Taking Webstock

Webstock 2010 is nearly upon us. Webstock’s senior VPs reflect on past glories—and those yet to come.

Webstock 2010 is nearly upon us (February 15–19). We asked Webstock senior VPs Mike Brown and Natasha Lampard to reflect on past glories, and those yet to come

Mike Brown says

Webstock started in 2006 as a conference for the web industry that focused on building better websites. Since then, it’s expanded and diversified to where it’s now described as an environment where connections can spontaneously happen, where people can meet and talk and share ideas from many different disciplines.

I love that description as it reflects the way the web is underpinning all we do. It’s a platform that enables connections and innovations that weren’t possible even a few years ago. In the same way, a conference about the web becomes a space to connect those working in the web with those passionate about what it can do.

As part of our philosophy of being good web citizens, we’ve made virtually all of the Webstock presentations available free online. Here’s a list of five favourite presentations you may not have seen before:

From Webstock 2006

Darren Fittler: Web accessibility—a user’s perspective

Darren is blind. He stood on stage and had the conference riveted as he browsed through a series of websites, showing us how he made sense of an online environment without the use of sight. If you’ve ever doubted why it’s important to make sites accessible, or just what a change the Internet has made to the lives of people, watch this video.

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Kathy Sierra: Now go change the world

Few had heard of Kathy before Webstock 06. She closed the conference with a call to arms that it’s not about you, it’s about how you make your users and customers kick-ass at what they want to do.

From Webstock 2008

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Liz Danzico: The framework age

Liz chairs the MFA course in interaction design at the School of Visual Arts in New York, employing web luminaries such as Jeffrey Zeldman, Khoi Vinh and Jason Santa Maria. In this presentation she talks about how frameworks create a space for innovation and play, all set to a jazz soundtrack!

From Webstock 2009

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Jasmina Tesanovic: The design of crime

Jasmina is a Serbian writer, feminist and activist. She sat through a war crimes trial in Belgrade, bearing witness to the atrocities committed and the explanations, excuses and beliefs used to justify it. She talked about that experience, and the role the web has played in publicising the story.

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Matt Jones: The demon-haunted world

This is the future. Via the past. A look at the world of things, connected via the web. Matt Jones is one of the most respected thinkers about where the web is taking us.

Natasha Lampard says

And if you liked all those, wait till you see the line-up for next year’s event! We’re thrilled and humbled to have a selection of top-notch speakers at Webstock 2010 who’ll provide yet more inspired thinking on all things web. They’ll not only cover design, development and technological themes, but social, ethical, political and economic. Each of the 20+ speakers makes for a compelling reason to attend. Here are a few we’ve picked to watch out for:

Khoi Vinh, design director for The New York Times; Brian Fling, an authority in the field of mobile user experience; Shelley Bernstein, chief of technology at the Brooklyn Museum; and Kevin Rose, entrepreneur, founder of social news site, Digg (one of the most popular sites in the US) and co-host of weekly podcast Diggnation.

There’s also Jessica Jackley, co-founder of Kiva, the world’s first peer-to-peer microlending website. Named as one of the top ideas in 2006 by The New York Times Magazine and called “revolutionary” by the BBC, Kiva lets Internet users lend as little as $25 to specific developing world entrepreneurs, providing affordable capital to help them start or expand a small business. It’s been one of the fastest-growing social benefit websites in history, and today facilitates over $1 million dollars each week from lenders to entrepreneurs across over 185 countries; Jessica is the spirit behind the organisation.

And there’s Adam Greenfield, design director for Nokia and critical futurist. He’s renowned for this work on next-generation computing, and the social, ethical and design implications of ubiquitous computing.

Few conferences anywhere in the world (and even fewer in New Zealand) get a speaker line up of such quality. By attending, you’ll not only get to hear them, but due to the intimate nature of the event, you’ll get to meet and hang out with them.

We work very hard to make it easy for people to embark on meaningful hallway conversations. We try to create an environment that people want to be a part of, where those meaningful connections just spontaneously happen.

As an added bonus, we’ll also be celebrating the inaugural ONYA web awards on the final night of Webstock. Awards that are by the industry for the industry, the ONYAs celebrate those who design, develop and create New Zealand’s best websites and applications. It’s going to be one helluva party.

Webstock will be intense, and fun, and inspiring. You should come. Register at

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