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How to be a Creative Sponge 2

Creative%20Sponge

This week I had the great pleasure of speaking at the 3rd Web Developer Conference in Bristol, along with Elliot Jay Stocks, Sarah Parmenter and Dan Donald.

It was only a one-day conference, but I had a whale of time, meeting new folks like Elliot Kember (who shone on the 2 panels he attended), Oliver Ker and the legendary Jon Tan, with whom I’ve had emails and chat but never met in person. I also got to catch up with Ben Hostler, the creative director of Bristol-based agency Beef, who I haven’t seen since I was at Middle School with him… 24 years ago!

The talk I gave was an update of one I gave at @media 2007, ‘How to be a Creative Sponge’. Back then, Flickr was really the only option for sharing design collections online, but a lot has changed since then. We’re now spoilt for choice, but I explained my current system of choice – Evernote. Like Fireworks, I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with it in the past, but earlier criticisms have been fixed in recent updates. In particular, I’m finding that I can ofter remember text in an image that I’ve saved, so the OCR technology in Evernote makes it easy for me to find items I’ve collected. I would even say it was more effective than a tag.

Download the slides as PDF (27.8mb). I don’t tend to write presenters notes, so I’ve added these afterwards to try and help it make sense. All links mentioned in my talk are available on Delicious under the sponge tag.

I came away with a really good feeling about Bristol – it has a great developer/designer community, in a city that feels friendly and very un-intimidating.

I also came away with a realisation that there is a whole book’s worth of material in ‘Malarkey’s Prank Calls’. Everyone I met seemed to have at least one experience of that delight to share ;)

Be a Creative Sponge

I’m just back from @media Europe where I talked about the importance of maintaining design collections and how to use them, under the banner “How to be Creative Sponge”. Having only ever resided on panels before now, and with the exception of a 15 minute talk at Oxford Geek Night 2, it was my first ‘proper’ speaking engagement. I was concerned that what I had to say was too obvious, too common-sense, but feedback so far has been good, and I’m really appreciative of those that took time to tell me they got something from it.

As promised, here are the slides from the the talk, and all the URLs mentioned in the talk can be found via the sponge tag on my delicious account: http://del.icio.us/jonhicks/sponge.

As for the conference itself, I had a whale of time. I meet new, lovely, interesting people every time, and always come away with new ideas and motivations. In particular though, I absolutely loved being able to share it with Leigh, and I have her parents to thank for that.

My lasting image of the event will undoubtedly be Drew whipping up the crowd in chants of ‘There is no fold!’, aided by placards. Especially after receiving a Request for Proposal that week, containing the requirement “All information on the homepage must be visible above the fold”, I was tempted to take one of the placards and send it back with my proposal!