Monday, September 29, 2008

Future Crashes - not in chronological order

You ever been to Miami, BABY?!

*Tricky responds: "I HAVE!"

Well, I haven't. But I will, for the:

NATS Winter Workshop: Miami, Florida - January 8 - 10, 2009

My last two posts are in the realm of design. So I hope to get a great perspective in the world of Music Teachers. BTW: NATS = national association of teachers of singing.
I'm excited, are you?


HCD08 - Washington DC November 8-11 2008

This one looks like its going to be huge.
that's all.


Arizona Sustainable Building Expo and Conference Nov 12 - 13, 2008
Glendale, AZ

this will be a challenging crash. It's in the football stadium.
Maybe I can break out my hotdog vendor outfit.


I'll add more when i figure out my plans.
See ya there

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Design Research Conference 2008 brought to me by IIT and some firms.

So... I paid for this one. Why? because I thought it was going to sell out... And it did.
Was it worth it? Not sure about that question.

The speakers were for the most part great. But there was a resounding note that was so dissonant with me that I felt I would shatter: ROI.

Return on Investment. What a backwards-assed word to be using so often in a design research conference. It was more suited for a marketing conference, and I think that's where it belongs.

So... the event went like this.
*Bright and early, some delicious breakfast treats complimented by fresh OJ. (big thumbs up)
*Networking. This was a trying experience. Lots of old folks, lots of kids. And random superstars that were surrounded by crowds of people. This I'm not a fan of. I don't get excited about seeing celebrities unless I can take a super ironic picture with them for all to see (btw is saw the Rev. Jesse Jackson on the street, and i would have done that had I had the opening). So, being one of the folks bowing down to Jon Kolko or Steve Portigal was not my scene.
*Then the workshop. Singular. Mine was impressive. Probably the most impressive part of the event. I don't know how others went, but they seemed pretty interesting. I ended up taking a copy of some of the workshop notes for myself, and they seemed pretty good.
*Lunch - not bad. Food was pretty nice, and hefty.
*Speakers. Lots of them. Some interesting some not. I actually skated out of the last guy's marketing proposal to sneak into the MCA - museum of contemporary art. Which BTW was just plain awesome. Everything was great. all killer no filler. Including Kara Walker, one of my favorites. And some pornographic art by Jeff Koons, a bunch of Alexander Calder mobiles, and some post post post modern work oozing with creepiness by a whole slew of great artists.
*Break. (i was still up in the museum)
*Last speakers (pretty good, but I still ducked out of the last presentation to see the rest of chicago. and i really feel i didn't miss much.

Chicago was great, but the traffic is ridiculous, and it didn't seem like the public transportation did much either. I found that I really loved the north north side and the burbs to the west. Downtown was a giant tourist trap. Hell, the whole city was a tourist trap. 24 dollar parking? and that was a cheap yet rare find.

The next morning was the same, but even longer red-light waits in traffic.
*I made it to the first presentation and stayed through the last. I would go into details about them, but I really don't want to. I can say this though. Rob Tannen, Hot Studio, Luis Arnal, Don Norman, and a bit of Laura Richardson = good stuff.

*Lunch Round-tables:
what a waste of time. I was so surprised how this turned out. My original table was essentially this: Some student brings a question to the table and everyone throws out answers and personal anecdotes. I swear I thought this was a research conference. It was utter crap. I signed up for something that was an interesting topic, and within seconds the table was spitting out ideas to help a student with a project.... I left within a few minutes to check out other tables.
old schoolers were talking money and deadlines, and some tables were basically a bunch of kids listening to Pops talk about how his firm does things. It was pretty ridiculous.

*Final speeches: were the better of the bunch.

Then off to chicago again to eat some damn good pizza and hotdogs, and whatnot.
oh.. the whatnot was the best.
I ended up dropping 36 bucks on 2 belgian waffles, topped with gelato, dutch whipped cream, and chocolate shavings, and some imported orange juice.
crazy good.
but not sure if its worth the money at this time.

overall trip +3
conference +2 could have been longer, with more workshops offered, and better quality of folks.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

2008 IDSA National Conference - PolarOpposites

Location: Biltmore Phoenix

This was the most tiring conference I have ever attended. By the end of the conference, I just had to leave in the middle of somebody's speech, to stretch my brain and take a well-needed break... and I think that is a sign of a great conference: one that leaves me thinking.

A few things I noticed in the whole process of crashing this.

  • The big square ID Badges, on a goofy lanyard, with bright red and black printing.

  • Then the home-made stickers on those badges that were supposed to create a hierarchy of "who's allowed into what event."

  • And the difference in number of people who wore these badges on the last day from the first day.

Another thing.

This was on at a hotel. A large hotel where the employees wore both suits and polo shirts.

If I wear a polo shirt of the same color of the employees, or a suit... I'm in.

I also noticed how many entrances were available to each section of the conference.

It just kept getting easier.

So my review of the conference.

Honestly, I missed much of the conference events that fell before 930AM. Every day.

But luckily I only missed the general sessions with dozens of speakers doing their thing in a huge auditorium to hundreds of people. These speeches were great, but really didn't have as much punch as the breakout sessions.

The ones I happened to catch were:
The 2008 Portfolio/Interviewing Seminar

(BRUTAL) The folks presenting this seminar were just plain brutal to the poor ID grad that submitted his portfolio for review. And honestly. They were great help, but they were unrealistic. Picture this. Old folks. Female with hair in a bun, similar to the stereotypical librarian, teamed up with the English fellow from "America's Got Talent" and a polo-shirt wearing good-old business man, reviewing your design portfolio.

You being a early 20-something with your ear to the ground, full of inspiration vigor and style. Now do you see the difference here? We all have dreams of biking to work, meeting the CEO of your company riding a scooter at an intersection, and then chatting in front of the revamped 40s diner-turned-design firm before heading in to work on the next best, next biggest, next newest product/building/website/etc.

What I get from these "professionals" is: Cubicle Nation. Where Return on Investment is more than cultural impact, creativity, or informed thought.

I took notes at this presentation, but I still think seminar needs a counterpoint.

Leftover Night at the Factory: The Design Story of the Nike Trash Talk

Great metaphor for a design solution: Leftovers. And I was impressed by the talk; was very eye opening. Although, I did feel that Nike as a company has the social stance to create recycled products and still have power in the market, which I think really couldn't be done elsewhere.

Someone made a great comment that drove a stake through the heart of this talk:
By recycling shoes/things to create more shoes, aren't you just solving a problem with another problem?


Flex Products Group

Honestly. I walked out of this presentation after I realized that it was nothing more than a "look at our product!" sales pitch.

Moved: People Power Revisited
Peter Chamberlain & David Parrott

What do you get when you cross a passionate awkward bike-nerd with a too-cool-4-school grad student with all the answers?
This great presentation, about how bikes are the future and the past, the importance of slow design, and how people powered bikes can change the world. Eye opening, mind bending, but a little disappointing how the moneyshot-product was something that was both attainable and aimed at a company like GM.

Portfolio Review

Lots of students, showing their stuff till the wee hours of the night. Many were great, impressive, and a bit too sure of themselves. (they better check that)
Others were.. well... eeeeh. with an apologetic demeanor. (that better be checked, too)

Materials and Processes for Medical Product Development (Sponsored by Medical and Materials & Processes Sections)

The slides went by so quickly, that I was a bit lost for a second. If anyone has a copy of the slides, please let me know.
I learned quite a bit about materials in the medical field, and about the process, but really, it wasn't too inspiring. Big thumbs down for the Frat Bro presenting the newly design sonic medical tool. hah ... tool.

Now is the New Future: Designing into Presence Valerie Jacobs

This woman is a genius. You could have cut the disdain for her in the room as the presentation began, but by the end of it she won everyone over. Very impressive, and totally a brain-bender.
I'm a big fan of folks that can predict the future, and I belive she can do it.
I wasn't too jazzed about her proposal to RFID tag illegal immigrants. -boo

Bad is The New Good

This was interesting, but really didn't teach me much of anything new. Wasn't boring though. Although I hate when presentations turn into "Look how great my firm is!!"

Age over Beauty: Elevating Design’s Future via History
John Barratt, IDSA, president and CEO, Teague

I just right now realized that the CEO of Teague gave this speech. No wonder it was so damn good. It was a great look back into the history of design and its relevance today. I took some notes. and now I'm going to re-read them, and paint the key points on my wall. In other words... Great presentation.


So.. this conference was fun, and I came home with three bags of useless, semi-uselsess, and useful stuff.

I think i would give it a +3 on the SCALE.

BTW the SCALE is -5 to +5.

-5 being, waste of non-money and time

+5 I would have paid for this, maybe twice.


After crashing my second conference, I decided to dedicate some time to this endeavor:

I crash conferences. Of things that interest me, and whichever conferences are accessible.

Why?--- Well, I learn a whole lot about things that others have to teach, meet people, gather business cards, and pass out mine. Also I enjoy great food and drink, and see the future of the world around me, especially products and services.

Why crash?--- I don't have the abundance of money that it takes to register for these. And honestly, the only reason there is a registration fee is to gather some surplus funds for the next conference from those who are coming from afar, and don't realize how easy it is to crash a conference. (poor suckers)

I shouldn't call them poor suckers
because I will, on occasion pay for conference registration when crashing them are too risky or impossible.

I hope you learn a bit from this, and maybe I'll meet you in the future.