Conference recap

I’ve had the pleasure of attending a fair number of events in the past few weeks, and now that I’ve finally returned home (I’ve only been home for 1 week out of the past 8), I thought I would post a very brief recap.

I began at the end of September running a one day workshop on migrating to AS3 in Toronto. Despite the preparation being slightly more rushed than I would have liked (due to my puppy breaking his leg), I think it went really well. I crammed a ton of content into one day (over 160 slides), but managed to cover everything I set out to do (basically everything new in AS3). FitC/RMI recorded the full presentation, and we should be offering a DVD with the video and all session notes in the near future – let me know if you’d like to be informed when it is available.

The day after the workshop, I joined the onAIR bus tour and gave a session called AIRBorn, where I discussed the market opportunities I see with Adobe AIR, and looked at some of the projects we’ve built to address them. From Toronto we continued to Minneapolis, and then had a final event in Chicago. The tour was a ton of fun. The venues were awesome (particularly in Minneapolis), and the attendees were great – I had some great conversations at the events. Played a lot of video games, ate too many cheese curds (welcome to Wisconsin), and played a few jokes – I think Mike Chambers is still recovering from the one in Chicago.

After the final onAIR event, I jumped right into MAX North America, where I presented two sessions. The first was on building AIR applications with FlashCS3, which I presented twice, and which was a nice combination of some of the content I put together for the onAIR tour, and a getting started guide. The other was an “inspire” track session titled “Fifty reasons AS3 Rocks”. MAX is a huge, corporate conference. It’s not nearly as much fun as smaller, more intimate events, but it is a great conference to learn new things. I went to a few interesting sessions, enjoyed seeing some of the new technologies Adobe is releasing (like Thermo), and had a pretty good time at the conference party. I also got to see my ugly mug projected onto giant 60′ screens in front of 4000 people. I really have to say, Ted Patrick has done an absolutely phenomenal job of making MAX a better, friendlier conference for both attendees and speakers. I had sworn I would never speak at another MAX until Ted took over. Kudos! My main complaints would be that there were too many simultaneous tracks, the conference center was a maze, and it was located in a cultural deadzone (not Chicago in general, just the area the venue was in). MAX will be in SF next year though, so that should resolve the latter two issues.

After a quick stop at home to visit my injured puppy, and pick up my wife, we headed for Barcelona and MAX Europe. It was generally a rehash of MAX Chicago, but with a bit cooler vibe, and it was in Barcelona, which is one of my favourite cities. Had lots of fun hanging out with everyone, eating tapas and seafood, drinking lots, and generally just having a great time. Other than the internet at the hotel costing $35 per day (!!!) I have no complaints.

Following Barcelona, Bobi (my wife) and I took a couple of weeks and traveled around Northern France, and then relaxed in Scotland. I also got to check out our installation piece in the new BBC headquarters in Glasgow, and have a few (too many) drinks with some of the folk there. My advice to you if you ever travel to Scotland: Do NOT try to keep up with a Glasgownian (Glasgownite?) in drinking… it has disastrous consequences.

After Scotland, we spent a couple of days in London, then headed down to Brighton for Flash On The Beach. I cannot overstate how impressed I was by this conference. It’s only in its second year, organized by a guy with no real background (afaik) in event planning, and it was easily one of the best conferences I have attended. John Davey managed to assemble an a-list lineup of speakers, a great venue, and lots of fun extracurricular events. Perhaps more impressively, he somehow manages to make every speaker (and I think every attendee) feel welcome in a very personal way. It is a conference with an amazing “je ne sais quoi” – ambience, atmosphere, buzz, something. I attended more sessions at FotB than I have at every conference I have been to in the past year or two combined, and came away with my experimental urge recharged. Beyond the conference itself, Brighton was a great backdrop to hang out with all of our friends from the community and take it easy.

From FotB, we spent another couple of days in London, and took in a couple of shows (Macbeth, which was ok, but Patrick Stewart was out with Laryngitis, and Spamalot, which was a lot of fun), before finally flying home to a mostly healed dog, and a mostly finished house.

The thing I found really interesting was the shear volume of attendees. MAX North America, MAX Europe, and FlashOnTheBeach all sold out this year, and I believe FlashForward did too. Our little industry is booming, and more people are seeking community, education and inspiration.

Notes for all of my sessions can be found at

Needless to say, I’m looking forwards to a couple of months of relative quiet, working out of the office. 🙂

Grant Skinner

The "g" in gskinner. Also the "skinner".



  1. Glaswegian 🙂 and it’s sound advice.

    Thanks for a great talk at FOTB.

  2. The one-day workshop in Toronto was great! I really enjoyed it.

  3. Enjoying perusing your blog! Here’s a tidbit for you: residents of Glasgow are called “Glaswegians”. I have no idea where this comes from. Maybe they had too many Scotches, and couldn’t spell “Glasgownian”.

    — andy —

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