Stefan Baumgartner

Web ops, performance and front-end

beyond tellerrand 2015

16 May 2015 by @ddprrt | Posted in: conferences

Last week I attended this year’s beyond tellerrand in Düsseldorf. It was now my third or fourth time (memories are actually really fuzzy … but then again you don’t remember how often you came back to your home during a year) and again I was blown away by both the quality of the conference and the warmth and open-mindedness of its audience.

Like every year, organiser Marc Thiele proves himself to have an excellent taste when it comes to choosing his speakers. Each and every one of them rank among the best and gave outstanding performances with fresh and new insights. From all thirteen the talks given, there are four which had particular impact on me:

Jeffrey Veen talked about “crafting a creative culture”. He gave insights on his time at TypeKit, long before they got bought by Adobe, and at a point in their career when things were about all or nothing. I loved this one in particular because it showed perfectly how different participants of a software/design project are able to work together and achieve the almost impossible during a time of exceptional and unexpected state. Delivered extraordinarily well and with lots of humour, it was a wonderful talk to close the first day. This one got exceptionally stuck with me due to facing similar situations in my time back at the agency. Sometimes we tackled those really well — like in Jeffrey’s example — sometimes quite contrarily. It depended a lot on how the mood was and which people were involved, and I never found to have the right plan for such things. This talk strengthened my belief that it might be more related to culture rather than organising, even though the latter part is quite important.

On day two, Stephanie Rieger’s talk on the Emerging Global web is the one which I still think and talk about. Stephanie is a wonderful person, and the experiences she made from researching how people in Asia actually use the Internet just showed how much she cares for the people in emerging economies like Thailand and China. Great insights and a lot of eyeopeners for the audience. If you have the opportunity, please go and watch it.

Next, the one I actually expected to blow me away: Sara Soueidan’s experiences with SVG. Sara seems to be the single point of SVG knowledge we web developers have at the moment, making her one of the most wanted persons out in our industry. The “SVG lessons she learned the hard way” ranged from “good to know” to “Oh my god! How can she even work with that?”. With SVG being a really old standard you might expect some rather weird function names and behaviour. Not as bad as the old DOM API, but still a lot of crazy things going on there. While most designers will just export SVG and don’t care about the file’s contents, for me as a developer — having to animate them — it was really good to know what’s under the hood. I was also really lucky to have an extended chat with Sara, both with our Working Draft podcast as well as privately, and I really enjoyed talking to her. Exceptionally nice person, I hope to see her once again in the future.

No beyond tellerrand would be complete without mentioning the crowd. Loved to see a lot of people there which became my friends over the years. Some of them I just see at this occasion, and I wouldn’t miss this opportunity at any chance. Marc is constantly concerned about the new guys being intimidated by the groups of old hands hanging around with each other, but judging from the number of new faces I saw for the very first time and had some great chats with, I think welcoming newbies and making them feel at home at this wonderful and loving conference works.

Thank you Marc. Thank you #Klassenfahrt. Going to see you next year!

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