Here’s what everyone will be speaking about. We’re pretty dang excited!

Andy Baio

The Indiepocalypse

We’re at the beginning of a massive shift in how culture is created, and it’s starting to leak into the mainstream. Artists, makers, and hackers of all kinds are using the Internet to connect directly to fans and bypass traditional gatekeepers, making a living independently without sacrificing creative or financial control over their work. But it brings new challenges—can we be independent without being alone?

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Jen Bekman

Stick around and fix it

“Move Fast and Break Things” has become the rallying cry of the start-up world in this era of hockey stick growth, billion dollar valuations and IPO millionaires. Headlines are dominated by huge financing rounds, all cash acquisitions and baby-faced boy wonders. Thing is, there are still lots of entrepreneurs out there who set out to realize a dream and make the world a better place. As a forty-something founder who’s be pursuing the same simple vision for more than ten years, I’ve definitely broken some things along the way. I’m going to talk about what it’s like stick around and fix it. (Spoiler: Hard as hell, but pretty freaking gratifying.)


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Scott Berkun

The Year Without Pants: & The Future of Work

Would you like to work somewhere with no meetings, no email and thats let employees work from anywhere on the planet? Berkun worked as a manager at, the 8th most popular website in the U.S., and one of the largest 100% distributed companies in the world where these perks and more are true. He’ll share stories and lessons of his behind the scenes adventures from his latest popular book The Year Without Pants: & The Future of Work.

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Maciej Ceglowski

Our Comrade the Electron

Radio in the 1920’s played a role analogous to the Internet in our day.  Everyone could see that a suite of new technologies was about to change the world, but this advance knowledge somehow made the future more uncertain.  Meanwhile, a group of technically-minded Utopians had convinced themselves that technology could radically transform human nature, and were determined to demonstrate it to a skeptical world.  A meditation on the surveillance state, interface design, tech culture, and the dangers of thinking you know what will happen next, told through the astonishing life of Lev Termen.

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Josh Clark

Mind the Gap: Designing in the Space Between Devices

There’s untapped magic in the gaps between gadgets. Multi-screen design is a preoccupying problem as we try to fit our content into many different screens. But as devices multiply, the new opportunity is less about designing individual screens but designing interactions BETWEEN them—often without using a screen at all. Learn to create web and app experiences that share control among multiple devices, designing not only for screens but for sensors. The technology is already here in our pockets, handbags, and living rooms. Learn how to use it right now.

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Liz Danzico

The Hidden Forces of Design

Just like buildings adapt when refined by their occupants, so do products by their users. Language, shape, color, sound, and context unite in unseen forces that influence how people interact with products and services. Habits form. Opinions get opined. Over time, products adapt. This talk identifies the emerging and informal economies of behavior that ultimately shape the products and services we design.

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Hannah Donovan

Sometimes You Need to Draw Animals

This is my story of going to the edge of burnout and back again. When I quit my first startup job in 2011, I did so thinking I might not be able to make anything ever again. Since then (while co-founding my own startup, heh) I’ve devoted most of my personal time to working on this as a design problem. Not just patching up the broken bits, but rethinking how I work to prevent it from happening again.

As designers and developers, burnout – and the inevitable sequel to it, maker’s block – is something we all face. It might be big, it might be small, mine was pretty big.

(There will also be drawings of animals).

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Jessica Hagy

New Zealanders explain the Internet

Well, I’m a cartoonist, so I should cartoon something, and talk about that. Hmm. What? The internet! Yes! The internet! This is a conference about just that very thing! But how? But what? It’s such a big multifaceted topic, with layers and layers, like an huge, pixelated onion.

So, while reading up on all things New Zealand-ish, and I landed on the idea of New Zealanders themselves explaining the internet. I searched for quotes by Kiwis, took them entirely out of context, and illustrated them. It’s gonna be rapid fire, bouncing from topic to topic, just like it is when we’re frolicking about online.

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Erika Hall

Beyond Measure

Site analytics. The quantified self. Big data. We can track, measure, and store more than ever before. This is naturally exciting to designers and technologists who want to make better informed decisions. But more data doesn’t necessarily create more meaning, and might even make it harder to see what matters. Human experience does not reduce to an engineering problem and what we can’t count still counts in an increasingly quantified world.

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Nelly Ben Hayoun

Crafting the impossible

Nelly Ben Hayoun is an award-winning director and experience designer working with leading scientists and engineers, to devise subversive events and experiences. She is currently working on her new mega- project which investigates the design of emergency procedures in the space Programme: Disaster Playground.

In this talk, Nelly will discuss her new project, how this and other projects came to life, not forgetting the doubts and difficulties experienced along the way. From Chernobyl to the CMS detector, she will discuss the value of “extreme” field work, an essential part of “designer training.”

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Sha Hwang

The Future Happens So Much

Let’s talk about the future. Let’s talk about how far we have to go. Let’s argue. Let’s argue about the present, about terms and termsheets, about metrics and morals.

A battle rap on startups, data, and the cultures and structures of growth.

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Liza Kindred

The Future of Commerce

Don’t look now, but shopping isn’t what it used to be. A bevy of exciting technologies have shifted power—and are even selling itself—to the customer and to grassroots marketplaces. Just like ecommerce transformed retail, concepts like me-commerce and recommerce are doing the same all over again, backed by an onslaught of new gadgets. The traditional over-the-counter, top-down relationship to the customer is under siege, creating both crisis and opportunity.

Driving this shift is the unstoppable train of globalization. The world is shrinking, and consumers worldwide are becoming savvier and more demanding. At the same time, enormous markets are opening up for the first time, and the global appetite for fashion and luxury has never been stronger. Learn about the Chinese commerce website that recently did a billion dollars in sales in one day, the exploding fashion scene in Dubai, and how the move towards increasing transparency in manufacturing can benefit brands. Retail, fashion, and technology expert Liza Kindred provides an overview of what the future of commerce will look like – and how innovative companies are shaping tomorrow’s global commerce landscape, today.

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Tom Loosemore

Institutions: An internet survival guide

Institutions matter. A healthy country needs respected democratic, legal and public service institutions. But the internet threatens such institutions just as it does most other long-established incumbents.

They can find it really hard to react to the changes in people’s lives and expectations. How can you help keep your country’s institutions fit in a digital era?

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Spoek Mathambo

Internet Culture and the South African Electronic Music Scene

How internet culture has influenced the emerging South African electronic music scene, from means of production, to distribution and promotion and the implications of the socio-economic and political state of South Africa on the vibrant cultural and artistic landscape.

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Anne Helen Petersen

What we talk about when we talk about Brangelina

Celebrity gossip gets a bad rap: it’s mindless, it’s trash, it’s misogynist, it’s singularly responsible for the death of journalism.  I’ve spent the last decade working to show that celebrity gossip is not only a way of making sense of the world, but progressive, even radical.  If you’ve ever found yourself decrying those who read celebrity gossip or excusing your own addiction, this talk will revise and sophisticate your understanding and give you a vocabulary to talk about why celebrity gossip always has — and always will — matter.

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Dan Saffer

Designing with Details

“The details are not the details. They make the design.” — Charles Eames

The difference between a good product and a great one are its details: the microinteractions that make up the small moments inside and around features. How do you turn on mute on your phone? How do you know you have a new email message? How can you change a setting? All these little moments—which are typically not on any feature list and often ignored—can change a product from one that is tolerated to one that’s beloved. This talk provides a new way of thinking about designing digital products: as a series of microinteractions that are essential to bringing personality and delight to applications and devices. We’ll delve into the structure of microinteractions—Triggers, Rules, Feedback, and Loops—and talk about why you should: Bring The Data Forward, Don’t Start From Zero, Use What is Often Overlooked, and Long Loops.

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Paula Scher

All design is social

A discussion about how the design of parks, schools, theaters, products and other environments shape people’s daily lives.

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Derek Sivers

The Meaning of Life

Ah, crap. They asked me to be the closing speaker at Webstock. What the hell could I possibly talk about that you haven’t heard from the geniuses speaking before me for two days? What could possibly keep these brilliant minds in the room for one last talk? For a great finalé, it feels like nothing less than the meaning of life would do. Yeah! That’s it! The meaning of life! I may not be great web designer, but I have figured out the meaning of life, and surprisingly, it’s not sappy at all. In fact I think my fellow Webstock nerds will really appreciate it. So there you go. Come to my closing talk, and find out the answer to the ultimate question of life in 22 minutes or less.

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Charlie Todd

Causing a Scene

Greenlight yourself.  Harnessing the power of the web to organize, produce, and distribute creative work without ever asking for permission.

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Clive Thompson

The new literacies

For centuries we mostly used one form of media to express our ideas: Text. But now we’re living in a world where everyday people communicate using media that used to be insanely expensive and industrial — like video, pictures, data, and even 3D objects and video games. So how does that change the *way* we think, and what we think *about*? How will our tools for talking evolve in the future — and how *should* they evolve? In this talk I’ll offer a whirlwind tour of 3,000 years of media, looking at what happens when we take broadcast technologies and turn them into modes of talking to our friends, society, and ourselves.

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Aarron Walter

Connected UX

Though design research has become common practice at product companies, it often produces insights that slip into the hazy distance as documents get lost on a hard drive, or ignored by someone in a different department. Worse still, efforts get duplicated when communication breaks down.

UX teams have design research down to a science, but few have discovered a way to connect qualitative and quantitative data, and long histories of research into a central clearinghouse that can be shared, searched, and maintained by different teams. Open access to information strengthens the connections between teams, and supports a general culture of inquiry. In this talk, Aarron will share practical methods to get off the research treadmill and get started building connections between data and teams.

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