Favourite Time of the Year

This article takes a look at our involvement at Web Directions South 2014 and why it's Australia's best web industry event.
Published on Jan 5 2015 by Jason Soultan

As someone in the web industry my favourite time of the year is around October/November. Why you ask? Simple. It’s Web Directions season! 

For those of you who don’t know what Web Directions South is, it’s probably the best web industry conference in this country and as the slogan states, it’s “Where Australia’s web & digital minds meet”. 

 WebDirection

As a company Director and Digital Creative I find it great being able to rub shoulders with my contemporary’s. It’s a great opportunity to find out what everyone else is up to, how they do it, what they know and more importantly it helps solidify that what we are doing at Soul Digital is instep with trends and other agencies around the world.

This year was actually my 5th time at Web Directions out of 6 (only missing due to the birth of my daughter) and every year I have attended as an every day punter.  This year was different, this year Soul Digital were part of the conference as a Premium Partners of SilverStripe.

Being a part of the SilverStripe Partners Roadshow allowed us to show off the capabilities of the platform and also allowed us to show the digital world our wares and capabilities.

We had a small stand at the conference and managed to engage with other like-minded people as well as some prospective clients.

Standing alongside some other great partners like Strip The Web (New Zealand), Internetrix (Wollongong) and Servian (Sydney/Melbourne) it was easy for us to spread the good word about SilverStripe.

During the conference SilverStripe held a competition for the ‘best site’ developed by a partners at the conference and also a scavenger hunt competition. 

Our entry this year was a project we worked on throughout the year was the web application we developed called RookieMe. It was one of our biggest projects for 2014 and was definitely the most challenging and rewarding.

RookieMe is an innovative online training tool that helps you determine & manage your athletic ability and has gained nation wide attention by major sporting competitions like the AFL and NRL. 

We received some great feedback and impressed many of the conference goers over the two days and enabled us to demonstrate what could be achieved with an innovative and enthusiastic team on the SilverStripe framework.

We were up against some very stiff competition from the other partners and in the end Internetrix pipped us at the post. From what we have been told, there was only 5 votes in it. Next year!

Aside from our involvement at the conference, there were some other great highlights and speakers over the 2 days.

One of the main highlights was the coffee. Also a feature at Web Directions the coffee stand is always given a good workout (especially in the morning). This year the coffee was hand crafted by Sample Coffee Co. I have to thank them for keeping me on my toes over the two days. I lost count of how many cold coffees I polished off. Mmmm good times! 

Next on the list of cool things was the Tesla Model S electric car. This thing is amazing and is described as “the world’s first premium sedan to be built from the ground up as an electric vehicle”.  Do yourself a favour and check it out http://www.teslamotors.com/

tesla1

tesla2

While coffee and cars are important, the main highlights were reserved for the stage. The line up of speakers was impressive and this year saw the likes of Tobias Revell  (@tobias_revell), Dan Hon(@hondanhon), Johnny Mack (@jnymck) and Douglas Bowman (@stop) to name a few. These guys have worked for some of the most influential companies of our times. Google, Twitter, Facebook, Nike, Fitbit etc.

http://www.webdirections.org/wds14/#speakers

However, by far my personal favourite was Scott Thomas (@simplescott). Scott is the founder of the http://thenounproject.com/ and the genius behind the Obama Campaign. In fact I have no doubt that Scott’s role as Design Director played a big role in Barak Obama being voted into the WhiteHouse. 

obama 2008 logo

His talk “Doing.Simple.Honest.Work” was inspiring and answered a lot of questions and processes that we had been struggling with. Not only did his talk assist in changing our approach and internal process to understanding our clients brands and needs better, but being able to spend a little time with him post conference also made me want to be a better Creative Director.

Gilmore Davidson’s 4 word review of Scott’s talk is spot on. “Understand Now; Design Later”. Check out all of his 4 word reviews form the conference here.

All in all it was a great couple of days personally and professionally and has made an impact on our business and how Soul Digital will attack 2015.

Can’t wait for the 2015 instalment.

Header Image Courtesy of: Xavier Ho - http://jumptoglide.com/