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Idealog—in the ideas business

The Webstock flock

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Photograph by Ian Robertson

The world’s greatest little web conference is back

The lineup at the inaugural Webstock conference in May 2006 was a remarkable list of web industry luminaries from Enzed and elsewhere, and by all accounts it went off like clockwork. The organising team led by Mike Brown and Natasha Hall took a deserved break in 2007, but in February the world’s greatest little web conference is back.

It looks like it’s here to stay. Hall and Brown still have their day jobs (she’s the user advocate at Trade Me; he’s a director of Wellington’s Signify) but, along with the other organisers, they’ve now set up Webstock as a company. It’s not a money-making venture, says Brown, but putting the event on a commercial footing is the best way to ensure its continued success. “It gives us the stability and flexibility that we need.”

The stellar speaking list is back, too, including bigwigs from Apple, Yahoo and Flickr. We’re looking forward to hearing from Liz Danzico and Jason Santa Maria of the famous Happy Cog studios, developer Simon Willison, Cork’d founder Dan Cederholm and the return of interaction designer Kelly Goto. Brown nominates Apple people manager and surfer Michael Lopp (“He writes really well, he’s funny, he’s knowledgeable”) and Kathy Sierra, arguably the highlight of the 2006 event. The local contingent stacks up well too, including technologist and networker Nat Torkington and the no-introductions-needed Russell Brown and Sam Morgan. (The full list is at the Webstock website.)

So why does Webstock work so well in Wellington? Simple, says Brown. “There’s a good feeling between developers, designers, government and entrepreneurial startups. It’s about geography and community.”

Originally published in Idealog #13, page 24

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