Sunday, June 9, 2013

EyeO Recap[0]

    My brain is COMPLETELY full.  I mean, honestly I don't even know where to begin, there were so many great presentations, and so many awesome conversations about random cool things, and so many good ideas tossed around, and...I took a bunch of notes on individual sessions, which I'll toss up on the google drive at some point, maybe in about an hour when I go sit down for lunch (aside, MSP is one of the most connected airports I've ever been in.  Seriously SFO and SJC, step up), and once some of the noise dies down I'll put up my actual thoughts.  I'd started some posts about each day, but eventually it just got to the point where I couldn't digest things fast enough to come up with coherent thoughts on a nightly basis.  Granted, there were open bars involved too, but i didn't really stay out that late, something I plan to remedy next year.

This guy is a genius, listening to him talk, you can totally see how he would build something like Hypercard. Photo by Charlie Cramer

    If I had to pull out one takeaway right now, Bill Atkinson (of Hypercard fame) said it best.  Learning to code is cool, but take a different approach.  There's the approach that says "I want to learn how to code", and there's the approach that says "I want to do something cool, and I'll need to learn how to code to make it happen", or alternately expressed, forget about how you want to do something and focus more on what you want to do and why you want to do it.  That's not to say that tools, frameworks, languages, etc don't matter, but I've always held that application is the best way to learn something, learning through doing, learning through projects, that sort of thing.  So often, I hear people say, well, why would I need to learn to code or, ok, I know some basics, but what do I do next?  Answer that problem first, and learning to code becomes easy.  Learn the things you need to learn for this project, then build off of them for the next project (or shoot off in a different direction and learn new things, either way is a great approach).  But don't get so caught up in learning how to code or learning every particular of a language, framework, paradigm, or process that you forget to make something beautiful.  As I ranted to a co-worker a little while back "There is no perfect tool or SDK/API.  Unity, UDK, Max, Maya, Cinder, ofx, processing, Windows, Mac OS, they ALL suck."  But I'm going to append that with they all make beautiful things.  So quit whining and make cool shit.

    My other takeaway is that Memo Akten is in fact a machine, but his talk was probably the most personally inspiring.  More on that later, but suffice it to say, I used to think I was crazy until I heard his talk.

    EyeO this year definitely struck me as more about experience than technology.  I think this is both good and bad.  Good because experience is really what matters at the end of the day, bad because so many people now are talking about experience, moreso than the people building experience.  It would be really sad to see EyeO become a glorified UX/HCI conference, and I really hope they keep to the trend of only recruiting speakers who have actually MADE stuff.  I don't see that trend changing, and I really hope EyeO continues to feel the way it did this year.  Sometimes it takes a long journey fraught with setbacks, delays, time spent wandering the wilderness, time spent off the trail for a bit, or time looking at the map trying to remember where it was you were going in the first place, before you reach home.  I'm not there yet, but after EyeO this year, I feel like I'm passing the last few mile markers.  GDC had been home of sorts for too many years, really looking forward to this new place.  It feels real.

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