There is a new Valley poised to get some attention at SXSW 2008 — that of Phoenix, Arizona. Some of the brightest people in Phoenix’s interactive scene have submitted panel ideas for next year’s conference. This is a highlight of five highly intelligent individuals from the Phoenix area (plus an opportunity for some shameless self-promotion, which will be kept to a minimum). I met each of them during the last 1-2 years, and have followed their work enough to know that they each deserve my wholehearted recommendation.
Let’s dig in — alphabetically by last name.
Note: Please support these individuals by VOTING at panelpicker.sxsw.com. Your vote counts. Support these ideas, support Phoenix’s budding technology community.
Scope Creep and Other Villains
Description: Are you a web design superhero? Then you’d better know your villains — Scope Creep, Needy Client, The Write-Off, and the rest of the sinister crew — and the secrets of how to defeat them!
James is the Project Management & Marketing Mastermind behind Forty, a well-known web design and branding agency.
He spoke at SXSW 2007 with an excellent presentation about building and managing a successful web development firm. This time around, he is going to present a humorous side to client relations with stereotypical traits that have forever annoyed web developers of all shapes and sizes. Obviously, he is also going to cover the serious side of the topic by discussing how to effectively handle these situations in a way that benefits you and your clients.
A Better Gun to Shoot Your Eye Out With
Description: Introducing the idea of applying the ideas made famous by Ruby on Rails (convention over configuration, strong MVC, good plugin system) to the context of game engines via the Railgun engine.
David is someone that I have only met on occasion, but I know him through several of my colleagues. He is a talented developer and looks to be one of the next big names in Ruby circles. If you have any interest in Ruby whatsoever, hearing what he has to say about Ruby development should be a top priority.
A Day at the Web Factory
Description: Show and build awareness of GTD concepts for web companies. Through demonstration of your average day at the office, you will be able to see common mistakes and faults with how you or your team works.
Aaron Post (now part of the Forty team) is very well-known in Phoenix web development circles. He is one of the key organizers for Refresh Phoenix, which is the best group I have found in the area to meet the rockstar designers and developers of the [Phx]Valley. I would like to see Aaron gain more recognition nationwide, and SXSW is one of the best places to make that happen.
In the description, Aaron notes “common mistakes and faults”. While they may be common to many web companies, I think most people probably do not realize that it is an issue they are having. This is definitely a panel I see being beneficial for any web company looking to grease the cogs of the company clock.
Description: How many times have we working with a client, narrowed down the project scope and get a signed contract only to have the client say “Oh so that is a widget, then what did I just pay for?” Or a potential clients calls asking for just a basic web site, nothing fancy, how much?
This will be an interesting discussion about communication. Clients often misinterpret, miscommunicate, and misunderstand even the most trivial web design tasks. I am looking forward to hearing Aaron’s perspective on how to overcome these situations.
Description: Traffic surges on the Internet can topple newly popular web services, a common side-effect of success called “Growing Pains.” With today’s technology, web services can provide more functionality and consume fewer server resources by distributing the workload. This is an overview of technologies available and strategies to use.
While mostly technical, this presentation will be very useful for non-technical individuals. Learn how to add functionality, improve service responsiveness, and save on hardware costs.
Description: Name recognition can make the difference between reaching your market and sinking into oblivion. Trust is important, but nothing is more valuable to a fledgling start-up than a kick-start audience. By building a brand around your name, you can shed additional exposure on your next big idea.
I will be presenting industry analysis as well as metrics from my own experiments. Fascinating stuff.
A Developer’s Cookbook to Leveraging Virtualization
Description: Virtualization is a trend that’s reforming the landscape of hosting and ISP’s but developers may not be aware of the benefits for running desktop virtualized environments for testing and development. The snapshot capabilities afforded by virtualization is a deadly arrow that should be in the quiver of every developer nowadays. This panel explores the basic to intermediate level of usage.
Kimbro is the CEO of JumpBox, a company specializing in developing bundled virtualized software packages. The topic has been around for quite a while, but as more advanced virtualization technology becomes available, the conversation is rejuvenated. If you are a developer and don’t use virtualization, you should definitely attend this panel to see how you will benefit from it.
Bankrupt Your Startup in Five Easy Steps
Description: This panel will use humor and wit to show HOW TO bankrupt a fledging company. Panelists will share their insight and knowledge of moving from the garage to the corner office by successfully navigating through the challenges of cash-flow, staffing, and biz marketing. Emphasis will be placed on missteps that could have (or did) sink the company.
Josh is the owner of one of the top web design firms in Arizona. He is an experienced entrepreneur, founding several web companies on the side of his core business. If you want to know what it takes to launch a business successfully, you will want to pay attention to Josh Strebel.