FlashForward Seattle Retrospective

I arrived back in lovely Brighton this morning and proceeded to crash for about ten hours. I guess a crazy week spent sleeping at most three hours a night had to take its toll sometime! But, goodness, was it fun!

Before anything else, here's a big thank-you to Lynda and the whole Lynda.com/FlashForward crew – Marci, Christophe, Megan, Kevin, Todd, Selin, Garo and, of course, Bruce (glad we finally got to hang out a bit at this one!) as well as all the volunteers and my workshop tech-god Keith -- for staging an amazing conference. I know we were all saddened when Lynda and Stewart decided to go their separate ways last year but, in retrospect (and very selfishly, I know), I'm so excited that we now have not one but two wonderful conferences being organized by the former power duo (and we so desperately needed a solid conference in Europe after all the recent debacles.)

This FlashForward was, without a doubt, one of the best I've attended so far. It felt almost like the very first one I'd gone to during the heyday of the dot com bubble where I had stared at Branden's code with foggy eyes and a dropped jaw and told myself "I'm going to be presenting at one of these some day!" :)

As I blogged earlier, I was very happy with my workshop on the Foundations of Object-Oriented AS2 and my session on the Open Source Flash Revolution. Both were very well attended and received and it was great to meet so many new faces from the community.

Talking about the community

I know I've probably mentioned this a million times now and probably do so daily but I just have to say it: Folks, we have the most amazing community I know! We were talking about this with Grant during the conference and we both agreed that it was very (*very*) rare that either of us met someone in the Flash community that we didn't like. In short, you're a bunch of really cool people and it was great hanging out with you! :)

Ah, and since I mentioned Grant: Here's a big "congratulations" to one of my favorite friends for winning (his third?) rubber arrow at this FlashForward. Grant won in the Experimental Category for his excellent work on Gallery Incomplet. He also wowed his audience at his session by deconstructing his amazing web-cam and bitmap-based motion-recognition and audio-recognition work from the gallery.

I met so many wonderful people at the conference – Nahuel and Laura, Janice, Philip, Jeffery, Karen, Kim, Don, Miwa, Colin, Chris, Leigh-Ann and Laura, Karyn, John, Maria and many others. I hope you'll keep in touch and I hope I'll see you again at future conferences (FITC, anyone?) :)

Hanging out with the Adobe crew was heaps of fun – Mike, Christian, Sho, Erica, Nigel (finally, dude), Rebecca, Sara,

I also got the chance to really spend time with Justin Everett-Church –- one of the coolest Flash people I know and actually meet Sam Wan in person (finally, after years of online correspondence and even a virtual FCS appearance at a London MMUG session a few years ago.)

Our little troupe seemed to gravitate either to the swanky Red Fin sushi restaurant or the W Hotel (where I had to swiftly break my self-imposed no-drinking rule in favor of the best espresso martinis I know... hmm, or was that rule broken earlier at the Red Fin with some amazing sake. Oh yeah, Grant, the unfiltered variety totally rocks!) A small group of us also got an impromptu tour of Smashing Ideas when Andreas (Heim) had to drop off some of the schwag he won at the raffle on the last day. (Speaking of schwag, I now have the coolest orange umbrella in the world!)

Oh and did I mention that I *finally* got the chance to see Erik Natzke present his stuff? Wow, what amazing work!

I've already confirmed that I will be speaking at FlashForward 2006 in Austin, Texas, alongside Matt and Mike Chapman (homestarrunner.com), Brendan Dawes, Branden Hall, Eric Natzke and Craig Swann. Other speakers should be added to the list in the coming days. As an added incentive, Lynda told me that September's conference, which starts on the 11th, is scheduled to end a day before the Austin City Limits Music Festival that runs from the 15th to the 17th. I'm definitely looking forward to staying a few extra days to attend both.

Here's to many more amazing FlashForwards, FITCs, and Spark Europes and here's to the most amazing community of people I know! :)