Sam Brown

DIBI Conference - My experience graph

The inaugural DIBI Conference kicked off on Wednesday 28th of April 2010, hosted at The Sage Gateshead by Newcastle and was a split conference for both designers and developers. Organised by Codeworks and brought to you in no small part by Gavin Elliott, it was the first big web conference this far north since Edinburgh’s infamous Highland Fling’s of 2007 & 2008.

Dibi Conference

DIBI: Design It, Build It was an interesting concept bringing both developers and designers together in one location for a two-track conference that you could freely roam between. I was particularly interested in most of the design side of the conference but hear the development side was just as good.

I am not going to go too in-depth on individual speakers talks, you will be happy to know they will be available to watch online in a few weeks time if you couldn’t make the event or the online broadcast. I have yet to find out how successful that particular option was, hopefully we do soon.

Adii talked about how design should be a key focus of any startup, it was an interesting start to the day and is definitely something I am a firm believer in. Adii managed to answer some tough questions on commoditising great design and personal branding, he handled these well.

Sarah spoke honestly about the principles of iPhone UI design the struggles designers can face and managed to cover a good array of tips in a short amount of time.

Tim blasted through his 2020: A Design Odyssey discussion and emphasised the need for designers to continue evolving else you’ll turn into lazy monkeys. Always interesting to hear Tim speak and the extended Q&A session was a refreshing take that I hope we see at more events soon.

Simon spoke in depth about the theory behind design and how we should be bringing these offline thoughts into our online work. There was a wealth of information in Simon’s talk and some great book recommendations to boot.

Dan presented us with a unique and interesting way to handle usability testing that is so simple and effective. In-browser prototyping and fast iteration during testing sessions looks like it might be a thing of the future.

Andy was last to speak and is always a treat to hear, he spoke about working with the most modern and interesting CSS techniques and designing from the top down with best browsers first. Always inspirational and Andy talks about everything I very firmly believe in.

Gowalla vs Foursquare

Gowalla vs Foursquare

Some Highlights:

  • Pre-party Venue and general good times.
  • Gowalla vs Foursquare banter with Tim! ;)
  • Location – The Sage was a great conference venue.
  • Field Notes on Entry, Red Bull’s at the Afternoon Break.
  • All of the Design side Speakers.
  • Catching up with friends and new faces.


  • Lunch – I can’t imagine cooking for 325 people is easy.
  • Sponsored Talks – Always a Catch 22.
  • After Party – More on this below.

The After Parties at all web conferences suffer from the same problems, a small and crowded venue, too dark and always with music that is way too loud. It’s been an inherent problem for me across the board, FOWD, dConstruct, Build & now DIBI. I love a party as much as the next person but after a super successful event I want to then be able to talk with people and not have to yell in their ears. Hopefully better locations can be sought after at future events.

To wrap up, DIBI was a super successful and very enjoyable event from start to finish. Gavin and the Codeworks team really nailed their first conference and I can say without any hesitation that this will very likely be a conference worth attending again next year.

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JohnONolan 30 April 2010, 09:41 #1

Excellent roundup mate, you pretty much echoed all of my own thoughts! Was a fantastic 3 days all-in-all :)

Simon Young 30 April 2010, 09:42 #2

Hey Sam

Good to meet you very briefly at the after party (where you probably couldn’t hear me) – interesting post and I liked the infographic. Just wondering is that your view of how you ranked the talks in terms of how good you thought they were, relevant to you or perhaps another criteria?

Interested as I saw the talks quite differently – I’m still writing up the blog post but was keen to understand how you had ranked them :-)


Alex Blundell 30 April 2010, 11:45 #3

Ditto, great roundup Sam! Really wish I had made this event! Especially as the Mrs booked our holiday over FOWD!

Maybe next time eh!

Rick Nunn 30 April 2010, 14:12 #4

It looks like it was a great conference, shame it was at such an inconvenient time for me (workwise) but based on all the good things I have been hearing about it, I will be buying a ticket for next years show straight away!

Gavin Elliott 1 May 2010, 00:45 #5

Sam thank you so much for making it to DIBI. Thanks also for putting together the experience graph, needless to say we need everyone’s feedback to make DIBI another fantastic experience whilst ironing out the niggles in between. It was amazing to see the support that DIBI was given on the day and has continued to be given since.

Thanks Sam and take care.


Sean Hood 1 May 2010, 03:43 #6

Great summary of DIBI, it was also quite nice to meet you.

Christopher de Beer 4 May 2010, 01:04 #7

Great post man,

as simple as that infographic is – its awesome. really dig it.
Nice summary of DiBi, and was great to have met all you guys.


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Sam Brown co-founded Iterate, and was previously VP of Design at Foursquare. Based in NYC.