Flashbelt 2010 wrap up

Flashbelt is probably one of the hardest conference experiences to sum up beyond the simple description of “absolutely awesome”. This was my second year attending and my first year as a speaker which made it even more fun the second time around.

Thanks to everyone who attended my session! I got some great feedback from you guys and I loved getting the chance to chat with everyone afterward too. If you missed the tweets, I have my slides and more posted here.

My session was on the first day so I was still able to catch a lot of sessions. Every session I saw was great which makes it so hard to pick favourites. I was particularly psyched to catch Caroline Oh, Jennifer Shiman, Seb Lee-Delisle and all three of the Je/ar(ed) keynotes. (That would be Jared Ficklin, Jared Tarbell and Jer Throp) My old pal Josh, and new pal Charlie, both did a kick-ass job at their Flashbelt debuts, too.

There were some inspiring themes that emerged organically throughout everyone’s talks. Specifically, advice to allow time and space for discovery; to act on your ideas; and that if something you want doesn’t exist – get out there and make it. Oh, and also cornstarch.

One quote that really stood out was from Filip Visnjic‘s session (and I’m totally paraphrasing here): “If you already know what it’s going to end up like, you shouldn’t do it”. (This was advice he gives to his students when they come to him with a project idea and can already describe exactly the outcome they want from it. )

I want to pick a quote from Jer’s talk that capped off the whole conference, but it would have to be the whole thing. He did an amazing job telling his story and subtly touching on some very relevant issues at the same time. An absolutely perfect ending to the event.


Hey look – “Free Hugs”! what a friendly conference, right?

There is so much to Flashbelt beyond the sessions, though. It’s the perfect venue to catch up with old friends and make a whole lot of new ones. Between biking along with Keith’s run and following Stephen‘s lead, I managed to to counter act all the drinking and see some of Minneapolis. I discovered that my Bocce skills have greatly diminished since last year and apparently “Val” sounds enough like “Ralph” to really confuse people. Who knew? But seriously, I need some bocce practice…

I had a great time sewing and talking shop with everyone at the maker/circuit bending/arduino/soft-circuits meet up. Thanks to Kristin and Dave for making that happen. I got to show off my dog hoodie project a bit and do a little sewing.

The last night was definitely the highlight. Starting with a leisurely walk from the hotel with a stop at the Guthrie Theatre and probably the best pizza I’ve had outside of Italy thanks to Bruno. A quick stop at the qrcode art show and then off to Nye’s. It’s pretty hard not to have an awesome time surrounded by so much glittery vinyl and listening to your friends sing along with the crazy piano karaoke guy. The late night walk back through the park to the hotel was the perfect way to end the night.

To sum it all up, Flashbelt was absolutely great again this year. Dave and his crew did an amazing job putting it together and making things run smoothly. You’d almost think it was effortless, but I know they put in whole lot of work to make it happen.