Brooklyn Beta Opening Remarks

14 Oct 2014

Welcome to Brooklyn Beta. We’re so glad you’re here. Thank you for sharing your day with us.

For many of you, this is your first time, and you’ve got some questions.

What are we doing here? We don’t know who’s speaking. We don’t know what the schedule is. There’s no Internet. Why the hell do people like this conference?

Strong questions.

We do all of these things deliberately, because we want to be your excuse to be offline for a day, to be engaged with the speakers and with each other. We want you to be present. We want you to be surprised. We want to challenge you, but we want to support you, too.

We also have a few goals in mind. Three to be exact.

1. Build stronger relationships between designers and developers.

To help, we try our best to get some of the friendliest designers and developers around and create an environment that’s welcoming, friendly, and full of love.

2. Encourage you to work on your own ideas.

John Maeda recently wrote:

Designers [and developers] are conditioned to start or join client-service practices; they are generally trained to solve clients’ problems and not their own.

We do a fair amount of client work ourselves, and we have a great deal of respect for everyone who focuses on solving other people’s problems. But, there’s room and opportunity to work on your own ideas, too.

I love the Internet. I think it’s the opportunity of our generation. I just think that it would be really great if this room full of amazing people had a hand in where we go from here.

3. Shine a light on important issues.

The Internet, or even technology in general, doesn’t necessarily have the potential to solve all problems or help all people, but I think it can do a lot more.

In fact, I think we’ve barely begun to tap its potential. Let’s go easy on each other and not hold ourselves to impossible standards. Not everything we do has to save the world. But, let’s just remember that one of the most powerful tools in human history is our playground.

Let’s do this.