The talks that were: FITC Amsterdam & PHP UK Conference 2009

Fitc 2009

You know you're really busy building a new app when you don't even get the chance to blog about the conferences you're speaking at. (And you know you haven't blogged in a while when you forget the blogging bundle shortcuts in TextMate!)

FITC Amsterdam 2009

The conference season kicked off for me this month with the excellent FITC Conference in Amsterdam. It's so secret that I love the wonderful people of the Netherlands and Belgium and so it was with great pleasure that I presented a new talk titled The Future's So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades. Unlike its musical namesake, my session was not a sarcastic take on the present/future (in the song they need shades because the future is nuclear holocaust) but an enthusiastic look at how far we've come with computers and what a wonderful time it is that we're living in with commoditized hardware and software, utility computing, The Cloud, and more tools, technologies, and platforms than we can shake a stick at. The focus of the talk was User Experience; the one thing that cannot be commoditized and the one differentiating factor/source of value in our otherwise commoditized world.

The talk had an enthusiastic response in Amsterdam (thank you guys!) and I flew took the train to London where I proceeded to change about 1/3rd of the talk before presenting it as the keynote at the PHP UK Conference. And what a blast I had! :) I seriously would not have believed it if you had told me that the PHP community had such an awesome community -- nearly everyone I met was as-they-were, open-minded, passionate about their work/play and looking to interact, learn, and share.

Aral php uk Conference 650

Keynote at PHP UK Conference 2009

Since this was my first keynote ever, and to a completely new audience, I was rather jittery beforehand. The session felt good while I was presenting it, however, (a few more hours of sleep would not have hurt as I did make a couple of sleep-deprived rookie mistakes) and the feedback has been -- well, what can I say? Here's a smattering that I've found thanks to Google:

I was completely taken by surprise by Aral Balkan's "The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades" talk. I mean, put a trendy guy with a cool name who claims to be a flash developer together with a cheesy talk title and make it the first talk of the day ... I mean, meh. However, I was very happily surprised to find it was a great talk, the audience loved it and I was completely inspired! (LornaJane)

We had a quick chat and then headed for the auditorium where Aral Balkan give us a very energetic talk on the future. This was a spectacular talk which was the keynote of the day called The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades. (Thijs Feryn)

Aral Balkan's keynote provided food for thought and he's a very enthusiastic speaker. This was an excellent up-beat talk which raised my general happiness with the day. (Rob Allen)

[G]reat keynote by Aral Balkan, on the future of web development and RIAs. Aral highlighted that both hardware and software have become commoditized and that user experience is now the key differentiator for software products. His zany slide deck and manner made for quite an entertaining talk. (Philip/KnowledgeTree)

Aral did a very polished presentation and is obviously a very experienced speaker striving for perfection. It was very energetic, fun and enjoyable. (Marc Gear)

Thank you, thank you, thank you! :) So, who wants me for a keynote next then? :P

FITC photo courtesy Marc Thiele. PHP UK Conference photo courtesy Drew McLellan