Wednesday, June 27, 2007

An Event Apart - Seattle 2007 - Day 2

Well the day started with Mike Davidson. He did not have a presentation. Well, he had one slide, "Powepoint is evil". Although, he had no slides to share, but he had pages of notes scribbled for himself. What he spoke made sense in the first 5 minutes, but then he could not improve on it in the next 50 minutes of his speech. He is a prolific speaker and he was talking about an important topic, but could not express his thoughts in speech. Again, in my opinion he could have done better.

Next was Khoi Vinh. He primarily talked about the grid pattern in web design. As he said, he had an advantage as he worked for newspaper, which is heavily invested in the grid pattern. But, I was intrigued by his presentation. It is not the first time that I have heard about the grid pattern. The step-by-step process that he described to get his design methodology implemented was very methodical. It was easy to follow and can be used as a reference for future use. It reflects about his personality. I loved it. I like focus in a presentation and I think Khoi achieved it.

Shaun Inman came next and talked about basically Mint. It was presentation wrapped around Mint. Some of the points about the UI nuances were great but nothing substantial. Although, I would like to commend him for a great web analytics product - Mint. It was an average presentation.

As I said in my Day 1 post, Eric Meyer disapppointed me with his presentations. I was so exceited to hear him and he did not come through. He knows so much, yet he talked about stuff that was publlic knowledge for a long time. The state of CSS in IE7 is talked about so much already.

Jeffrey Zeldman was just great as his first presentation. A detail look at the practical side of things makes you identify with his thoughts. That is what was special about what he talked about. He talked about relationships with clients, the growing pains, the solution. He taught me patience - The Alzheimer's Method was a classic example. "Sell Ideas, not pixels" just summed it for me. Brilliant. He touched upon things that happen to us everyday - like dealing with criticism. This practical side of things is what made his presentation appeal to me. Someone needs to talk about stuff that happens to me, rather than speculating on theories. That is what Mr. Zeldman did best.

The last presentation for the day is always challenging. How to keep people from leaving? Well, Jeff Veen held me to my seat. Design manager for Google is a big and responsible position. His presentation was just inspiring. He taught me how to look beyond inate data and make it easier to be seen in context. His first example with the weather data was just awesome. It is very easy to get lost in all the technicalities and depths of data. His thoughts begs to look beyond. I personally use Google Analytics and admire the thought process that went behind it. It was intertesing to hear that he uses tactile instruments like post-its. The Hay Net example was hilarious and it was a great example of simple design. I am wondering how he will shape the UI experience for Google.

With that, it was the end of Day 2 and the end of the event. I headed out to the hotel. Then, I walked to the The Big Picture. The guy at the door stopped me and told me that I had to wait as the room was full to capacity. What! If the place did not have the capacity to hold the number of people registered to AEA, why select it? It was strange. Well, I was let in soon, but there was no room to even stand. It was jam packed till about 9:00pm after which a lot of people left. There was no arrangement of food (not even snacks), and only beer was on the house till 9:00pm. After that it was all self-paid. Anyway, I found a couple of guys and chatted till about 10:30pm. I left for the hotel to hit the sack, as I had an early flight at 8:00am next day. Overall, it was a great event and a nice trip.

Next year I will go to MIX 2008 at Las Vegas on March 5-7, 2008.

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