FOTB 2010 – Some Closing Thoughts and some Play Time

Well, it’s now a week or so after the conference and I figured high time to share some final thoughts on the event. I meant to write 2nd and 3rd day in review posts, however, due to lack of time, a lack of notes, and a memory waning like the moon, I decided instead just to share a few memorable points that have stuck with me. Besides, who really is interested in a play by play review of a conference.

First I have to say that the conference was fantastic. The speakers did a great job and the enthusiasm and inspirational levels were as high as always.

If you haven’t seen the opening title sequence from Nando Costa, be sure to check it out here. Oh, and why not check out the opening XFactor skit put on by Disturb Media. There’s even a guest appearance from Steve Jobs.

These, though, are the concepts that were shared that will always stick with me.

  1. Agencies should hire the best developers and pay them well. Well, okay, so maybe I have a bit of personal interest at stake in recalling this idea. But it was Hoss Gifford, I believe who pointed out that a good developer can increase a company’s productivity by 30 to 40 %. Rarely, if ever though, are developers paid 30 to 40% more. Of course, he didn’t say they should be paid quite that much, but they should be paid a fairly comfortable wage that will motivate them to stick around and keep doing what they love to do anyway.
  2. How unscathed by the criticism received for publicly mentioning ‘blow jobs’ seems to depend on your level of success and popularity.
  3. Always look up.
  4. It seems that many successful companies allow employees time to work on personal projects. Obviously Google does this. Stefan Sagmeister enjoys taking a year off for every 7 spent working. Big Spaceship finds time between client projects for their creative teams to play (which led to works like The Most Awesomest Thing Ever and Pretty Loaded). And I seem to recall someone from an agency (was it Fantasy Interactive?) speaking either last year at FOTB or FITC saying that their company does client work 9 or 10 months of the year and personal work for the remainder – and that it is their personal work that leads to the client work. So, note to self, when I form my own agency, pay the developers well and always allow time for everyone to stretch their creative legs.
  5. I need to watch the movie PI again.
  6. Never be afraid of failure. It seems that several speakers mentioned this concept. Failure is an option. A failed experiment is actually a successful one and a learning experience. Sometimes the greatest achievements come from failing one thing but by complete accident stumbling across another. So, always have fun and don’t be so hard on yourself when what you’re trying to do doesn’t work out the right way. Just learn from it and take that knowledge with you to the next project/iteration.
  7. Don’t discard old work. You never know when something you did months or years earlier may be more interesting or useful than you remember it being. It’s always worth looking back on old stuff in a new light and seeing what you may be able to make out of it with what you know now.

So, in the spirit of the last two points, I went back and took a look at the 3D flocking code I wrote ¬†about here, reworked it a little bit to make it more platform agnostic (i.e. no reliance on Papervision3D), combined it with Seb Lee-Delisle’s simple 3D drawing api and came up with the below:

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Get Adobe Flash player


No, it’s nothing spectacular, but sometimes that’s the point. Sometimes it feels good to just code for the sake of coding with no particular result or expectation in mind, other than maybe you’ll see something cool when you compile.

Now, looking forward to FITC. Maybe I’ll even screw up the courage to pitch an idea for the elevator pitch session (or whatever it’s called at FITC).