Web Directions South 2014 in 4 words

An experiment in brevity.

What happens when you combine a conference report with Four Word Film Reviews? An attempt to review the conference – and each of the presentations I saw – in just four words.

WDS14: “Don’t forget we’re human”

  • Matt Webb – Interconnected: “Extend yourself. Start small.”
  • Scott Thomas – Doing Simple. Honest. Work: “Understand first; design later.”
  • Emily Nakashima – The Operable Front End: “Log -> monitor -> fix -> repeat.”
  • Erin Moore – Convenient Fictions: Real time not ‘realtime’”
  • Mark Dalgleish – A State of Change: “Immutability beats observing mutations.”
  • Julio Cesar Ody – The Loaded Javascript: “Defer, async or other?”
  • Sarah Maddox – Bit Rot in the Docs: “Test docs like code.”
  • Dan Hon – An Internet for Humans, Too: “Reduce the empathy gap.”
  • Genevieve Bell – Being Human in a Digital World: “Behavioural fundamentals don’t change.”
  • Johnny Mack – Building Trust: “Form. Storm. Norm. Perform.”
  • Jonathon Colman – Build Better Content: “Seek clarity, speak human.”
  • Douglas Bowman – A Voice for Everyone: “Positivity of random connections.”
  • Tobias Revell – Haunted Machines: “Technological magicians: Think responsibly.”

Some background context

Two weeks ago I attended Web Directions South 2014. I wanted to take notes so I could write a recap to share internally at work, but I didn’t want to write a wall of text like last year’s recap.

This year I took the approach that I would write some minimal notes after each presentation. This meant that I wasn’t so distracted by writing notes that I stopped absorbing the presentation content. It also gave me time to reflect on the presentation in “down time” and distill the key points. (The only exception to the rule was when I wanted to capture a link or an exact quote.)

When trying to summarise the presentations for the write-up, I forced myself to give a synopsis of each talk using only one sentence. While doing this, I suddenly remembered one of my old favourite sites that I hadn’t looked at in a long time: Four Word Film Reviews.

Inspiration struck, and this post is the result. (Though unfortunately it probably doesn’t make sense to anyone who wasn’t at the conference to begin with.)