IASummit epilogue

Just attended my first IA Summit in Memphis, TN, where I reconnected with colleagues from way back (e.g. Peterme) and met some new ones, like Whitney Hess, Chris Fahey and Sarah Rice, my co-panelists at our talk “The Courage to Quit. Starting, growing and maintaining your own UX business.”Small audience (not surprising for a Sunday morning), but a good conversation with some interesting questions. Questions asked ranged from should I be distributing printed marketing materials, what are the pros & cons of hourly vs. fixed fee, what does it take to go solo and have we ever seen people who’ve decided to back to working fulltime. I think if we were to do a similar panel again, I would love to get someone on the panel who hires consultants.

Memorable talks…

Eric Reiss‘  “A House Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand” is his analysis of 10 yrs of IASummits, his correlation between plummeting conference attendance and divisive attitudes/behaviors amongst the IAI leadership, opinions about why factions broke off to form other groups, and a passionate call to action for the group to be more inclusive in order to survive.

Whitney Hess‘ incredibly brave, motivational talk “Evangelizing Yourself,” an inspiring reminder on why we all need to speak up for the user experience practice to survive (and to make a living). Lesson learned: Get out there–don’t be afraid to write, blog, twitter, LinkedIn, ask people out for coffee, read a lot to stay informed and the dreaded “network.” I’ve always associated these behaviors with self-promotion, self-aggrandizement, braggadocio, but this talk made me realize that you don’t have to change who you are at your core, but you can use these tools to ensure that you’re top-of-mind when others need a service. Touche, Whitney!

Kate Rutter’s “Lessons from the Slime Mold,” where she creatively used the metaphor of the adaptable slime mold to encourage us to be more sensing about each other and the organizations in which we work in order to progress in our field.

Oh, and of course the ducks at the Peabody Hotel put on quite a show!



  1. Good epilog. And thanks for the mention. A not-so-minor minor correction; I was not taking potshots directly at the IAI or IxDA, but rather at those thought leaders who insist on taking a narrow, secular view that is ultimately devisive. Here are the bullets from one of my key slides, “IA vs. IxD”

    – Fighting over differences
    – Ignoring common ground
    – Squabbling over definitions
    – Competing for membership
    – Diluting the leadership base

    Question: can you practice either without understanding both?

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