Published 18 years, 7 months past

Well, An Event Apart Philadelphia is in the history books.  (Or, as they might say on the original Iron Chef, “Battle Standards is OVAH!!!”.)  If you want to relive the event, vicariously or otherwise, there’s a Flickr group for the event, as well as all the public photos tagged “aneventapart”.  As I write this, those two sets of pictures don’t form a perfect union, so if you’re really curious, it’s worth checking out both.

I haven’t seen any feedback yet, so I only know what I thought of the event.  At the risk of sounding egotistical, not to mention ungrammatical, I thought it went great.  There were things that could have gone better—my presentation on em-based layouts particularly needs some buffing and polishing—but given that it was the first in the series, and as such largely uncharted waters, I’m not sure I could be happier about how things went.  Even the problems that arose, like the morning crushing of the wifi, were corrected quickly.  The audience seemed really involved and their questions were sharp.  We got a few laughs.  Life was good.

Jeffrey and I would like to sincerely thank each and every attendee for making the event so great, and to thank our sponsors (AIGA, Media Temple, New Riders, and Pixelworthy) for helping make the event possible at all.

Comments (12)

  1. Well Eric, it really was great. The fact that some of it wasn’t polished made it better, in my opinion. It gave the whole thing a feeling of being in a room discussing the nitty gritty of things with some (really smart, really knowledgeable) friends, rather than that of being “at a conference”. Keep it that way. When it stumbled it wasn’t annoying, it was largely funny, and we could see the gears grinding, which is what I think all designers want of the folks in charge of the markup when one’s design is pushing the bleeding edge. I loved that you both could say “I don’t know” when you didn’t, and really tried to work things out when posed with a weird question.
    As I drove home I thought to myself, precisely, that I’d love to go back another year and still have it be like chatting with “the team” instead of being presented to. Maybe the fact I was 3 feet away from you guys made that happen more for me, but I don’t think so; I think it would have been largely the same a few rows back.
    Way to go! Thanks for a great day, packed with tons of goodies. It wads an honor having been at The First One!


  2. I wish it would have been both more technical and more theorhetical. The technical examples didn’t get down and dirty enough. Maybe since we had all day, Eric could have slowly and carefully done a project for all of us and explained his thinking. When he was talking math, it was GREAT. I use formulae like those all the time to calculate ems up and down based on a base unit. Have more of that. More reasoning. Teach people to think like you do, not just do what you do.

    I wish we could have talked more about what will (or could) happen “next.” Ok, so I have all of my websites marked up and validated to the latest W3C specs, and everything looks good in browsers … so, do I just wait for browsers to mess things up and then fix broken parts? When you look at what we do as merely marking up content for distribution, is there a point at which we’re done?

  3. Thanks Eric for everything. Great work. Resist the urge to make future AEA’s bigger. It was a nice sized group and I think everyone was happy with the results.

  4. The conference went very well. It was a pleasure to sit, several rows back, at your feet. I’m glad I convinced the Agency to pick up the tab, although I would have been pleased to pay my own way. And a big Thank You for marking over the basic template.

    Still, Eric, you’re too diffident when you speak. I had a hard time hearing everything, so I concentrated (maybe too much so) on your body language. Your gestures were distracting, you often spoke to the screen, and you rarely looked people in the eye. It detracts from the content of your talk.

    It was shocking because in this site and in your books, you’re very self-assured (the magic of editing?). When we spoke briefly after the conference, that self-assurance was there, leading me to think you were very nervous during your presentation. Nervous speakers typically exhibit the above traits.

    You know this stuff. You’re still the sheriff in town, and people like me pay to see you speak. We may question what you say, but we’ll always be listening.

    Of course, I could be wrong. Maybe you weren’t really nervous. :grin:

    Kudos to you and Jeffrey for a smashing time.

  5. Thanks for bringing this event to the Philadelphia region. I enjoyed the day immensely. Though at times I felt it was preaching to the choir, it is alway nice to have you thoughts reinforced by the masters themselves. I also think Jason Santa Maria was a great addition. You should bring him on tour with you guys everywhere.(Jason, you can pay me for that comment later :]).

    A few of us in the Philadelphia Standards Organization live blogged the event. We also posted some pictures there if you want to re-live the events or didn’t have a chance to go.

  6. I second what Jeff said. It was wonderful that you chose to road-test the event in Philadelphia first, and Jason was a valuable contributor. I liked the venue, although the teething problems with Wi-Fi access were very frustrating – most notably for Jeffrey!

    For me, the highlight of the event was hearing about how A List Apart 4.0 came together, both from a design and a CSS perspective. I was also impressed by Jeffrey’s talks on text copy and branding.

    Your run-through of Alex Robinson’s One True Layout was a revelation. About 5 minutes into your explanation, the very fabric of the universe became apparent. There followed a chorus of clapping noises as one by one, designers slapped their foreheads as they realized they’d missed something bloody obvious for years. I feel like redesigning everything I have ever done.

    I found the discussion about Internet Explorer 7.0 to be very reassuring. I’m confident that nothing I’ve done will be broken by the new beast, and many things will look decidedley better – thanks to a liberal helping of child selectors.

    With such high standards (no pun intended), it was inevitable that something didn’t come up to scratch. For me, it was the Critique Corner segment. One site in particular (I won’t say which) seemed so woefully out of place that I felt sorry for the designer, who must have experienced something akin to a public flogging.

  7. I know that I’m getting to sound like a stuck record but please bring it to the UK.

  8. I posted some feedback elsewhere. Basically, I thought it was fantastic. You managed to exceed my admittedly high expectations. I’d definitely recommend it when it comes to your neighborhood.

    I only hope that you decide to make the slides and podcasts publicly available for everyone who wasn’t able to attend.

  9. Trackback ::


    An Event Apart: Post-Mortem

    On Monday, December 5th, I attended An Event Apart in Philadelphia (along with some of my co-workers, Joe, Dan and John). I thought it was quite useful: we had Eric Meyer talking to us about CSS and HTML (read his after event thoughts), Jeffrey Zeldm…

  10. It did indeed go “great”. Since it was in Philly and only about an hour drive, I could not resist the chance to participate. I found your talk through the ALA implementation as the markovers very instructive (esp since one of my sites was used as an example). Both you and Jeffrey made your books real. We’ve all got the books, but it adds a lot when you get to see and hear and get a sense of the people directly from the people.

    Thanks again for the day. I was indeed inspired to improve my skills and stay on the standards track.

  11. Michael said:

    Still, Eric, you”re too diffident when you speak. I had a hard time hearing everything, so I concentrated (maybe too much so) on your body language. Your gestures were distracting, you often spoke to the screen, and you rarely looked people in the eye. It detracts from the content of your talk.

    Two things. First, I learned a new word meaning today! I always assumed “diffident” meant “indifferent” or “lacksadaisical”; it turns out it means “shy or timid”, among other things. So thanks, Michael!

    Second, I don’t doubt you’re right. I would imagine the reason is twofold. In the first place, I am by nature somewhat shy, especially in large groups. Some of that is going to show through when I speak, no matter how much I’ve worked to overcome it (and I have). The second reason is that when I first started speaking, I was a good deal less confident than I am now. Since the talks seemed to go well, I probably settled into those diffident kineses as “what works”.

    Neither of these is really an excuse, but hopefully serve to explain. It’s something I struggle with every time I get up in front of a crowd, and some days I’m more successful in the struggle. AEA appears to have been one of the days I was less successful. Sorry about that.

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