Paul Hagan presenting at DareConf 2013
“I don’t know why I bother. You guys just don’t get it.”
I never said it to their faces, but I might as well have done. I was a web developer for a small design agency who did print work: annual reports, campaigns, branding. They made good money by competing on price for design and marking up production, where clients didn’t notice it. Now they wanted to sell web design in the same way, and the internet was undermining their business model.
They never seemed to listen to me enough. I thought they were dinosaurs. Why couldn’t they see the right way to do things? Why were they always promising the world in pitches? And why did they keep telling me my “communication style” was a problem? (That seemed like an excuse to reject my obviously superior ideas.)
It’s a month since I organised the first Dare Conference about people skills for digital workers (videos, photos, write-ups). As I tweeted at the time, I’ve never made anything I’m as proud of. Although I lost a large amount of money on the event (backstory), most of our choices paid off:
- People were moved by the talks, saying they’d never seen this level of honesty on stage.
- People said they’d never felt this comfortable at a conference nor met so many people they want to stay in touch with.
- Online we had several thousand livestream views and 75k photo views.
- Some people said #dareconf changed their lives.
Last month I had the pleasure of presenting at Webdagene in Oslo. It’s Norway’s leading web and digital conference, organised by Netlife Research, a remarkable company.
It’s a week after Dare Conference, and I’m still feeling overwhelmed. Three days, 28 speakers, 100 attendees, 8 countries. The strap line is, “people skills for digital workers.” We talked about change, culture, courage, vulnerability, failure, compassion, success… and people were honest in a way I’ve never seen before. #dareconf changed people:
And it can change you too. We’re posting video of the entire event—main stage talks in HD video, breakout stage talks as audio and slides—and we’re asking you to donate £20 to recoup costs so we can return next year. (So far we’ve posted 5 talks from day 1, over 3 hours of content. More soon.)
You can help us make this community sustainable by spreading the word: blog about it, email your friends and colleagues, share the link on social media. And let me know how you respond to the videos. Thank you.
The Dare Conference is about people skills for digital workers. We still have tickets available, and even if you can’t make it, you can take part in the #dareconf fringe events.
In Episode 21 of the Together London Podcast, I talk to Livia Labate about building a design practice in organizations.
Follow Livia on twitter @livlab.
In Episode 20 of the Together London Podcast, I talk to Felicia Pride about transmedia storytelling, collaboration, and people skills.
Check out Felicia’s website, her company Pride Collaborative, and follow her on twitter @feliciapride.
Over recent weeks I’ve interviewed several speakers at the upcoming Dare Conference—people skills for digital workers—for my podcast. I asked each of them how people would benefit from the event.
In Episode 19 of the Together London Podcast, I talk to Dave Gray about change, complexity, and culture.
Check out Dave’s website, his upcoming Dare Conference keynote, and follow him on twitter @davegray.
As I stumbled towards progress with the Dare Conference (just five weeks to go!), I asked many friends for feedback, which was both uncomfortable and rewarding. The feedback that I found most difficult to take—versions of, “here’s what isn’t working”—was the most helpful for figuring out what to do next. After I’d tried several convoluted revisions, Rachel McAlpine suggested the strap line, “people skills for digital workers,” which captures the spirit of the event perfectly. We’re now in a better place to convince people to come–I’m looking at you–by explaining how developing people skills will help us get better outcomes. Here’s what I learned from the process, including answers to common questions. Thanks to everyone who gave me feedback: you rock.