Last night I attended a technoception at one of the hip, high tech companies in Seattle... Zaaz. You know you can trust them for Web design, because their name is globally unique, cool, and SEO'd*. Their home page is so cool you don't want to sully it with actual keystrokes. I was afraid to go in, even though they promised the presentations would be there. Quartered in Seattle's rendition of the Flatiron building, their digs are open, under-airconditioned for a city summer night, and full of the accoutrement of forward leaning, savvy makers and movers of the digital tribe. Man, was I out of place.
Good beer, wings, Whole-Foods catering (and WF made it into one of the speaker's slide decks as well). Hair gel (guys), hair colors not found in nature (gals), and a really neat dog who'd make clients of skeptics just for petting rights (pictured here). This is not a work place my high school guidance counselor ever imagined.
There were five talks on community software stuff, three of which had pretty compelling content. Wendy Chisholm fought the good fight for universal accessibility, though she agreed when pressed that it will be legislation rather than clear-headed enlightened societal interest that will tip the balance. Wendy got her accessibility bonafides at the W3C, and she speaks with earnest authority. You can get her book on the topic soon.
Brian Fling gave a rapid fire slide presentation on mobile computing that had some great content. He admitted his time-allotment strategy was simply to talk fast until dragged from the stage. Pity, because he had great content and a terrific, if gratuitous, story about his dad the inventor (you've used his stuff). Almost forgiveable. He's right about the iPhone, though, and asserted (you can look this up) that mobile computing worldwide will double by 2010. Two years.
The first speaker was Justin somebody of Zaaz (they didn't have programs), and he gave the stock Passion/Value/Strategy talk about social communities, with some monetization thrown in. It was pretty convincing, my description notwithstanding. One of his examples of passionate community was about the Big Green Egg (known to un-hip me due to Eric Miller, who makes stunning pizzas on his).
Passion was a topic of more than passing interest for me yesterday, as we learned that our own passions (about data curation) will remain unrequited for the coming NSF funding cycle. An interesting end to a really lousy day.
*SEO'd: Search engine optimized... yeah... someone actually acronymulated that in their talk.