November 17, 2013

Looking Forward to TEDC13

I’m currently sitting in the airport. My flight’s been delayed three times already and I’m set to depart two and a half hours later than intended. Where am I headed? To Boston, and I cannot wait to get the hell out of this airport and land at Logan.

I’m flying in to join the rest of the Litmus team for The Email Design Conference 2013 - Boston Edition. Since I have the time, I thought I would write up some thoughts on attending the conference and hopes for what I want to get out of it.

The Email Design Conference

If you don’t already know about it, The Email Design Conference (or #TEDC13) is the world’s first conference devoted to the art and craft of email design and marketing. I know, there are a few conferences about email out there. While they are great, they are usually geared towards traditional marketers and driven by company sales agendas. #TEDC13 is the first conference driven by a real love of email design. It’s a conference by, about, and for the email design community. I love email and have previously expressed my thoughts on why the development of a community around email design is important. Litmus is making that happen (and I get to help).

There is an amazing group of speakers assembling to share their collective knowledge on email design and make us all smarter. I am excited to hear what each of them has to say, but I have to admit that there are a few talks in particular that I’m getting geeked up for.

My weakness when it comes to email marketing is data. I’m glad to admit it. I, traditionally, have not paid as close attention to data and data-driven decisions when it comes to email. But, I’m eager to learn. I’ll be picking up a copy of MailChimp Chief Data Scientist John Foreman’s new book, Data Smart, while I’m in Boston. I plan on devouring it. More importantly, I’m greatly anticipating a discussion on data for designers from ExactTarget’s Kristina Huffman and Schuyler Wareham. I love learning and growing my skills and I’m sure their talk will be a huge kick in the ass for me.

I’m also addicted to hearing about other designers’ processes. I’m constantly flirting with new tools and workflows, so I start salivating any time designers talk about theirs. There’s a cool panel on optimizing your email workflow that sounds right up my alley. What’s more, it involves some real heavy-weights in the field - Brian Graves from DEG, Keith Frankel from HubSpot, and Dan Murphy from Netted. If anyone has insights into email workflow, it’s these guys.

Finally, my love for Elliot Ross is no secret. I’ve heard amazing things about his presentation from those who attended #TEDC13 in San Francisco and London. I’m giddy with excitement about getting to see his talk in person.

Apart from all of the talks, I’m even more excited to meet all of the attendees. Email design is, until recently, a quiet profession - people working in the field haven’t had a lot of opportunity to get together and talk shop, make some connections. #TEDC13 is my first opportunity to get to meet and know people who really share my passions. It will be amazing getting to know attendees and speakers alike.

The most important thing I plan on getting out of #TEDC13 is feedback and input from everyone there about the state of the email design community. Litmus is attempting something huge - to build a community of interesting, intelligent, and helpful people around something most designers deride as a necessary evil: email design. It’s a bold goal, but one I think is attainable. There are some amazingly intelligent people behind this initiative (especially this one) and I’m lucky enough to join them as the Community Manager. But we can’t build this community alone - which is why I want to spend a lot of time interacting with the attendees of #TEDC13 to get their insight into what they want to see from a community site. And after #TEDC13 wraps up, I look forward to continuing the conversation with everyone and building a community from which we can all benefit.

My flight literally just pulled up, so I’m going to post this and get ready for boarding. I can’t wait to get out to Boston and see everyone at #TEDC13!

My Flight