Web Directions North 2008: 3 stages of dynamic systems, wrap up

Whew! What an intense couple of days. Today was my speaking day for Web Directions North. I was very pleased to be selected as a speaker by Dave Shea and the rest of the WDN08 team, and I was a bit nervous up until the last minute. At the same time, I was really glad that I had the first day to attend and absorb and talk to other participants and tailor my presentation to what I was hearing.

I originally started with a "traditional" presentation. It ended up morphing into a pseudo Dick Hardt / Lessig style, with lots of slides with just a few words on each one. It may not make much sense without the audio, but Phil Djwa and the Agentic team recorded the audio for everything, so I'm hoping to combine the two.

I wish I had had a little more time to practice the timing a little more, and I definitely need to invest in a non line of sight presentation clicker: right when I was on a roll I would have to more carefully aim the remote control at my machine.

Two presentations that connected with some of the themes I wanted to cover were Brian Oberkirch's Plays Well with Others and Anil Dash's Putting Social Media to Work. In general, there was a lot of talk about OpenID and related themes. It seemed to me there was an even spread between people who knew about these themes and people who were taking careful notes and looking to follow up with more research later.

I tried to look around and figure out what kinds of people were attending. Designers, developers, and business people for sure. The best label I could come up with was "Web Directions - For Web Professionals". So, whether you were a consulting firm (large or small), or a person working on web solutions inside educational institutions, enterprises, or governments, you were someone working with the web professionally.

I'm glad that this event is happening in Vancouver, and I'm already looking forward to what the next gathering of web professionals will bring to town 12 months from now.

Shout out to the nGen Works guys, all the way from Florida and purveyors of fine Expression Engine solutions (just like our own local EE heroes, Hop Studios. I've come to the conclusion that EE is an ally in "beyond the blog" solutions. Talking to design-centric attendees who were needing more data-powered structures, it's clear to me that a supported solution like EE is a good fit, and will be recommending it going forward. Of course, that's not to say that I don't think some Drupal company might provide and support a more designer-centric version of Drupal that meets the same goals. Bottom line: I'd love EE a lot more if they were open source.