I’m finally figuring out that small conferences are better in almost every respect than large ones. You can easily find people, get access to the speakers, single track makes it a shared experience, and everyone is chill and informal in a way impossible at 500 or 1500+ person events.
(Wait: was the conference itself an experiement in designing large datasets? hmmm).
The IDEA 2006 conference worked for me on several levels:
- Venue/Event synchronicity. It’s so rare that venues match their event. The Seattle library was the perfect place for this.
- High intellectual space between sessions. The topics ranged so much that I felt my brain working to fill the gaps and make new connections. No one took the topic (large spaces) too literally, giving me lots of room to fill things in on my own.
- Speaker diversity. It went from Park ranger, to librarian, to data mappers, to web entrepreneurs: awesome range of ways to attack the topics.
- Big fat pile ‘O interesting ideas. Highlights were many, but deepest impact cam from the Local project folks, who make the most meaningful work out of design, and information, I’ve seen in some time. But the contrasts in hearing people talk about their approaches to designing data vs. design libraries, vs. designing parks, set off my thinking and left my mind buzzing.
I’m still going through my notes (my liveblogging entries can be found here) – Truly had an excellent two days: time well spent.