Future Of Web Apps Miami 2008 – My Thoughts

This is the first time I’ve attended a conference of any kind, so I was not sure of what to expect. Although from reading some reviews and watching some clips from previous FOWA(Future Of Web Apps) events it looked that it was the kind of conference I would enjoy. Anyhow lets cut to the chase and list my first impressions…

The Best

  • Kathy Sierra’s presentation “Creating Passionate Users” and the slides that went with it. I specially enjoyed the slide that showed a confused user in front of a monitor with a cloud saying WTF?? that was priceless.
  • I enjoyed Blaine Cook’s presentation and the pandemonium while he was speaking(Twitter went down and some where going nuts over that and his cellphone didn’t stop ringing while he was up in stage).
  • Leah Culver’s presentation was good she came across as humble and very energetic speaker. She acknowledge some mistakes she made while developing Pownce. Acknowledging mistakes and trying to tell people to avoid it is not something a lot of people do.
  • The Launch a Web App in 40 min. panel.
  • Cal Henderson’s presentation was my favorite of the day, he talked about robots, kittens and stuff…
  • Gary Vaynerchuk kicked some ass too with his presentation. Actually I think of it more of a motivational speech than a presentation. I didn’t know who he was or why was he relevant to the conference. But after seeing him on stage I think he really represents what he talks about. He is very charismatic and the only negative thing I could point out is that he is a Jets fan(Go Dolphins!).

The Rest

  • Tantek Çelik and Brian Oberkirch where good hosts, although at times they seemed to lack some emotion while speaking.
  • Matt Mullenweg’s presentation was good and insightful to me, however he spoke somewhat fast and was a little too technical for some of the people who went with me to the conference. Nonetheless his presentation was enjoyable.
  • Kevin Marks’ and Emily Boyd’s presentations where interesting, but a little too long.

The Bad

  • I thought Matt Marshall’s presentation was very dull and how many times did he mention google? a gazillion times during his presentation.
  • Microsoft’s presentation was kind of pointless and it was more of a demo than a presentation. From the two demos presented the first one didn’t quite work and well it was basically MS version of Google maps. The second demo worked better but the accompanying explanation was not very clear.
  • Bagels for lunch? Bagels are OK for breakfast and morning break, but for lunch? fortunately there was a Burger King three blocks north of the venue.
  • I didn’t really get to meet new people, but thats just me.

Overall the event was very interesting, it was well organized and the experience as a whole was a first to me. I really wish I could have made some new friends at the event. I also wish I could have met some of the speakers and established some kind of connection/contact with them, but I guess them being some kind of celebrities it makes it hard to contact them. Thats all for now.

update: finally got myself to upload the 3 pictures I took at the event.  I should really really get a NEW Digital SLR, anyhow here is the link to my FOWA 2008 Flickr set.

Developer Meetings in South Florida: My Thoughts…

For many years I’ve seen how the “web culture” has evolved in different places around the world. Some places that come to mind are the west coast of the US and London, for some reason you will find a high concentration of designers and web developers at these locations. More over the best conferences, workshops and meetings for internet technologies and trends occur at those locations. I started to wonder why South Florida didn’t have a community of designers and developers as in the top places? After all South Florida has the ingredients to support such a community, at least thats what I think.

To my surprise I found out late last year, during the holiday season, that South Florida would be hosting the Future of Web Apps 2008 conference. I was so excited that I registered for the event and started to look for locals attending the event. Thats when I found that there is a good, albeit small, community of developers and designers that are on the bleeding edge of internet technologies. I even found that there are a good number of internet startups here in South Florida such as Scrapblog.

After a good amount of time reading about the different meetings in the area I decided to join one and try to be part of the community. The first meeting was very relaxed, informal and with loads of insightful information about the web development/design business in the area. A few days later I attended a Ruby development meeting, this time around the meeting was a little more formal.

If you are like me, a person new to the South Florida Web development / design scene, I recommend that you check out meetup.com to look for the next meetings here in South Florida.