2013 IA Summit in Review

Today I return to the office after an extended weekend in Baltimore for the 2013 IA Summit. In spite of the expected lag from a weekend of discussing IA and catching up with friends, I want to capture some of my thoughts from the week, while still fresh.


Overall Reactions

This was an amazing Summit. Thank you to Kevin, Crystal, and Giles as well as the entire volunteer committee for putting on a great show. Having been involved with organizing the conference in 2012 , I know what goes into an event like this and the dedication shows through.

A special thank you to everyone who attended The F Word…Fail and provided any feedback throughout my preparation and presentation.

The Talks

Never have I experienced a conference with so many talks I wish I could go to during the same time. Thankfully, IA Summit will be provided podcasts to all the talks so I will be able to catch up on what I missed.


The People

Arguably the main reason I look forward to this conference. The IA Summit is the reason I love our community. This is one of the most open, genuine gatherings of IAs, designers (etc) that I have been to and it never ceases to amaze me how open and willing folks are to lend a helping hand. To old friends, it’s great as always to catch up and run our version of shenanigans. To new friends, and first timers, it’s great getting to know new personalities in the field. Please don’t let this be a one-time deal. And to those who I haven’t yet met but we communicate through twitter and the back-channel, I hope to raise a glass with you next time.


Personal Musings

As I mentioned above, I had the opportunity to present at the conference. This was a humbling and daunting experience. Overall, I am very happy with my execution of the talk. That isn’t to say the feedback I received didn’t hit home and there are a lot of areas I hope to grow. Some of the key takeaways I have (and I’m still digesting them) are:


  • Mon-o-tone, I need to modulate my pitch when I present

  • Get off book, I know my content, I need to connect more with the audience

  • “What about a workshop?” This is something I want to explore but am not set on yet.

  • “It sounded like you gave two different talks” The second half of my presentation focussed more on stories but didn’t tie it back to the reframing of failure

  • “Where is shame on this?” Shame is a big part of failure but I didn’t bring that out enough

  • Support groups, the cycle of shame and abstracting the problem and the solution, and plenty more for me to think, expand and grow from.


I share these, not to say I have messed up, but that I have experienced new lessons. I want to publish these takeaways so that I can be accountable for them (taking a cue from Jonah Lehrer) and so that, if anyone has the interest, to grow together from them. This is by no means an inclusive list of feedback or takeaways, but it’s a start.


Thank you everyone for your support. For helping organize the conference or simply attending and being part of what makes me love being a designer in this community.

See you all in San Diego if not before, 

David Farkas

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