BarCamp Philly: Highlights

This weekend I had the opportunity to go to BarCamp Philly, my first ever bar camp, and it was baller. Here are some highlights.

Fabulous People I Met

  • Thomas Dixon, an adorkable guy who suffered a traumatic brain injury when hit by a car while running who has replaced  his episodic memory with a private Twitter account.
  • Ruth Kalinka, who waxed poetic on the importance of women negotiating (amen... and teach me!) and acupuncture.
  • David Dylan Thomas, who gave a fantastic talk about links as language and is working on ContentCamp (I'm so in).
  • Sarah Feidt, organizer extraordinaire and holder of the most delicious proprietary homemade booze blend for cider.
  • Austin Seraphin, a visually impaired guy who's using echolocation to see with his ears.
  • Chris Bartlett, a leader in the Philly gay community who had some powerful thoughts about the importance of being "the only one like you" in a group.
  • Kelani Nichole, who gave me some awesome ideas on how to talk about types and importance of content before sitemapping and wireframing even happens—and an unexpected perspective on presenting scope statements the way designers and strategist present their work.

Concepts Worth Crystalizing

  • Lagom design: Non-American cultures have a much greater appreciation for the values of moderation and humility. "Lagom" is the "Goldilocks Principle": not too much, not too little, just right. A good designer/writer/what-have-you understands how to make their solutions "lagom." Balance is important... or, as I tell some of my clients, non-lagom design and copy often feels like "you're trying too hard."
  • The web doesn't exist purely to mirror the physical world. Instead of simply replicating your content on the web (think PDFs), embrace the fact that web is a unique medium that can offer opportunities other forms of communication cannot. The web should offer non-linear ways of finding and digesting information; connect you to people you should meet, not just the ones you already know; flat-out solve problems differently!
  • "Yes and": I first learned about this improv comedy technique from the much-adored Tina Fey, but was reminded of it during a session on serendipity and community-building. I'm good as "no but" to compromise while not being pushed over, but trying "yes and" has the potential to foster more creative solutions.
  • Structured content: Kelani Nichole showed off some beautiful content mapping concepts for getting client participation on content meat early on as well as the future of structured content in mobile.

New Reading Recommendations

Besides walking away with a sweet monkey hat, I ultimately gleaned a great sense of connection to people doing impressive things and a new goal for myself: present at BarCamp Harrisburg in April!