Staying true to tech roots @DallasTechFest


This past Friday October 13, 2014 I had the opportunity to attend the Dallas TechFest ’14, which was a first for me. I was enlightened by several presentations @DallasTechFest and had the chance to catch up with a few people as well as meet some new people. Here’s a quick recap via my notes.

Keynote: Mobile & UX : Inside the Eye of the Perfect Storm

  • Presented by Jared Spool, CEO & founding Principal UIE
  • My Notes:
    • Mobile & UX’s Perfect Storm exists of 4 Things:
      • Kano Model consisting of Excitement Generators, Basic Expectations and Performance Payoff
      • Sturgeon’s Law that 90% of everything is crap
      • Market Maturity
      • Activity vs. Experience
    • Experience Design consists of 3 Levels of skills:
      • Level 1: Interaction Design, Copy writing, Info Architecture, Design Process Management, User Research Practices, Visual Design, Editing & Curation
      • Level 2: Ethanography, Domain Knowledge, Business Knowledge, Analytics, Marketing, Technology, ROI, Social Networks, Use Cases, Agile Methods
      • Level 3 or Softer Skills: Story Telling, Critiquing (Give & Take), Sketching, Presenting with Confidence & Resolve, Facilitating
    • 3 Questions:
      • Vision: Can everyone on the team describe the experience of using your design 5 years from now?
      • Feedback: In the last 6 weeks: have you spend greater than 2 hours watching someone user your or a competitive design?
      • Culture: In the last 6 weeks: have you rewarded a team member for creating a major design failure?
    • DallasTechFestKeynote_JaredSpoolConcluding Recommendations:
      • Invest to avoid Sturgeon’s Law
      • Focus on experience over technology and features
      • Fill in the gaps between the activities
      • Ensure you meet basic needs while you search for delighters
      • Build in a feedback process
      • Create your experience vision
      • Celebrate learning from taking risks
  • My Thoughts:
    • I like how Jared tied everything together about where the UX mindset should be and what skills it should possess.
    • The list of skills is an awesome aggregation of what it takes to be good at UX.
    • I totally agree with the idea of creating a culture in which failing fast is okay and should be seen as an opportunity to learn and adjust.

.NET Messaging and the Modern Service Bus

  • Presented by Chris Patterson |
  • Developer of MassTransit
  • My Thoughts:
    • I loved his presentation style and he reminded me a lot of Steve Jobs.
    • I enjoyed his KISS philosophy and am sure it shows in his code.
    • MassTransit seems, at first glance, like a solid cheap custom development ESB framework to build off of. Its at least worth further exploration.

Making it to the #1 Spot in the App Store

  • Presented by Amir Rajan
  • My Thoughts:
    • Amir did a really great job of telling the story of how he inadvertently made it to the #1 spot of the US and UK app stores.
    • His revenue was roughly $770k of which apple took 35% of which IRS took 45% of which his partner took 50% and left him with little over $100k.
    • His advice was don’t do it for the money. Do it for something else more important.
    • He said is was very very stressful, so much that he couldn’t sleep for a long time.
    • What he valued out of the entire endeavor was the ability to connect with people, especially young inspiring kids.

Today’s Mobile Landscape: Responsive, Adaptive, Hybrid, and Native

  • Presented by Jeremy Johnson | |
  • My Thoughts:
    • I love the way Jeremy thinks and his firms approach deserves some serious respect and consideration in their space.
    • His firm’s work for Neiman Marcus is nothing short of superb.
    • I really liked how he articulated Adaptive and real world applications.

People I enjoyed chatting with or meeting for the first time

  • Nathan Bennette | Nathan and I talked about the Security Authorization framework (OAuth) that he was currently working with and how he was approaching implementing it.
  • Phil Bredehoeft | I was hoping to chat with Phil a bit more to catch up, so I’ll have to schedule some time to do so.
  • Todd Meinershagen | Todd is a good friend and a very interesting character.
  • Grant Baldwin | Interestingly enough Grant knew several other Thought Ensemble folks such as Jim, Russ and John.
  • Jeremy Johnson | After listening to Jeremy’s presentation, he and I chatted for a little while and I thanked him for presenting.


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