Steve Portigal had a hard time getting through the spam patrol so I'm going to post his comments on my latest outburst. Of course, he has a decent point. Core77 is running a great thread on the debate.
Portigal-- "Bold statement, Bruce, and thanks for making it. I appreciate taking
the "risk" to express a strongly critical opinion.
Depending on the venue, one conversation need not preclude the other.
I do agree that getting people together physically (to confer, as it
were) is expensive in every sense of the word and those times need to
be used for something else.
As an aside, I'm fairly passionate about the types of conference
experiences that can be created about issues like design, business,
and research with users. I've written my fall experiences up in a
But anyway, how do we stop the navel-gazing that seems to dominate a
few professions - the software design people (be it IA or UX or
whatever), the applied anthropologists? I find it even more
paralyzing than the design/innovation discussion.
Personally, I don't have a stake in trying to solve the unsolvable,
but sometimes the journey can be kind of interesting.
Our new discussion board on Core77 -
http://boards.core77.com/viewforum.php?f=32 - is sort of interesting
to watch - perhaps even from a slightly anthropological point of view
to see how troubled the conversation is - establishing
common language, agreeing on success or other metrics, etc.
I think the navel-gazing on the board linked above is pretty
stimulating, as long as you don't try to reach a resolution but
wallow in a variety of perspectives.
And again, that conversation takes place in addition to many others
(as you say) that are crucial. Not instead."
OK Steve. I hear you.