My first web conference


This past week I attended Webvisions here in Portland. Going into the event I expected to find the Dev / Tech related sessions the most educational. After three sessions they were looking about the least interesting – I learned more in the other tracks.

Too much RSS

I read quite a few blogs and nerdy industry web magazines. A lot of the people speaking on dev related subjects were the authors of the content I read daily. While they are all great speakers with excellent presentations, most of the content lacked in providing much new information for those addicted to RSS.

Standalone Presentations

Making an hour long presentation into a complete package that is informative for a wide audience is no small feat – background information needs to be included, certain details left out due to time, etc. Put several presentations on different but related subjects together and you end up with an overlap on the basics and a hole for the higher level information. For example, the process of AJAX was explained to me at least three times. I wasn’t able to attend a workshop, but perhaps that longer period allowed for more in-depth discussion. It would be interesting to have a process which allows for the presentations to be a bit more sequential and building on each other so by the end of the day you aren’t hearing the same again. One such difficulty is in making sure people can skip around in subject matters as multiple sessions take place simultaneously. Of course there is always the impossibility of presenters being able to coordinate beforehand as well.

The radness

Dropping in on sessions from the other tracks proved most valuable. I don’t read nearly as much about the mobile web or community as I do javascript and CSS so their briefness and completeness worked in my favor. These were the sessions that brought up topics new to me and where I found I actually had questions to get answered. I really want an array of mobile devices to test on now and use for daily tasks.

Overall it was a great event that got me interested in some new areas of web communications if not so much introducing new concepts in the areas I’m already familiar.


  1. majafa 20060723

    I think I would go nuts at a conference like this. Not nuts as in “Ah everything is so cool I want to take it all in” but nuts as in “I can’t take all this tech talk, get me out of here.” Yeah, that would be me.

  2. Jeremiah Owyang 20060723


    There were quite a few sessions that were focused on social media, design, and marketing that have very little to do with technology –more to do with humans connecting.

  3. matches 20060723

    Did all the internerds show up in those old cars? Fast and dangerous, indeed. It’s cool that you went and it sounds like an interesting experience. I’d honestly have to hold of further judgement until I ended up at one, which I hope happens some time.

  4. Nick Finck 20060723

    Paul, thank you for these comments. I am happy to see someone being honest about the material. My job every year is to not only find good speakers and topics for our event, but also to offer those speakers advice on how to tackle the topic. I think what you mentioned here gives me a good starting point about how we can improve next year’s conference. I’ll be meeting with Brad and the rest of the executive committee in the next week or so. Your concerns will be noted.

  5. waytoocrowded 20060723

    majafa: Yes, knowing you, this wouldn’t be your kind of thing.

    Jeremiah: Thanks for the mention in your post. Great converage of the event!

    matches: I believe most arrived by MAX or foot, though I may be mistaken – rockstars do like their fancy cars. I definitely recommend attending. As I mentioned, lots of interesting ideas new to me were brought up in unexpected areas.

    Nick: The speaker and topic selection was spot on – there’s a reason I read a lot of their blogs! I’ll be looking forward to Webvisions 2007 (and continue reading Digital Web Magazine in the meantime).

  6. jb 20060724

    Sounds like it was fun (minus the AJAX repitition). Getting paid to watch people talk about interderding is awesome. I’m going to my first conference at the end of September in Boston. Should be a rightous time.PDF rocking mobile gadgets? I thought cell phones “give you cancer”? Or is that ketchup? Or both???

  7. majafa 20060725

    What is this AJAX that keeps being mentioned? After briefly reading the first few paragraphs of an article by Jesse James Garrett at adaptivepath dot com I gather it has something to do with pages/features updating almost instantly without having to sit and wait for it them to reload…am I at all close?

    When I hear the word Ajax I think of a Dutch football (a.k.a. soccer) club/team. I guess this shows I’m not into internet design at all haha.

  8. waytoocrowded 20060725

    Seriously? Soccer over dish soap?

    But yeah, that whole not reloading the entire page thing.

  9. majafa 20060727

    Yeah soccer over dish soap! I guess I’d just rather watch one of the most famous sports clubs in the world than wash dishes hehe.

  10. puddingcups 20060727

    don’t remind me i have to do dishes right now!! arghh!! i do them like twice a day.. jb… if you go to boston don’t go on any streets related to the “big dig” i don’t want you to die when one of the concrete slabs lands on you because their bolts are faulty… also, don’t take the train unless you know exactly where you’re going, i did that when i was nineteen and some guy was yelling at me that he got stabbed “ten times in chelsea” i wanted to tell him that my dad was from chelsea, and it’s not so bad… hehehe… but seriously if you go there you have to go eat at the Quincy market. all the business people go eat there.. some of them stand, and you end up sitting next to all of these people you don’t know and birds are flying in the building (pigeons) pooping everywhere. And paul… sounds like you had fun at your conference deal, although i don’t know if i could do that… i’d have no clue… but at least it’s cool that you’re getting some feedback from people. good luck with all that “technology”… i’m going to be a hermit and live in the woods and have my own power generated by water and never use computers again.

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