btconflanayrd

Wow.

If there's the need to describe my feelings after attending last week's Beyond Tellerrand conference, it's this. Wow.

When I first attended my first ever Web-Conference only four years ago, it happened to be the first Beyond Tellerrand, and I've been to all BTConfs that followed, because, well, they're awesome. Addictive. It is hard to describe what exactly "the spirit" of that conference is, what sets it apart from others, because I'm not a regular conference attendee. I only visited the first Smashing Conference in Freiburg (which was also co-organized by Marc) and this year's Smashing Conference in Oxford, which were equally impressive, but the Beyond Tellerrand to me is special, and more for personal than objective reasons.

Having spent well more than ten years "web working", the BTConf was the first time I got out of my routine, and suddenly I realized I was not alone. This sounds cheesy, but it is true: For years I thought, I have problems with clients, I have problems with recognition, I have problems with workflow, I have problems with the position of neither beeing a "true developer" no a "true designer" -- I'm just the guy doing the full webstack, helping small, medium or larger organizations with their "website", but usually involved too late in the strategic process and gnawing my teeth with design desicions done elsewhere by people who are exceptionally good in doing visual, aesthetic work, but failing to understand the medium they're supposed to design for. I always thought, it is kind of my fault. I'm too small, or, later, when I had my own company going, we're seen too technical, too "it" related, to be involved in the structural and creative foundations of projects.

Suddenly, at BTConf, through the topics of the talks held and more so by talking myself with other attendees and some of the speakers, it occured to me, that what I was facing isn't my "fault", but the whole "industry" we're in. This was liberating as it was scary. And the months after my first BTConf were, let's say, interesting. I started debates and discussions with clients and partners alike and I fell into a something bordering a depression; my aims were exceptionally high, but my clients, projects, and daily work wasn't anything like I think it should be.

Over the course of the last four years I gradually managed to change our company's way of approaching client work - we're still not completly there, but things look better than ever. We had internal changes, I needed to take far more responsibility in communication and projects and I learned more in the last four years than I had like in a decade before. And this all is somehow tied to the Beyond Tellerrand Conference, and Marc Thiele's concept for the conference and talks.

Not Everything is Awesome - slide by John Burgerman #btconf 2014

It provide(s/d) me with the confidence and reassurance I needed, just in a time where I was short of quitting the whole "web thing" because I saw no perspective. Which is crazy, considering that I had aquired knowledge throughout the years that, with the idea of RWD and the rise of "the mobile web", is more needed than ever before: a firm background in design and aesthetics, and years of building, coding, and hacking in HTML, CSS, PHP, and JS, and a little bit of webserver administration, CMS intergration and last but not least communicating with clients.

And this interdisciplinary background is another reason why I enjoy the Beyond Tellerrand conferences so much: For four years there was not one talk that hadn't something in it for me, be it inspirational, typographic, code-heavy, process-wise, illustrational or arty.

The only problem I have with the conference: Whenever I come back, I feel like I need to have one or two weeks to digest all the brainfood, while in reality I'm grounded hard by the everyday needs of running a small web shop :)

So yeah, wow, again for this year's installation of Beyond Tellerrand, which was near too-much for me, with all the side-events. From sunday to thursday constant brain-load -- when I arrived home on thursday evening I literally fell right into my bed and slept through for like 12hrs.

And since this post turned out to be more personal than I planned, I'd like to thank not only Marc for organzing all this, but everybody I met in the last four years - with most of you I found one way or the other of staying in contact, some of you I'd like to consider as friends by now, and all of you are great guys.

Let's keep this webthang rolling, together.

PS: If you're looking for reviews of the talks, keep an eye on the conference's Lanyrd page. And as soon the videos of the talks are online, I'll post/update accordingly. :-)