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Dan Rubin's SuperfluousBanter

Design, random musings, and the Web. Since 1977


WebVisions 2006

Well, it appears as though there’s nothing better than immersing myself in a web conference to get me in the mood to write. Perhaps this is a sign that I’m spending too much time working in isolation. Or maybe I’m just more of a social animal than I once believed. Either way, I’m compelled to write while surrounded by like-minded individuals of high intelligence and complimentary personalities.

A few important things have changed for me since SxSW in March, the most intriguing being my newfound awareness of my “place” within the industry, what that means to me as a designer, and how that affects my approach to design as a field and as a lifestyle. I’ve also become busier, taking on more responsibilities and deadlines (more to come soon on the writing projects underway for Apress/Friends of Ed, along with the technical reviewing for Simon Collison’s new book, and of course my duties as Bryan Veloso’s co-host of Live from the 101), and I’ve starting thinking more seriously about moving away from Florida, to somewhere on the West coast.

The change in my thought process has surprised me, and I think that’s what happens when you fall into a “thought-rut” without being aware of it. Something (or someone) slaps you in the face and makes you aware of what you have or haven’t been doing, and if you’re smart, you use that sudden awareness to your advantage, and take a fresh look at everything you do. In my case, SxSW made me happy to be a designer, and reaffirmed many of my personal beliefs regarding design, and interaction with design on a daily basis (not just my own, but users, family members, people walking through Starbucks — I watch people in an entirely different way than I did before).

Realizing the importance of the face-to-face interaction and conversation (sitting down to dinner with a few smart folks trumps IM, phone or email any day), I decided to continue attending conferences as often as possible, and while I had hoped to make @media a reality (scheduling and budget played a part in my absence this year, but not next), WebVisions 2006 has been my first opportunity since March, and the four months could not have passed too quickly. Not only have I enjoyed the company of people I met in person at SxSW, but I have once again made the acquaintance of people I’ve known online but never met (Dan Cederholm has been my personal highlight), and people I’ve never interacted with before, but hope to again and for some time.

My opinions are also becoming stronger. I’m beginning to have a general sense of “fuck everyone else’s ideas, this is what I think” — this isn’t to say I disagree with any and all existing theories, concepts or best practices, in fact I agree strongly with many people in the industry on many topics; it’s more that I find myself forming my own opinions and thoughts without basing them on someone else’s ideas first (at least not consciously — nodes of inspiration exist, everything has been done or thought of before in some way or another, but there is a big difference between conscious and unconscious inspiration, mainly that the latter is comprised of information that has been completely assimilated into the automatic thought process).

Life has been changing for me on many levels over the last few years, and much of my evolution in my professional life during this time has been (and still is to a great extent) clouded by the difficulties in my personal life. You cannot separate creative from emotional, and I would be lying if I said it’s been easy to focus and be creative over the last few years, and the last year in particular. But it’s slowly getting easier, and spending time with fellow designers/developers and free thinkers (Bryan, Jeremy, Garrett, Keith, Jonathan, Mike, Erin, Megan, and everyone else I met, talked to, or drank with this week) helps chip away at the emotional restrictions that have been a constant distraction.

I’m done making promises about blogging more (it will either happen or it won’t, good intentions aren’t worth the time it takes to voice them), and I’m done caring so much about what people think. Risks are ahead, and I’ll either have success stories to share or failures to learn from.

Either way, I’m already starting to have more fun.

This item was posted by Dan Rubin on Sunday, July 23rd, 2006.


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11 comments on “WebVisions 2006”

  1. Posted by Chris Griffin on Sunday, July 23rd, 2006.

    I was born and raised in Florida as you were, and lived there for 22 years of my life. I moved to Portland (coincidently where you just were) about a year ago and I think it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

    The last 4 years I was there I grew weary of the Florida lifestyle, of the seemingly stagnant boringness of it all. Yea, its warm there and some of the beaches are nice but other than that it just seemed like I was going nowhere.

    One day I just said fuck it I’m moving somewhere on the west coast. I was originally thinking somewhere in California because the weather is somewhat similiar to Florida (minus the humidity and rain), but decided to try a complete change and opted for Portland.

    I know exactly where you are coming from when you say you want to leave that place. I came here and I’ve never looked back. My advice to you is if you really want to leave Florida, stop thinking about and just do it or you’ll never get out.

  2. Posted by Dan Cederholm on Sunday, July 23rd, 2006.

    So glad we finally met, Dan! Fun times. And totally agreed on face-to-face trumping just about any other form of interaction.

  3. Posted by Brian on Monday, July 24th, 2006.

    Enjoyed talking with you at the conference , (I was the guy from the school district in San Diego)

    It was fun to have the opportunity to meet with other developers and talk with authors about their work.

    Let me know if you ever need any beta testers for a site or book you’re working on.

  4. Posted by Jeremy Hubert on Monday, July 24th, 2006.

    Cederholm… I missed out on meeting you. Oops. Next time.

    Rubin. You’re wicked. Thanks for the great time in Portland, I’m glad I made it down, and that you made it up.

    1) Sorry about.. that.
    2) You do realize you were doing 128 miles / hour. :)
    3) c’est Orange
    4) Karaoke is much more fun when you get to sing
    5) Damnit, I wanted smores.
    6) Fossil watches look hotter when you’re distracted.

    I could go on.

    Get your ass up to Vancouver!


  5. Posted by Joshua Bryant on Monday, July 24th, 2006.

    It was good to see you there and hang with you. Obviously you’ve been a huge design inspiration to me in the past. Hope to see you around at future conferences and hopefully you’ll make it up to Seattle, if not to live than at least to visit.

    See ya around, Cheers,


  6. Posted by Keith on Monday, July 24th, 2006.

    Hey dude, was great to hang with you again man. Really, a total pleasure I hope to repeat sooner rather than later.

    And yeah, I’m with Jeremy — get your ass up to Vancouver and let me know when you’re there. I’m always down to a trip up there. And hey, Seattle is just a few hours away.

  7. Posted by Jonathan Snook on Monday, July 24th, 2006.

    It was a blast, Dan. I was dumb-founded when I saw you in the hallway on the first day. I’m glad you made it, though. Worth every second. Until the next conference… :)

  8. Posted by Dan Rubin on Tuesday, July 25th, 2006.

    Chris: :) I hear you, Florida is like quicksand the older you get…

    Dan: Definitely, hopefully we\’ll meet in person again soon.

    Brian: Fun chats – remember to check out Steve Smith\’s Tiger Admin for WordPress :)

    Jeremy: :) Glad you made it, the week wouldn\’t have been the same otherwise.

    1) We should have jumped.
    2) Flies suck.
    3) Good thing phones dry out.
    4) That skirt was hot, as were her eyes.
    5) 2 guys on a bike is not gay.
    6) There were watches in that store?

    Vancouver awaits, as Fort Lauderdale waits for you…

    Joshua: I might have to hit you up for some mortgage advice… :)

    Keith: Seattle/Vancouver – as long as there\’s drinking and women, either one is ok by me ;)

    Jonathan: That still cracks me up – for me it was that odd moment of realization that I was actually there, along with other real people :) We should work together sometime…

  9. Posted by Brean on Thursday, July 27th, 2006.

    Hiya. Read your blog (while I’m at work – bad employee!). Will read more thoroughly later and will read some of your others. – Just wanted to let you know someone’s paying attention. :)

  10. Posted by Matthew Anderson on Thursday, July 27th, 2006.

    Dan, you are definitely the man. It was true honor to meet you. I told Bryan that I would take some extra pictures off Seattle and Vancouver when I’m there next month. Hopefully they’ll help you with some convincing as well.

    My Webvisions recap turned in to a short novel. So, in case you don’t get all the way through it I wanted you to see this…

    On my walk back to the hotel I had a brief, but important conversation with Dan Rubin. In the short amount of time we had, we talked about the risk factor inherent in achieving great things as designers. I hope to write more about this in coming weeks as I have a feeling that this conversation, as casual as it seemed at the time, is going to be the one that has the greatest impact on my life in the coming months. Thanks, Dan.

    It is amazing how much you can talk about in 2 blocks with the right person.

    P.S. Thanks again for “watching” my bag ;)