I attended my very first un-conference today. The setup is as follows: a whole bunch of like-minded people show up (in this case, mostly programmers), and pitch ideas for sessions which then go up on a huge board, only to get constantly rearranged according to space constraints and interest. Fueled by free lattes and food, attendees contribute to every session by either leading it or helping in the discussions.
I got up at a crazy hour and drove to Raleigh to help with name tag creation and the handing out of t-shirts before the pitches and sessions started.
The first session I attended was on learning to juggle. No really, actual juggling! I got the hang of it (even after a cup of coffee and a vanilla latte! caffeine! whee!) just in time to move on to a session on GTD and then a discussion on setting up a start-up company, which turned out to be a little less useful for me. After lunch I attended two talks: the dangers of too much technology (a lesson from the Luddites) and a discussion of open source web tools.
Although (and perhaps, because) I was surrounded by folks who were way more technically inclined than I am, I certainly learned a few things about what’s current and what I need to learn to further my career in web design. And a few people even suggested I pitch a talk on working with designers… maybe next year. :)