Thank you for a exemplary conference experience at Monki Gras during a chilly and bright London January. You went deep on the craft theme and I think that resonated strongly with everyone there, because those people who were there loved and cared so much about what they do. That was the first thing that set it apart from ‘regular’ conferences.
Also there was beer, but not a surreptitious beer, not a beer that was pale and fizzy and gullished without pleasure by braying middle managers with grotesquely tumescent bellies and swollen man-boobs. This was a first-class beer that was knitted into the fabric of the conference and reflected the craft theme, that an attendee could openly savour in company in the noonday without fear of a judgement of functional alcoholism (to borrow a phrase from @jasonh). This was another welcome distancing from the mainstream, albeit I thought I had been mugged after checking my wallet post the Craft Beer Co. experience – though is the welcome price we pay for quality.
At this moment, in an echo of the event itself, I am writing this letter, drinking a craft pale ale in a craft beer pub that has newly opened across the road from my office, a whole 45 metres away from my desk. I feel that these echoes will continue to reverberate, perhaps to the detriment of my deadlines.
Let us return to the conference.
The food, made fresh in front of our eyes, the specially roasted coffee, the baskets of fucking fruit, all spoke to a care of consumption that really is usually ignored in favour of cost in our modern lives. Care and attention, @monkchips, care and attention to the smallest detail makes the picture whole and perfect.
In your carefully crafted environment, who could not be in a positive frame of mind, content and happy to be open and honest with their neighbor, even though they may be a temporary stranger? This brought the best out in the already well-qualified and excellent speakers, brought out the humour, brought out the honest expression normally present among a group of friends rather than between a conference speaker and conference attendees. I cannot speak for others – but forty minutes into the first day I was in the front row wishing I was up there giving a talk. What a crowd!
And your conference was filled with wonders – the .gov.uk affair was heart-stopping in its implications and amazing in the fact that it actually happened; – the data pretties entranced us and were in a second breath laid bare as shams if presented without context; – kittehs masqueraded, unchecked, as chikins; – the bombshell that companies get the UX they deserve was dropped; – machines with software that killed people were wheeled out; – the dysfunctions of technology executives were outed without ceremony; – the list could go on, if it weren’t for the line drawn under it by that 9.5 ABV beer, the name of which escapes me entirely.
This letter has just about reached its limit. Let me finish by mentioning that most important aspect of conference-going – personal relevance. I’m a technical co-founder, and my work life is trisected equally into states of euphoria, all-consuming flow and cold panic. At your conference, listening to the experiences and the judgements of those who have treaded this route before, I experienced an enormous feeling of validation – that I haven’t chosen the wrong technology stack; – that I’m not totally crazy for attempting to do what I am doing; – that these people have tried and succeeded and are not that different to me after all: and for that, especially that, I thank you and your team.
all the best
p.s also – phone is teh awesome 🙂