Live Music, Beer, and a little bit of Web Development!

#heweb2011 was an intense conference held in the midst of lots of live music and beer in Austin, TX. We had a fast-paced schedule sure to make even the most seasoned veteran’s head explode! Monday, 7 sessions and a keynote during lunch. Tuesday, 5 sessions and a keynote during lunch. Wednesday, you get the opportunity to view 2 of the “best of” tracks from all the sessions.

Below is a list of the sessions I attended with a link to the original description on the conference site. At the bottom, I’ve highlighted my favorite of all the sessions.

Monday, October 24th

Tuesday, October 25th

Wednesday, October 26th

My Favorite Session

What Colleges Can Learn From The Insane Clown Posse

This session was fantastic! I got lucky enough to catch it on Wednesday as a repeat session. It was said there were 4 lessons to take away:

  1. Know exactly who you are (as a university), and never change anything about it
    • Create content/media for your niche
  2. Create an engaging experience for your audience
  3. Don’t be afraid to take risks
    • People are going to be upset about bold changes…deal with it. This basically means that not everyone (faculty, staff, alumni) will agree with what we are doing, but it’s not for them! It’s for the students
  4. Ask “why not?”
    • When people tell you no on something, ask why not. Find out what their reasoning is and try to figure a way around it. She even suggested going around that person if you can’t get anywhere with them and try someone else (if at all possible)

The speaker encouraged everyone to go back and not be a victim; find the time whether at home or during work to finish that one project that you personally want to see out there. You, as the web professional, have to stay engaged to make engaging material for the students. And keep learning…once you stop learning, you start to lose some of those creative juices.

I’m so glad that we are given this great opportunity to get off campus and network with other higher ed web professionals. It’s amazing how we all have the same problems, whether political or technological. We are not alone in this journey to make the web better. In conclusion, if you are a higher ed web professional and on the fence about whether to attend this conference, don’t think about it any longer; just do it already! You’ll thank me later.

See you all next year in Milwaukee!

HighEdWeb 2011, here we come!

HighEdWebBoy am I ready for some warmer weather! Just in time for HighEdWeb 2011, hosted in beautiful Austin, TX. Ronnie, Mario, and myself will be making the trip down south on Sunday and coming back Wednesday. And darn the bad luck, we’ll be there the same time as Austin Beek Week.

I’m hoping to post notes from my sessions online during the conference, so sit tight and watch for some great information to flow online. Hopefully Ronnie and Mario hop on the bandwagon too!

You can follow all the fun details of the conference from the twitter hash tag: #heweb11.


How To: Display Comment Author Photo in WordPress

While browsing this site, you may have noticed in the comments that some people have photos and some don’t. Well, WordPress uses a nifty service called Gravatar that allows you to create an account and setup photos to be used in comments on various sites.

It allows you to enter multiple email addresses and set a different photo for each email (as seen below). All of this happens automatically with WordPress once you’ve created your gravatar account. You might have to wait a few minutes for it to become active.

So if you don’t want to be left in the dust as a silhouette, I’d suggest creating your own account.

Steve Jobs 1955-2011

“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
-Steve Jobs

The universe of design, innovation and creativity lost one of its principal members this week, Steve Jobs. Simple excellence. That was the design philosophy behind Jobs leadership at Apple. He didn’t hire computer programmers or application developers. He hired artists, musicians, zoologist and writers, who built computers. He hired the crazy ones, the ones with a passion for what they do but moreover a passion for what they create. He hired the misfits.

Jobs expected excellence. He put creative people in an innovative environment and moved the nonsense of running a business out of the way. He inspired the misfits to listen to their intuition, not focus groups. He cultivated creativity. The results were nothing short of breakthrough. He and his team at Apple changed the way we listen, learn, create and collaborate. This is his legacy.

What is yours? What is your design philosophy, your mantra, your principle to live by? How or for what do you want to be remembered? What have you created today? What will you create tomorrow? I challenge each of us to find our inner misfit, our crazy idea. Then make it happen. Don’t wait for permission. Who are you really? Listen for your inner inspiration, then act. Run. Go make trouble. Jump dead center into the square hole. The early death of Steve Jobs reminds us, time is short. What are you waiting for?

Go build your legacy.