Brendan Dawes
Analogue + Digital

That Was The Week That Was — 31st March 2019

There seemed to be much debate this week about whether speaking at conferences is a waste of time or not. I watched from the sidelines as people gave their opinions about the value of speaking at events. Eventually I tweeted that for me at least my career has been predicated on the generosity of others, many of whom I've met at conferences, many of whom I still call friends. That tweet seemed to resonate with quite a few. I think really we're talking about how you perceive value. I know the person who originally posted the idea of it all being a waste of time was making that judgement based on followers or subscribers. I've never seen that as a valid metric. I myself have had occasion to be tweeted by accounts with upwards of a million followers and let me tell you I had no more engagement than if an account had a few hundred. It's quantity over quality. For me a better metric is the quality of engagement, especially offline.

Part-way through the week I had cause to think about exactly how I want to be perceived with regards to the work that I do. I had an email over the weekend from a conference I'll be speaking at later in the year, asking if I wouldn't mind being put into the product track as they were having issues with the scheduling of the digital track. At the time as I was watching Antiques Roadshow so maybe I was lulled into a relaxed Sunday night state, but I replied and said "yeah sure no problem." Then over the next day or so it played on my mind. I'm not a product designer. My latest work is very much in the digital space, and whilst yes I do have some of my own products that I sell, I think it would be confusing for an audience to turn up to a product orientated track and see me spouting about digital things. So I penned an email saying as much and if it can't work in digital then let's just leave it for another year when I can better fit into the programme. They very kindly wrote back and said they would make it work somehow in digital. The lesson here is to stand-up for what you represent, who you are and try to be as focussed as possible in your offering, which is often easier said than done especially in this cross-discipline world.

I've been continuing to work on Project X in TouchDesigner and I'm really starting to get used to working in this powerful piece of software. I think it's important to write things down as you learn them, rather than later on. To this end, I did my first ever screencast on my blog, talking about how I created a nice simple solution for fading music in and out in TouchDesigner. Largely I wrote this for myself so if later down the line I forget, I can refer to this rough little screencast. It's interesting to note that I needed to do a blog post in this way because TouchDesigner is such a visual medium and it's hard to show this stuff in a textual form. To make the screencast I used Screenflick — a really simple yet useful little Mac app to make such screencasts, that can record the audio at the same time as the microphone.

The week ended with my most recent work being tweeted by one of my design heroes — John Maeda. This made me very happy.