An Event Apart apart

I’m back from An Event Apart in Boston. It was quite an experience …and not just because I went to Fenway Park for my first baseball game. It was quite an experience because of the people that were there.

The Brads were there. The Spiderwomen were there. Anton was there drawing the speakers as robots.

Eric Bot Sketch Jeremy Bot Sketch Jeff Bot Sketch

I surprised myself by successfully liveblogging all six talks on the first day:

  1. Jeffrey Zeldman: What Every Web Designer Should Know — A Better You At What You Do
  2. Whitney Hess: Design Principles — The Philosophy of UX
  3. Veerle Pieters: The Experimental Zone
  4. Luke Wroblewski: Mobile Web Design Moves
  5. Ethan Marcotte: The Responsive Designer’s Workflow
  6. Jared Spool: The Secret Lives of Links

I received lots of nice emails and tweets from people thanking me for the liveblogging. Some people remarked that it was almost like being there. But that simply isn’t true. You really had to be there to experience it.

Still, a long-form report in the shape of a blog post is better than live tweeting, which is like trying to understand a conversation two houses away by putting your ear a cup filled with cotton wool pressed to the wall.

I didn’t do any liveblogging on the second day as I was too nervous before—and too relieved after—delivering my own talk. But Luke took some notes:

  1. Eric Meyer: The CSS3 Anarchist’s Cookbook
  2. Jeremy Keith: All Our Yesterdays
  3. Aarron Walter: From Idea to Interface
  4. Andy Clarke: Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

Adam D. Scott has notes from all the talks including the triumphant finalés from Mark and Jeff.

Like I said, I was relieved when my talk was done. I was thrilled and surprised by how many people said they enjoyed it. This was a different talk to the one I gave at An Event Apart in Seattle. Back then I gave a talk on design principles but as Whitney was presenting on the same topic in Boston, I took the opportunity to rant about something very dear to my heart: digital preservation.

Usually when I craft a presentation for An Event Apart, I try to create a mixture of the the inspirational and the practical. But this talk had nothing practical at all. It wasn’t exactly inspirational either. If anything, the topic is somewhat depressing.

And yet, people liked it. I can’t even begin to describe how it makes me feel that Zeldman wrote:

Although it is hard to pick highlights among such great speakers and topics, this talk was a highlight for me. As in, it blew my mind. Several people said it should be a TED talk.

This is the talk that I had proposed for South By Southwest. It was rejected. ‘Nuff said.

There are going to be four more instantiations of An Event Apart this year and I hope to repeat my rant on digital preservation at at least one of them. If you haven’t been to An Event Apart, I highly recommend registering for one near you.

But I have to say, excellent as the conference always is, An Event Apart Boston 2011 will always have a special place in my heart.

Mark and Andy Chloe and me An Event Apart Boston Me with Jeremy Keith and Jeffrey Veen Petra & Matthew Jeremy Keith

Have you published a response to this? :