Month: December 2010

Year 2 for D2W conference

I put on my first conference this year. It almost didn’t happen. I had a lot of people against me, although not sure why. Aren’t you suppose to be happy for and support your friends? It was also people like Hallmark, and Garmin who didn’t want to send their people to a first year conference. Their loss, for sure. I could still almost cry remembering how amazing the content was for the conference. I have a lot of amazing friends, but the combination of designer and developer at the conference was incredible. I beam every time I see the speakers talking to each other on twitter. Designers and developers talking… who knew I’d be so emotional at that. Every session seemed to compliment each other. The attendees were in rapt attention and followed the speakers out of the room. Have rarely seen that at conferences.

So we are doing it again this year. We had 3 tracks this year, designer, developer and hybrid. Instead of hybrid for D2W v2, we’ll be changing it to mobile. I work for Sprint now, so it seemed only fitting to add mobile to the line up. It is still about workflow, and that will continue to be the unifying factor for the entire conference. Doug Winnie, James Polanco and Aaron Pedersen wrote a book about workflow called Adobe Flash Platform from Start to Finish. Doug and I had been of the same mind about workflow when I first met him at a Community Summit. Then I introduced myself to him again at Adobe MAX 3 years ago. Luckily Scott Fegette was there to solidify I wasn’t a stalker, and Doug and I became friends. Now the 4 of us put on D2WPodcast together and they all spoke at the first D2W with Doug as the keynote speaker. It certainly wasn’t a coincidence Doug was the keynote speaker with workflow being his passion.

This year we already have a great lineup of speakers. As today is the last day for submissions, I expect things to change a bit but here is a sampling. Returning speakers: Doug Winnie, James Polanco, Aaron Pedersen, JP Revel,  Andy Matthews, Paul Trani, Vince Vaughan (no not the actor), Tom Green,  Chad Udell, Ben Stucki, Chris Griffith, Kevin Stohlmeyer, Rob Huddleston, John Farrar. New speakers to D2W: David Ortinau, Jim Babbage, Rob Rusher, Kai Koenig (who is coming the furthest, New Zealand), Michele Yaiser, Justin Seeley, Dave Hogue, Steve Withington, Sean Schroeder (with our sponsor MuraCMS), Elad Elrom and more to come. I have accepted a few more, but haven’t added them to the Lanyard site yet. I am hoping for a return of Pariah Burke but haven’t solidified the detail of that yet. If he does return, he’ll be doing a day long class.

Which brings me to what we are doing different this year. We will be doing pre-conference hands-on classes. The thing about workflow is it is hard to talk about it in 60 minutes. So we have also extended our sessions to 90 minutes, and have added another room. We’ve got such great content, that we’ll be doing some sessions online only also. We’ll still have the sessions live and recorded for the normal sessions, but adding more as well.

Now, we are still looking for sponsors. For me, that is probably my most difficult task. I am not good at asking for money, but I really want it to be mutually beneficial for both of us. I need sponsors, but sponsors that the attendees will want to visit and be interested in their product. O’Reilly and Peachpit always come though. Balsamiq gave us several licenses of their wireframing product and that is the perfect example of something attendees would be excited about. What would a workflow conference be with wireframing tools.

The cost has been increased a bit more also. Well, we have that much more going on, so I had to increase the cost to offset the increase in cost to put it on. It is still cheaper than most conferences, and where else do you get this kind of content… no where. I am really looking forward to 2011 and D2W version 2.


Podcasting and branding

I wanted to brand my conference D2W, a bit more so I started a podcast with 3 of my favorite geek friends, James Polanco, Aaron Pedersen and Doug Winnie. I picked Doug not by chance because he was just as much into workflow as I was and was Product Manager of Workflow at Adobe. He also wrote a book on workflow with Aaron and James called,  Adobe Flash Platform from Start to Finish. Aaron and James have a business called Development Arc, and James use to be at Adobe on various things including being a QA for Director. Not to mention they were all speakers at D2W this year.

James had the most experience amongst us, having a professional long term podcast in the past. Aaron and I were newer to this and Doug had a bunch of experience presenting for Adobe TV, and teaching. It is true that I’ve done a few training videos, and I am an instructor, UG manager etc., but somehow a podcast and getting recorded seems new and different. All I can say is thank goodness for editing.

The logistics of getting a good recording of 4 people isn’t easy. The first podcast I recorded the entire thing with Wiretap Studio through Skype. Wiretap lets me add other sources besides myself and it was pretty easy. The problem was I didn’t have the highest quality setting turned on, and it already had some compression. So it ended up being a huge file. So huge in fact I had to add some storage for the place where the podcast is hosted. The sound wasn’t fantastic and having everyone on the same track editing, was tricky and it took me forever. I used both Wiretap and Soundbooth. Soundbooth kept crashing on me and drove me a little batty.

We aren’t using the same equipment either, so there is an issue with that as well. Of the 5 podcasts we have done so far, I used my sound booth 2 times, and work 2 times, and you could absolutely tell I was at work once. I have 2 mics, a Yetti and a Snowball, both by BLUE mics. Doug also uses a Yetti and James and Aaron have headsets. James always sounds fantastic. Doug and I vary depending on where we are at, but we often hear Doug typing. He does tend to bang on the keys a bit though. 🙂 Aaron is the one who we need to get a new mic soon. His always sounds the worse.

After the failure of the first, we decided to each record the podcast separately. I believe most of us use SoundBooth, although I’ve used Garage Band once, and Wiretap as well, sometimes at the same time just to see how different it sounds. James edited the other podcasts with a much more sophisticated piece of software; Ableton live. I am in the middle of editing the last one, and have only an inkling of how OCD James became editing the others. He certainly made us sound better. I am using the beta release of Audition 3, which I can tell you is already more stable than the release version of SoundBooth. I will say I like SB for its ease of use. I knew nothing the first time I used it and managed to edit the first podcast. My issue with it is the crashing. The constant crashing. Audition 3 hasn’t crashed yet, but I am only getting started editing.

We have the podcasts on Lysbin and on iTunes. I have added the conference to Lanyard and anywhere else I could think of. I spend more time on Twitter than anywhere else, and could probably use help getting the word out for both the conference and the podcast. Branding correctly is an art. An art I need to look into and practice a bit more. Our conference this year could have had more people attend. We had an amazing line-up of speakers this year, and again we have a great start to next years line-up of topics and speakers.

This year I did interviews and put them on the website. Next year I am using my podcasting skills and adding also interviews as audio files. I love listening to podcasts while working out and while driving more than half an hour somewhere. I hope others will find our podcast worth doing the same.

I can say that I plan on going all out to brand D2W. I already have 1 sponsor and going to work hard at getting more. Not just a sponsor to shell out money, but one that we can both benefit from their sponsorship. I am passionate about education, about sharing, about networking and the community. I hope our podcast will be beneficial to folks, and in the end expand the brand for D2W as well as stand on its own for Doug, Aaron and James.

Podcasting certainly has been an interesting experience and a lot harder than I thought.