Alternative title: Webshaped 2012.
It's difficult to communicate in words my experience over the last few days. I think the closest I could get is “overwhelming and beautiful.”
It was a huge privilege to meet designers and developers who have long inspired me, as well as to see them talk about the things they're passionate about. Webshaped was a resounding success for myself and for the organizers of the event, too.
I was terrified for the whole trip. Even after I'd spoken, there was a fear that filled my gut and clouded my mind. The entire talk is a completely blank space in my mind - I don't remember a word I said, and the only thing I remember is screwing up opening a bottle of water. A pretty impressive feat, I think. I hardly ate a thing. Everything I'd rehearsed went straight out of the window as soon as I opened my mouth. I didn't talk for nearly long enough. I almost definitely said some stupid things. And I loved every second of it.
I received a lot of positive feedback, and everyone was pleasantly surprised to learn it was my first time speaking. That felt good. I thoroughly enjoyed the talks I'd managed to attend, and was disappointed to miss the ones that clashed. Luckily, they were all recorded and should be up on the Interweb fairly soon.
I have the itch now. I want to talk more. And I can't thank the organizers of the event enough. For them to have had the confidence in me to speak for the first time at this brilliantly organized event, amongst others who are far more qualified and experienced than myself, is incredibly commendable. I'm eternally grateful for the opportunity I thought I'd never get.
But there's one thing that stands out from everything I've learnt in my time in the beautiful city of Helsinki - I have no idea what I'm doing. I'm absurdly lucky to have had the chance to talk at Webshaped, and I spent the majority of my time there letting words spill out of my mouth like bad soup, wondering just what the heck I was saying. Luckily, a lot of the time those words seemed to form a kind of tangible idea in the audience's mind. And yes, it was almost definitely luck.
I have so much to learn. And I can't wait to get started.
I did learn one more thing - San Francisco is the place to be.
Oh, and to whoever it was that shouted “You were awesome” during Q&A — Thank you. That changed everything.
If you want to watch the talk, here it is.