Interaction08: Wow, what a weekend

February 15, 2008 | 2 Comments

Interaction08 ended a few days ago and I’m still recovering from the firehose of information, inspiration, community and general yay, not to mention the excess of fried food and meats and the dearth of sleep.

This was no question the best professional conference I have ever attended.

Seriously. The conference committee just simply nailed it, in their very first conference. And why? Because they designed a conference. They paid attention. They didn’t hold it in a hotel. Instead they chose Savannah College of Art and Design, a design school with a minor in interaction design. They actually served good food with a sense of presentation. They didn’t hand out a binder full of printed Powerpoints. They made people enjoy being there.

Being in Savannah in February with the temperature in the mid 70s was pretty good too.

But really, the content and speakers and presentations were awesome. Seeing Bill Buxton and Alan Cooper give their rally cries to interaction designers everywhere was incredibly inspiring. Seeing Malcolm McCullough calmly remind us to go outside and get some fresh air. Seeing Dan Saffer abandon the tech issues and just be himself. Seeing Dave Malouf get recognition for his incredible amount of work.

Despite all that, the highlights for me on these trips are simply the people who go. Yeah it’s a cliche, but it’s true. It’s simply an incredibly fun time to spend the weekend with smart people in my industry from all over the world. Makes you want to stay up late in the hotel bar and just talk.

Speaking of which, Friday night in the hotel bar, the unexpected happened. A woman is playing the bar piano, a song that Samantha and I recognized and knew, but couldn’t name. Afterwards, I went up to her and asked “can you tell me what that song was?” She replied, “I will not” with a sly grin. She then began playing it again, singing it softly, full eye contact the whole time. She emphasized the line “I’ll Stand by You.” Ah of course, the Pretenders. She finished, I thanked her. Two nights later I found out it was Roberta Flack. So yes, Roberta Flack was killing me softly, with her song. True story.

My presentation went well. I was happy with how it turned out. Here’s the video.

And then two hours after that, I was up on the big stage being announced as a new member of the IxDA Board of Directors. Very very honored and humbling experience. I really like all the board members so it’s going to be a fascinating and busy two years.

I know it’s early, but if you can, come attend Interaction09. Imagine what we can do with another year under our belt! They set a high bar to beat, but we’re up for the challenge. Where? TBD. When? TBD. Who’s speaking? TBD. Will it kick ass? Damn right.


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