Flash on the Beach 2010 was a very different experience from 2009 for me. First of all, I was here on my own this year, which gave me more of an opportunity to meet a lot of new people. That was really a huge high point of the conference, as I’ve mentioned in a previous post.

Another difference from 2009 was of course also the fact that this year, I was part of the Elevator Pitch session – an amazing experience that you can read much more about here.

And so in this post, I want to dwell a bit on the presentations. Initially, I set out to make a top 3 favorites listing. But I couldn’t. There was simply too many fantastic talks. So, after much consideration and hard prioritasion, I’ve narrowed it down to my 5 favorites:

Seb Lee-Delisle – What the Flux?!
Seb’s session was one of my absolute favorites last year, so of course, I had high expectations when I sat myself down in a sold out Corn Exchange.
And his talk this year exceeded my expectations. I was completely astonished about the amount of work he had put into this hour long presentation, not to mention the entertainment value. I don’t believe I’ve ever had survey data presented like this before – absolutely awesome.
In addition, Seb had the courage to take up a very thorny subject – open web vs. Flash. And he did it with the upmost diplomacy and empathy. The kittens helped, of course :)
When he finished his presentation, I felt like I had only been there for 5 minutes, and I wanted it to go on. That should tell you something about the quality. Seb, you should have center stage next year.

Oh, and take his advice:
Learn to love to learn
(photo by Aral Balkan )

Jon Howard – Where in the world? Intercontinental Ballistic Flash

(photo by Marc Thiele)
Jon went on stage in a packed Pavilion Theater. He delivered a talk with equal measures of great tips (like deriving curves from an Excel chart) and entertainment. He showed us how he had built a recent project, and cranked up the entertainment value by blowing up lots of things, including a Teletubby. Jon was an Elevator Pitch speaker at last year’s conference, and he certainly stepped up to the plate and delivered a fantastic full slot talk this year. Great work, Jon.

Ralph Hauwert – UnitZeroOne :: The Discontinuity

Ralph was quite nervous when he went on stage – but he had absolutely no reason to. His session was a great on many levels; from the vast variety of beautifully crafted demos (check out some of them here) to his explanations on how he had made them. It was clear that he had put an immense amount of work into this presentation. And even though I know I didn’t understand everything Ralph explained, I left his session in a state of inspiration. Visually one of the most beautiful sessions of the conference.

Laura Jordan-Bambach
Laura Jordan Bambach
(photo by Robert Turall)

Laura’s session was a refreshingly non-dev talk about the tendencies in participation marketing, and she showed us a lot of great examples, like the Norwegian Staples campaign. Brilliant work. I loved Laura’s session because it was entertaining as well as useful – and her slides were gorgeous :)

Jared Tarbell
Jared’s session was a bit of an epiphany for me. He showed us how he transforms algorithms into physical artwork – absolutely gorgeous work. It left me wanting to explore this field of creating visuals (or art, if you will) from algorithms too. I love when things have a story like Jared’s work does. So this goes on my to-do list for 2011 :)

Finally, I can’t write my write-up without mentioning the epiphany I had in Brendan Dawes’ session. Brendan was talking about how he loved to work with a simple sketch pad and pencil, because it lacked the ability to “undo”. That opened up a massive trail of thought in my head, leaping over to how music evolves specifically because of the lack of undo. When you play an instrument, you work with your mistakes and let them evolve. It’s called improvisation. And my head is still full of exciting experiments I want to conduct in the area between visual design and music. More to follow :)

So, in summary: FOTB, you were fab :)



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