled Andrew Bolster and Austin Tanney many-a-time it was great to share a panel with them.

Now then, back to imposter syndrome. Here’s why: this panel, there are two PhD’s, a Professor, a Doctor and a bloke with some rope GCSE grades but eventually figured out how to string a sentence together. Normally I’d be worried as hell but this time I was fine…… I didn’t play the idiot this time, I chose not too, but nor did I go for the gobby know-it-all from the trenches either, I held back. I’m relaxed, I’m with good people, this should be okay. And it was. This was more like a poker hand, read each response and act accordingly, do I lean in with a little agressive response to the Target Baby Story? No, but I’ll happily give you a winning hand knowing the story deeply.

If you know your subject, you can do a panel. Simple as that. Qualifications don’t matter. Nor did the fact I’d written a book on machine learning…..




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