Not Going To Be @media

Published 13 years, 1 month ago

A few people have asked recently if, given that I’m going to be in London in early June, I’ll be showing up for @media.  I’m sorry to say that the answer is no.  Why not?  The honest answer is that I’m not speaking there.  These days, if I’m not speaking at a conference, I can’t spare the time and expense it would take to attend.  In fact, it’s the default case that if I can’t at least break even on a conference, I won’t be there whether or not I’ve been asked to speak—which I wasn’t, in the case of @media, so there you go.  There are exceptions, like SXSW and WWW2005, but those are rare and require a good deal of justification.

Too big an ego on our boy Eric?  Maybe.  What it comes down to is this: I can make money to support my family by staying home and working, or by traveling to conduct customized training for clients.  To lose money on an event that will take me away from my wife and daughter just doesn’t make sense.

Besides, it’s not like @media is going to be lacking for truly excellent speakers.  You’ve got Jeffrey, Joe, Doug, and Molly in the lineup, plus all the others I really ought to list individually but am clearly too lazy to do so.  It should be a great time for all, and while I’m sorry I’ll miss it, with all those high-powered rock stars on stage I seriously doubt I’ll be missed.


  1. Ego?!?! Guilt?!?! No, no, no. When you speak, then clearly you must attend. If the purpose of your presence is merely to fill a chair, why not stay home and support your family?

    I was about to register for a conference in Colorado last night. After seeing the cost (nearing $2000) and considering how unnecessary I would be (I am co-author of a paper, but not first author), I changed my mind.

  2. Makes perfect sense to me, Eric. You’ve got to prioritise as a freelancer, and family has to be number one, particularly as you’re away quite a bit anyway I imagine.

    Anyway, as you say, there’s plenty going on—we probably won’t miss you anyway. ;)

  3. I totally relate to the need for choosing when, where, and how better. It’s really difficult in a situation like all of ours where the industry has operated in a feast-or-famine mentality for so long. I’m finding it very challenging to say “no” when I should be.

    However, there is the issue of being left out, not invited, or somehow overlooked when events come together. My philosophy is that there’s room at the Inn for everyone – we all have something important to contribute. But that doesn’t change the reality that most people want to feel included!

    As far as I’m personally concerned, any event without you Eric just can’t feel right. I always miss you when you’re not there.

  4. one, bravo on the family note

    two, anyone as fundamentally important as you and your work will be noticed in the vacancy

    three, that means u will be here and I like that, and when you are there_(enter location) you are missed here, and I know I dont only speak for myself on that note.

  5. However, there is the issue of being left out, not invited, or somehow overlooked when events come together. My philosophy is that there’s room at the Inn for everyone – we all have something important to contribute. But that doesn’t change the reality that most people want to feel included!

    True enough, Molly. However, I’m realistic enough (as are you, I know) to understand that not everyone can be invited to a given event. Yes, we all have something to contribute, but a conference that had ‘everyone’ on the lineup would be weeks long, and cost thousands upon thousands of dollars to register.

    So I can honestly say that I’m not upset that I wasn’t asked to speak at @media 2005, depsite the impression my entry might have given—the “I’m sorry to say” was an “I’m sorry to tell those of you who wanted me to be there that I won’t be”, and definitely not an “I’m sorry they didn’t like me enough to invite me, wurble wurble wurble”.

    Given the conference’s smash success, I would say the organizers picked exactly the right lineup. That same success also means that it’s likely the event will repeat in the future, and so I’ll have other chances to contribute, assuming I fit into a future lineup. And if I don’t, that’s okay too. The lineup must serve the event—never the other way ’round.

    I know, at one point my grousing about not being asked to speak at various events led Scott Andrew to dub me “the Neil Young of CSS”, but in the intervening years I’ve gained some perspective and gotten over it.

  6. Neil Young rocks.

  7. I totally agree. SXSW is the only conference I’ve ever been to that I had to pay for and that took a lot of convincing (for good reason though… it’s a great conference). If someone of your prominence went to every conference he was invited to without compensation, that would get into the five figures pretty quickly. Not worth it.

  8. Do these places do streaming video of their conventions or have a DVD you can purchase? I.e,, I’d love to go to MacWorld, but I can just as easy sit at home on my couch and watch the keynote from my PowerBook. And with H.264 in the game, the quality should be better.

    Does @media have anything similar?

  9. Very well said, Clint! Neil Young rocks!

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