By Brian Oberkirch
So I’m thrilled to get to fill out the batting order (part of it, at least) for the Future of Web Apps, London in October. (The short version: it’s going to rock. You should so show up. You will come crying to me later if you miss it. So don’t.)
Since I’ve made some noise before about how we should put together events, it’s only fair that I talk a bit about the thinking behind the speakers and sessions we’re booking. I also liked the ‘warts & all’ approach Ryan took blogging the creation of Amigo.
So, the future of the Web. Wow, that’s a challenge to program against. So many ways we might go with this thing. Even now, there are groups of kids we don’t know that are building stuff that is going to rock our world. So here’s how I thought about this:
What would I want to hear about?
Who can we get that’s not speaking all the time and kind of giving the same spiel?
Is there a larger story that we’re trying to tell?
I started wish lists. Filled with all-stars, rookies, utility players, all sorts of Webby people. Then a funny thing happens when you try to book a conference. Life intervenes. Maybe some of your speakers have already done a number of Carson events. Maybe they’ve been speaking or are going to speak in the UK or Europe right around the same time. Or they’re already booked. Just as you might have noticed that Web development & design talent is scarce right now, speakers are in much the same demand. So, lots of folks simply aren’t available.
Factor all that in when you go to review a speaking list next time. Much more logistical legwork goes into making your dream list of speakers.
But, for you, good people, we have an amazing line up of some of the most interesting Web thinkers around. I’ll be going through and posting extensive thoughts about each speaker in subsequent posts, but here’s a preview:
- Paul Graham (of YCombinator fame), who is one of my favorite writers on startup ingredients
- Rob Kalin, one of the founders of Etsy, the super innovative marketplace for handmade goods
- Heather Champ & Derek Powazek (form of a Chawazek), two of the savviest community minds around
- Dick Costolo, co-founder of FeedBurner, author of the killer Ask the Wizard blog
- Rashmi Sinha, co-founder of SlideShare, and an amazing speaker on social app design
- Eric Rodenbeck, lead for Stamen Design, which I consider the most innovative shop when it comes to data visualizations
- Lane Becker, co-founder of the usability bombsquad Adaptive Path and co-founder of Satisfaction
- Thomas Vanderwal, who is literally writing the book about tagging and metadata
- Jyri Engeström and Felix Petersen to talk about presence apps & their experiences with Jaiku & Plazes
- Erika Hall, of Mule Design, to remedy our overlooking of the power of copy in our apps
- Suw Charman, talking about how to better our chances of app adoption within large organizations
- Ross Mayfield, founder of SocialText
- Tony Conrad, former VC and CEO of Sphere
- Leisa Reichelt, on designing for what she has so aptly termed ‘ambient intimacy’
- Scott Rafer, CEO of Mashery and a perpetual startup machine himself
- Ted Rheingold, of Dogster
- Deb Schultz, product marketing maven formerly with Six Apart
- Umair Haque, rogue economist and Web product strategy svengali
I’m excited about the balance and diversity of this group of folks. People from big companies, startups, product designers, biz folks, community advocates, marketers, new speakers, seasoned vets, women, men, Bay Area types, Non Bay Area types. I’ve made the argument that diversity is integral to the future of the Web because empathy, understanding and creativity are going to be necessary ingredients for creating the niche experiences the Web is ideal for. I hope we’re going to help add to the ecosystem via our speakers and via the kind of folks we attract to the event.
I’ll talk more in future posts about the sessions and the kind of story (stories?) I think might emerge from the stage, the hallways, the photos and blog posts.