Things I heard and learnt at Webstock

Webstock. It's where your inner geek goes to lean how to make your outer geek shine. It's a conference to celebrate the wonders of the internet, design and creativity. It's a chance to reflect on and hone some of your l33t skills.

My fabulous employer kindly sent me to broaden my horizons but instead I found myself contemplating fruit salads, pelicans, the ethics of telling stories about apartheid and laughing at terrible sheep jokes from The Oatmeal himself.

You know how if you're at the movies or a speech given by the Prime Minister and you whip out your ipad to tweet about what you had at lunch and it's considered rude? At Webstock, the reverse is true. I think it's considered rude if you are not on twitter heaping praise or spitting on the speaker via the internet! Check out Twitter's #webstock hashtag for what I mean.

As a first time Webstock attendee, I was very impressed with how well the conference has been run which is made so so by the obvious enthusiasm and commitment these good people have to making the NZ interwebs a happier place to surf.

Day One


Things I heard:
  • "Those that cannot imagine the future are doomed to fuck it up." Lauren Buekes (buy her book, Zoo City)
  • "People are slugs" Amy Hoy
  • "Google Analytics is a great tool, so listen while I teach you to suck eggs. Hey do you 850 experts in the tech industry who paid $1400 bucks to attend Webstock know what a KPI is?" Google Analytics dude who may have slightly misread his audience.
  • "The dinosaurs died out because they didn't have a space program." Jeremy Keith
Things I learnt:
  • Pelicans can see magnets or something. 
  • Think about the flow.
  • Iterative Design can lead to success. 
  • The internet loves cats. Incorporate them into your HTML coding. 
  • Web coding requires standards or we're fucked.
  • As good carpenters make good tools, good websites should make good artifacts
  • While you can always cash in now with an IPO, a well thought out deliberate growth strategy may personally reward you more. 
  • You'll hate yourself if you over sell the advertising on your site
  • You've probably made it if you can afford to no longer need to use an alarm clock.
  • You can channel The People's fear into money.
Day Two


Things I heard:

"I couldn't find a picture of him masterbating in public" - Gabriella Coleman
"Quality is the best business plan - make something that you love and think is beautiful and it will pay off"
"Chase the vision not the money" Tony Hsieh, Zappos

Things I learnt:
  • Do it
  • Drop it
  • Delegate it
  • Defer it
  • Don't put energy into things you don't want more of
  • Pixar makes awesome movies
  • If you can’t measure it - you can’t manage it
  • The dude from Slashdot wishes he was Mark Zuckerberg
  • You get a little 'jitter' when you use great design.
  • Quality is the best business plan, make something that you love and think is beautiful and it will pay off
  • Don't hire unless they will fit your company culture
Of course, I have a tendency to deliberately mishear people, overlook obvious points and reject legitmate concerns so the above notes may not be exactly a true indication of events. Here's the full notes of what Webstock punters heard or thought they heard has been collaboratively written as a Google Doc or twenty.

Enjoy with my sincere compliments. Not complements. I wouldn't want Oatmeal to correct me by way of merciless mockery.

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