Saturday 11 June 2005

The Passion of @media 2005

BY NOW MANY READERS will have seen at least some of the emerging reports on the @media 2005 conference that just wrapped up here in London. I have a few passionate thoughts about the event that I’d like to share, including a bit for folks who couldn’t attend, too.

Compliments, Commendations, Celebrations

First, a big round of applause to Patrick Griffiths for taking such a bold risk putting on a conference of this nature. New to conference organization, Patrick did an amazing job and he deserves a great deal of respect for not only pulling off what might have been one of the most fun and informative events I’ve ever attended much less had the good fortune of speaking at. So thank you so very much Patrick and here’s to a successful future for @media!

Many accolades to the good folks who worked so hard to pull off logistics: Julian, Cindy, Jo, and many others from Kings College at the University of London. And last but not least, the hard-working servers and bartenders who put up with serving us wild and crazy standards geeks at the parties. Terrific job, everyone!

A Little WordPl@y

By now many have written and commented on our little WordPl@y meme, thought up by the ever witty Derek Featherstone. Here’s an explanation about that now that the event is over.

We each had to think of a word that we felt would be difficult for another speaker to put into his or her presentation. We wrote them on a slip of paper, shook ’em up in Joe Clark’s hat, and closed our eyes and picked. Then, we each had to use the word in some way in our presentations.

My word, by the way, was contributed by Douglas Bowman who’d heard Jeff Veen use it in a presentation once. It’s just so funny that the gods ensured I’d get that word, don’t you think?

It was great fun and a good challenge to all of us as speakers. The attendees seemed to catch on and enjoy the joke, too. What was really great to see was just how each speaker incorporated their word. The one disappointment I had was that Robin Christopherson, who didn’t attend the speaker dinner where we worked up this bit of mischief, wasn’t in on the challenge. He’s a great speaker with a fine, dry wit, so I imagine he would have done well at the game. Next time!

Now some folks seem to get upset when memes like this emerge, claiming that it’s an “in” joke and so on. In many ways, that complaint is accurate, but I hope people can see why this sort of thing is so much fun, and not only for speakers, but for the audience as well. I’ve noticed that whenever conference speakers bond, they are able to provide a far more unified and relevant experience for delegates, as well as help to smooth out rough spots or modify the direction more easily as we will compare notes on audience skill level and so forth. Also, this sort of thing isn’t limited to just speakers, but delegates get involved too, just like the UI9 photo meme. At the risk of over-using my word, despite that this fun might appear to be very ego masturbatory, it’s all done with good intention.

Just how Veen used it in his presentation, I don’t know. I forgot to ask Douglas before he had to leave.

You Light Up My Life

While surely the quality of content and speaker selection has much to do with the success of an event, the real winning part of conferences is the hallway chatter, networking opportunities and hey, let’s face it: the parties. I speak at many, many events, and I consider myself extremely blessed to know and meet so many wonderful people across the world who share The Passion.

I have to say that @media2005 will always stand out for the absolute warmth and kindness of each attendee. There was a feeling in that room of incredible peer bonding, everyone was so warm, and interesting, and intelligent, and fun and I wish I could name each and every one of you. It was great to see people I’d met in the past and hadn’t had a chance to see in some time, a fantastic joy to finally meet people face to face with whom I’ve had email / IM relationships with over the years and finally, completely inspirational to engage with an entirely new group of people I can now count among my peers and most importantly, my friends.

Parting Words

For those who couldn’t attend this event, or others in the past, or even future ones due to economics or location or life responsibilities, I want to send you out some good thoughts too. As with conference memes, I’ve heard feelings of being left out and not in the “in crowd” from quite a few people, many of whom I deeply love and respect. I think many people do find that when they get to meet face to face, the “in crowd” thing goes away.

On thing I really appreciate about so many of the prominent figures on the Web is that they are completely accessible people. So if you can get to events like this in the future, please do, and even if you’re shy, try to reach out to someone and I promise we’ll reach right back. And if you can’t get to events like this, know this to be true: There is no real outside / inside thing. I believe it’s a misperception and I’d like to make sure I do everything in my power to make everyone feel like we’re all in this together.

No matter our differences or abilities, no matter what those stupid “A List” campaigns say the bottom line is we are doing important work that will outlast our lifetimes.

Let’s keep The Passion going, because with it, we will all help make the Web what we want and need it to be, and have so much fun in the process of doing so.

I love you all.

Filed under:   general
Posted by:   Molly | 15:53 | Comments (34)

Comments (34)

  1. Well, I’m gutted that I couldn’t make it, but glad it went so well. Hopefully @media will be back next year when I might have lost some of the budgetary constraints!

    And, let’s face it, you have to love any conference that produces photos like this one 😉

  2. Heh, I’m sure more than a few people tired from the night’s festivities perked up at that specific part in your presentation.

    And if you haven’t seen yet, Veerle had some nice things to say about you.

  3. I couldn’t make it to the event (various reasons) – but it sounds like it was a great success. This post from you is a thoughtful one because you’ve included everyone – excellent! :)

    Now I don’t feel quite so far from the ‘In’ crowd…and there’s always @Media2006. Also congrats to Patrick Griffiths.

  4. A toast to The Passion, Molly! It was great meeting you and here’s to another @media (where we both shall have to be present)!

    Cheers! :-)

  5. Awww, that’s awesome Molly. 😉

    I wish I could have gone. Maybe next year? I hope so…Sounds like a really great event.

  6. Now there’s an accurate overview. It’s true, @media had a warmth that comes only from a shared vision and the good will of good people. As for the “in-joke”, it was three talks in before one of you let me in on the gag, but as an audience we’d all already understood it. Here’s to being “self-masturbatory”…

    The bottom-line for those who didn’t/couldn’t attend: you were there in spirit. Anyone anywhere who ever contributed to the progress was definitely part of @media.

  7. yes, it was an amazing experience (both in and out of the lecture theatre). and you saved the last dance for me too 😉

  8. Yep, well done to Patrick and thanks to you for the beer Molly!

  9. It’s just so funny that the gods ensured I’d get that word, don’t you think?

    Gods?? I thought you were Jewish, you know, one god and all? :) Just kidding Molly; glad to hear you had fun and @media was a success. If I were 6 years older and 5,000 miles closer I so would have been there.

  10. Well said Molly! A lot of us Yankees would have loved to have been there. And I personally would have loved to see you work that word into your presentation! :)

  11. Well, that’s spot on. I didn’t know any of the speakers personally. OK, I’ve e-mailed to some and iChatted, but hadn’t meet any of them face-to-face. I never felt excluded somehow even if I didn’t knew about word game, I only learned yesterday from Cindy Li. Anyway it was great meeting you finally. You’re such an inspiration (not only to the women) and your kind words were a real energy boast to keep me going. Hope we can meet again some day. Now I’m off to a bit of sight seeing on my last day in London.

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  13. Molly, thanks for being approachable and fun to talk to. I was a bundle of nerves immediately before talking to you, your openness and friendliness made it so much easier.

  14. So it was just a stupid spelling mistake?

    Next year please use a spell checker. ; )

  15. Hi Molly

    Just wanted to say a big *Thanks*. All the Presentations where great, everyone – both speakers and attendees – was both great fun and approachable and you personally can drink like a brit, did you make it through to breakfast?

    Hope you like the book and that you can read at least some of the signatures considering what time they where written!

    Anyone ‘annoyed’ at all by the ‘in-joke’ probably didn’t chat to any of you. For *famous* names all the speakers where some of the nicest, most passionate people I’ve spoken to in a while on any subject.

    Congrats and thanks again

  16. Great to see you Molly. I hope you’re head wasn’t too bad Saturday morning.

  17. Sounds like I should have gone back to the Novotel bar after going out to eat. Too bad I had to get up early on Saturday morning to catch my plane back home. Anyway, really great meeting you! And don’t worry about not realising who I was when I first said hello 😉

  18. Molly, it was a pleasure to meet you and to see in the early hours of Saturday morning with you and the rest of the Magnificent Seven.

  19. Molly,
    What can I say? Thanks for a most entertaining couple of days.
    I’m really enjoying browsing the Zen of CSS design book, which was about the only activity I was capable of on the Saturday!
    As everyone else has commented on, I was amazed at the approachability and friendliness of all the speakers and attendees; that made the conference for me.
    Hope you enjoy the rest of your trip.
    See you next year if not before!

  20. Molly,

    Thanks to you all for a fantastic 2 days in London. I enjoyed every single one of the presentations and leart something useful in all of them. The best and most memorable one has to be Robin’s though :-)

    I wish I could have stayed longer on Friday night.

  21. Hi Molly,
    just a quick thank you for your contribution to @media2005. It was a truly inspiring two days. I am completely amazed that you have received criticism for being in someway elitist. You all seemed very friendly to me. Envy is a terrible thing 😉 Don’t get me wrong, I was as envious as the next guy that I am not as on the ball as some of you guys but I guess I can’t really blame that on you :)

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  23. Hi Molly

    Just to say what a pleasure to was drinking with you and the rest of seven beer samuri. :) @media was so much more fun than I had ever expected it to be.

    Here’s hopping you come back for 2006!

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  27. It was great fun and a good challenge to all of us as speakers. The attendees seemed to catch on and enjoy the joke, too. What was really great to see was just how each speaker incorporated their word. The one disappointment I had was that Robin Christopherson, who didn’t attend the speaker dinner where we worked up this bit of mischief, wasn’t in on the challenge. He’s a great speaker with a fine, dry wit, so I imagine he would have done well at the game. Next time!

  28. Pingback: » @media 2006 Announced

  29. Interesting, I would have loved to have been there. Guess I got into this field a little late.

  30. just whats 2 say we have the samee name hehe 😀 xxx

  31. thanks for your sharing

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