That conference buzz

11 October 2006


A Blue Perspective: That conference buzz

I've got it bad. The kind of bad where I make two blog posts in less than a fortnight (!)

It's an addiction, attending conferences. Right after you've been there's an unbridled euphoria, a sense of possibility, limitless potential. You want to get out and code something, design something, make some thing.

What you're doing isn't enough, you want to do more. The old way of doing things is over, you're only for the new. That's why I expect that's visits per day to Internet/Multimedia Design jobs closely follows this pattern:

The relationship between visits to and Web conferences

The problem with the dopamine release caused by a good conference is the inevitable comedown. Once your head's filled with microformats, APIs, design inspiration and process improvements, those heavenly concepts have to meet earthly realities, resulting in a downward spiral of motivation. That is, of course, until the next conference:

The relationship between innovation motivation and Web conferences

As you begin to visit more conferences, the buzz begins to lose its effect. You want to live in the conference world all the time, surrounded by your peers, people who get what you're working on. Share ideas, solve problems, create new worlds. Live in non-reality all the time:

The relationship between innovation motivation and multiple Web conferences

Maybe you could even out the troughs by visiting enough conferences:

Trying to maintain innovation motivation using constant Web conferences

But conference reality is always at war with fiscal reality:

The relationship between fiscal reality and constant Web conferences

Damn, I need a fix. Can you hook me up, man?


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  1. 1/33

    James Edwards commented on 11 October 2006 @ 08:24

    This is too funny man, you're so right!

    But like Jarvis Cocker said - "what if you never come down" ;)

  2. 2/33

    Chris Renner commented on 11 October 2006 @ 09:00

    Looks like someone's read cryptonomicon...

  3. 3/33

    The Man in Blue commented on 11 October 2006 @ 09:10

    Haha, I have, but the similarity only just occurred to me.

  4. 4/33

    Ben Buchanan commented on 11 October 2006 @ 09:20

    Hahahah, oh man this is too true.

    So have got any good gear? Huh Huh? I need a conference, a symposium, a workshop hell ANYTHING! ;)

  5. 5/33

    The Man in Blue commented on 11 October 2006 @ 09:26

    I've got some fresh Colombian webcasts, if you're desperate.

  6. 6/33

    cindyli commented on 11 October 2006 @ 09:35

    seriously.. i totally agree. If u get funding can I fit in your suitcase?

  7. 7/33

    Daniel Morrison commented on 11 October 2006 @ 09:49

    I can see two solutions:

    * Speaking, so you get paid to go.
    * Figure out how to get client work done at a conference. I've tried. I can't figure it out.

  8. 8/33

    Lachlan Hardy commented on 11 October 2006 @ 10:26

    Dude, I feel your pain

    I went from the altered state of conference bliss to the horrific comedown of making HTML newsletters work in every web mail client under the sun

    This is a bad jones, man

    I want next year to go a little like this:
    WD North, SXSW, Webstock, @media SF, @media HK, @media EU, WD South

    Anyone got any others I can add to the list?

  9. 9/33

    gleddy commented on 11 October 2006 @ 10:35

    yup. I agree with this one. Dragging your feet to work while still wearing your conference name tag under your work shirt is one symptom.

    @Lachlan, dude you forgot that cool conference in Iceland (no pun intended)

  10. 10/33

    john Allsopp commented on 11 October 2006 @ 10:49

    I'm your pusher man

  11. 11/33

    tuna commented on 11 October 2006 @ 11:17

    Way on the money. way too close to reality...

  12. 12/33

    Andrew commented on 11 October 2006 @ 11:22

    rofl @ John's comment - pure gold!! (P.N.G. Gold, of course)

  13. 13/33

    Lucas Chan commented on 11 October 2006 @ 11:59

    "You chasin?"

    "Huh? Who's JSON?"

  14. 14/33

    The Man in Blue commented on 11 October 2006 @ 13:46

    F*ck you people are such geeks :D

  15. 15/33

    Dmitry Baranovskiy commented on 11 October 2006 @ 14:12

    Lachlan, I like your list, but, man, you should became a speaker to attend all of them. Otherwise you will run out of the budget.
    Cameron, at least you're speaker, so don't complain to rest of us.
    Me personally feel so lonely after conference. Some people I saw first time on the WD06 are much closer to me than some of my co-workers (almost all of them).

  16. 16/33

    Lachlan Hardy commented on 11 October 2006 @ 14:52

    Ah, true, Dmitry!

    Which reminds me of a conference I'd forgotten:


    A nice way to round out the year!

  17. 17/33

    The Man in Blue commented on 11 October 2006 @ 14:59

    You forgot the greatest of all Lach, Snoweb!

  18. 18/33

    Michael Mccorry commented on 11 October 2006 @ 17:06

    I'm also hooked. WD06 was but my first conference, and already I want more. I find myself commenting on more blogs than ever, chipping in my 2c as if I were still at the Pumphouse. I've done more only personal projects in the last 2 weeks than I have in the last three months. I'm using microformats and Hijax like there's no tomorrow. However, having just built a house (sans landscaping) I'm now currently dealing with the fiscal reality in a big way. Okay, so I won the SXSW 2007 tickets, now which kidney do I need to sell to afford the flights/accomodation? I'll definatly be showing my head at more free/cheap Melbourne get-togethers though.

  19. 19/33

    The Man in Blue commented on 11 October 2006 @ 17:12

    Ummm ... yeah, I thought those SxSW tickets might be more of a curse than a blessing.

  20. 20/33

    DonnaM commented on 11 October 2006 @ 20:27


    if you close your eyes, drink lots of beer and listen to the voices you can almost imagine you're there...

  21. 21/33

    Nat commented on 11 October 2006 @ 23:38

    Cameron - you put WAY too much effort into this post :-)

    I took WD06 on an empty stomach ... so it's gonna last me a while!

  22. 22/33

    Adam Schilling commented on 12 October 2006 @ 02:32

    Dude ... the conference is over?

  23. 23/33

    vanderwal commented on 12 October 2006 @ 06:06

    I caught the good conference bug in 2001 at SXSW. In the late 90s I gave up on conferences as the ones I went to were basically sales pitches and I was paying (or my company was paying) thousands for me to get pitched software.

    For me SXSW broke the mold as it was real people solving real problems and sharing their knowledge. People were approachable and not trying to sell something (many would charge for their own services, but offered incredible free advice). This echoed why I fell in love with the web and the internet in the early 90s, it was people sharing what they knew and bringing everybody up with them. Not only did those sharing provide insight, but they attracted smart passionate people to them.

    This made for great conferences. There are now more of them around that offer great content and great communities. WD is one of those great conferences. I have been fortunate to have been invited to speak at many of these in the past few years.

    While the constant presenting keeps me in the conference high, I also am able to pick-up work from these from people with problems they want to solve. I also find people I want to collaborate and work with on projects. I don't live in a location deep in killer talent, so I just love the ability to hang out with smart people with good problems in their work life.

    The collection of people that attend the conferences become much like a "floating island" (I don't know where the term came from, but I love it). We have our own lives on good and painful work, but we get together as friends with the same passion and make all life great.

  24. 24/33

    Nick Cowie commented on 12 October 2006 @ 13:07

    The alternative to a full conference fix, is your local Port80 (or Refresh is you are US based) and WSG meets. You get a ideas/inspiration, peers and beer fix. Not as intense as a full blown conference but not as damaging fiscally. Helps get me through to the next conference.

    That said, Micheal if your SXSWi ticket needs a new home, I am willing

  25. 25/33

    Ryan Brooks commented on 12 October 2006 @ 17:59

    I'm envious. Some of us just can't get to some of the conferences we'd like to. What I'd like to see is more Canadian events... :D

  26. 26/33

    James Edwards commented on 12 October 2006 @ 20:00

    Canadian events is it? --

  27. 27/33

    Ricky Onsman commented on 13 October 2006 @ 00:29

    I got enough from WE04 to make a living til WE05, then got enough out of 05 to make it to WD06 (but the extra work meant I couldn't get to the workshops). I figure ajax, mashups and microformats'll get me to WDN. And then I'll stop. Honest.

  28. 28/33

    stridey commented on 13 October 2006 @ 10:41

    "I'm envious. Some of us just can't get to some of the conferences we'd like to. What I'd like to see is more Canadian events... :D"

    Funny... I just got back from a Canadian conference today... (ISMIR)

  29. 29/33

    Chezza commented on 16 October 2006 @ 09:47

    funny, someone at work was talking about the geek team and how funny it is that we love conferences - he said it's his worst nightmare to have to attend a conference cos they're so boring (ok he is a business analyst though).

    He thinks I'm a total geek because I look forward to conferences and give everyone pressos when I get back..

  30. 30/33

    gleddy commented on 16 October 2006 @ 14:02

    is this thread still going? are we at the next conference yet?

  31. 31/33

    The Man in Blue commented on 16 October 2006 @ 14:10

    There's a conference round my house tomorrow night. We're talking about beer-to-beer networks and sausage-oriented applications.

  32. 32/33

    Gavin J commented on 16 October 2006 @ 17:20

    I am going to construct cardboard cut-outs of the speakers and crowd using the faces from connections.webdirections and then set them up <a href="">Rupert Pupkin style</a> in my livingroom. If I loop the podcasts I will never have to face up to reality again...

  33. 33/33

    Lachlan Hardy commented on 17 October 2006 @ 09:07

    I want a beer-to-beer network! I'm not too sure about sausage-oriented applications, though... Bloody tech conferences are all about the sausage

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