It's the day after LIFT finished, and I'm sitting in a Starbucks in Geneva, catching up with some work stuff and generally reflecting.
The conference has been fantastic. I think it's been the best conference I've ever attended; normally when I go to things like this, they're much more commercially biased: less thought-provoking and more sales pitch-y. With LIFT, there were 6 talks which I thought were absolutely excellent, and another 4 which were good. Normally I find 1 or 2 which enthuse me, so LIFT's strike rate is very high.
In particular I have to point to Jan-Christoph Zoels (who I was fortunate enough to get to chat to on the way to the Fondue), Adam Greenfield (who it was great to meet), Jan Chipchase and Fabien Girardin. If you get the chance to see any of these guys speak, I urge you to do so.
Other thoughts on the event? It was very metaphor-heavy; perhaps it's a consequence of the type of event I normally go to, or my lack of any formal design background, but I find it difficult to think in the softer terms that metaphor demands. Ben Cerveny's talk is still making my head spin (though I don't think this is an unusual reaction, judging from conversations with others): I'm not sure if I "get it" yet.
I also found there was a fair amount of the bleeding obvious and jargon in some of the talks I found less rewarding. I'm developing an aversion to the word "innovation" right now. It seems to be bandied around like the word "interactive" has been in the last 5-10 years: as something which is a priori A Good Thing, and is used to sprinkle magic pixie dust on otherwise bland ideas.
And I have to say that some of the talks - particularly the open stage ones and the panel discussions - got a bit salesy (though admittedly, some of the products being sold looked quite interesting); this generated ire on the backchannel and detracted from the exploratory feel of the event a little, I felt. That said, unless you're paying speakers to talk, I'm not sure how you avoid this. I know that if I was up there I'd be talking about some of the worthy stuff FP have been doing recently, but with one eye on how the company was being presented.
And on the subject of the backchannel... it was the first time I'd used one of these successfully during a conference, and a good and bad experience. It was interesting to chat to folks about what was being said whilst it was being said, but between IRC, blogging, and twitter, it was all definitely a distraction. Not necessarily an addiction (hey, I could stop any time!) mind...
But I don't want to end on a negative note. It was a fantastic event and I'm already looking forward to going again next year. Is there more stuff like this out there, anyone?