remix, thanks and glass beads

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On the 6th of August, the Atlanta community put on a conference called ReMIX South based loosely on the aspirations of the MIX conference held each year in Las Vegas to highlight new technology, web design and other stuff.

Here are some quick statistics – we had roughly 438 attendees at ReMIX this year.  We also had 23 speakers and lots of sponsors onsite.

ReMIX garnered an estimated 2000 tweets – estimated because our archive programs capped out at 1500.  ReMIX apparently managed to trend nationally on August 6th on Twitter.

We tried our best to make the conference primarily about the attendees, the speakers and the sponsors.

Now that the event is over, however, I would like to take a moment to thank the people who put the conference together in roughly six weeks.

The main organizers were Cliff Jacobson, Sean Gerety, Dennis Estanislao, Farhan Rabbi, and Wells Caughey.

In addition, we had great logistical help from Corey Schuman, Linda Gerety, Ted Jacobson and Glen Gordon as the event unfolded and in the post-event period.

Additional help was provided by Joel Johnson, Ginny Caughey, Jonathan Marbutt and Shawn Wildermuth during the phone garage and also by Erin Gerety, Sophia Ashley, Paul Ashley, and Sharesh Vadali who put the registration packets together the night before ReMIX.

I want to highlight some of the skills and labor the organizers put towards the event.  They all did more than I can possibly recall, but certain things stand out.

Cliff Jacobson took care of our finances, as well as all the negotiating with the hotel, logistical planning with the hotel and A/V.  It was a lot and we basically just piled more responsibilities on him as the event approached since he never seemed to say no.  In short, the event never would have happened without his organizational skills.  In the post-event period, Cliff has also taken on the editing of our video footage and – as far as we can tell – has only had 3 hours of sleep a night for several weeks.

Sean Gerety used his persuasive powers to bring together an amazing UX track, organize the speaker dinner, and smooth over the bumps.  Sean is one of the best connected people in the Microsoft UX community and we used his connections for all they were worth.

Dennis Estanislao designed and maintained our website, which was the anchor for the event and, until the day of the event itself, perhaps the only proof that ReMIX South was actually happening.  As many people have learned in the past, a good website is the backbone of a good conference and keeping it up to date and accurate is a fulltime job.

Farhan Rabbi was essential to making this a true cross-discipline and bi-partisan event.  Throwing a conference that is attractive to both microsoft as well as non-microsoft people, attractive to both CRUX and developers, is no easy task.  Putting the lie to Kipling’s statement that never the twain shall meet, Farhan made sure that ReMIX was both ecumenical and catholic while at the same time gathering all the local talent for the amazing HTML5 track.

Wells Caughey threw himself into doing whatever was needed to get us over the finish line.  In addition to pulling together the mobile track (admittedly the most difficult of the tracks to plan and find speakers for) he also managed our commons area.

Linda Gerety handled the registration for us, staying up late the night before to prepare and manning the tables the whole day.  Corey Schuman manned the registration tables, took photos of the event, and is helping to get the recordings we managed to capture of the talks up for streaming.  Both Linda and Corey did airport runs for us to pick up speakers. Also thanks to Zach Pousman for the after party at Eclipse di Luna and the celebration of the world wide web’s 20th anniversary.  Thanks also to Kristina McInerny who just started helping us out spontaneously as well as Dave Ward and Ben Von Handorf for building phone apps for reMIX.

The thanks they receive for all this work is pretty much just some glass beads and a pat on the back.  If you see them around and happen to have enjoyed the remix experience, please let them know.

Glass beads also play a peripheral role in the organization of ReMIX.  The Glass Bead Game is the title of Nobel Laureate Hermann Hesse’s 1943 book about an intellectual game of the future based on montage and pastiche – basically putting dissimilar things side-by-side and seeing what connections players can make between them. 

This is what we attempted to do at ReMIX.  We combined top local and national speakers presenting on a variety of technologies from both the Microsoft and non-Microsoft worlds, covering UX, design and development.  It was curated, of course – we tried to be careful to put things together we thought would work well, but still … We put all these different communities together, crossed our fingers, and waited to see what would happen.

Our thanks go out to the attendees, the speakers and the sponsors for making our version of the Glass Bead Game a great success.

We’ll be updating the www.remixsouth.com website with links to slide decks, photos and video recordings over the next weeks.  Check in frequently to get the latest changes.

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