December is a month of looking back and looking forward and 2012 has been an exciting and very different year for me. I finally laid to rest the fear of flying that had kept me off airplanes for 18 years. In 2012 I took 14 flights to 7 different countries – just to make sure that fear was well and truly squished!
All of my trips were in order to speak at conferences, something I haven’t done a huge amount of before this year. I’m an introvert. I’m not shy; I’m not afraid of people; I just gain my energy from being alone. Therefore the average web conference can be a bit overwhelming to me. However I’ve learned that I really enjoy speaking at conferences due to one on one discussions my talks open up.
Many of my presentations this year have been based around a blog post written here in March 2012 – Stop Solving Problems You Don’t Yet Have. I tend not to give an identical presentation each time – even if it is based round the same theme. I always update the talk based on current thinking and often even during the conference if I am talking later, to pick up on the themes of other talks. Links and slides for Pushing the Boundaries without Breaking the Web are on this site.
I’ve also spoken a few times about our experiences in launching our CMS product Perch. One of the reasons I am able to take the time to go speak at conferences is that, as a company, we don’t do a lot of client work these days. Instead our time is spent developing and supporting our product. Perch was “bootstrapped” as a product from the profits of our services business. I enjoy passing on the things we have learned in that process to other people who might like to go down the same path.
Towards the end of the year I wrote a new presentation for the first Smashing Conference in Germany. I had a lovely time in Germany and was very happy to be talking about the subject I spend most of my time thinking about – content management. The talk was videoed and can be watched online. This talk – and the video of it – has been the talk that has generated the most feedback and discussion of anything I have spoken about. I feel there is a lot of interest in the concepts of structured and adaptive content and better content authoring right now. I hope to talk more about this next year.
Talking to people in 2013
In 2013 I am already booked to speak at Confoo.ca and looking forward to my first visit to Canada. I’ll be presenting an updated Pushing the Boundaries without Breaking the Web and also an introduction to CSS3 Selectors, again updated to cover the latest browser support information.
I’d really love to speak more about bootstrapping digital products and also explore modern content management some more, given the success of my Smashing Conference talk.
I am also putting together a new talk based upon the work I have been doing for my upcoming Five Simple Steps Pocket Guide on CSS3 Layout Modules. You can read an article based on some of that thinking over on 24 ways. Upcoming specifications for Flexbox, Grids, Regions and Exclusions are of great interest to me – in particular because of their use in responsive web design and for adaptive content. So I hope to be able to introduce some of these newer specifications and show how they might change the way we work in the future.
It’s been an exciting year of talking to people and getting to listen to other interesting speakers. I’ve learned I do enjoy conferences (and travelling to them) and I’m really looking forward to what 2013 might bring.