Today a workshop on creative technical writing led by John Biggs should have started at the faculty of computer science of University of Ljubljana. Unfortunately, late last week John had to change his plans due to some unexpected circumstances and we had to cancel the workshop, to great disappointment of Ana and myself who invested a substantial amount of our time in organizing the event.
I've spent the last few days analyzing the events and thinking whether we could or should do something differently. Disappointing 25 people who were accepted to the workshop, with many of them adjusting their vacation plans in order to attend the workshop, is not something I find easy to do. But I don't think there's anything we could do differently. If you want something to succeed with high probability you must have a back-up for everything, including the main lecturer. In the case of our workshop, the people applied due to references and credibility of John as a senior editor at TechCrunch. Finding a suitable replacement and having him or her on stand by would be close to impossible so we didn't even try it, but we consciously accept the potential cancellation of the workshop if John couldn't make it.
There's one positive development coming out of this ordeal nevertheless. The forty people that applied to workshop is a clear indication that there exists a clear need in Slovenia for more technically proficient writers who'd be able to explain technically complex issues to the general public. Therefore I hope our next attempt at organizing such workshop will be more successful.