Mobilism has announced a Call for Papers for their May 2012 conference in Amsterdam. I think this is very exciting.
As the xkcd comic above amusingly illustrates a problem that gets solved by an academic gets many years and much publicity generated out of one problem, and in business it is on to the next problem with nary a peep out of the problem solver.
Web design and development have evolved faster in the last 15 years than academia’s ability or desire to keep up with it, in response the community has been largely self-educated with keen practitioners who have solved various problems rising up to write articles, blog posts, books and speak at conferences. In the last few years, a certain set of these practitioners have become the rockstars of the web publishing and speaking worlds.
Recently there has been a bit of a brouhaha about how conferences seem to have the same speakers, the prices are high, and charges of elitism have been leveled on the in crowd.
On one hand, as Andy does, one can argue that known speakers are needed for conferences to draw paying attendees so that the conference organizers can rent the venue, pay for all the attendant expenses, etc. On the other hand, known speakers and authors can state that they are feeding back into the community by getting the information on standards, new & best practices, as well as lighting an inspirational fire for other designers and developers.
Be that as it may, there are many other web and mobile designers and developers who by dint of introversion, fear of putting oneself out there, thinking the problem or solution is not good enough, busy-ness at work, family obligations, NDAs and other corporate contracts who are not being heard or even seen as they just move on to the next problem to be solved and keep quiet about the one they just solved. The rest of the community is much the poorer for their silence.
For this alone, the Mobilism Call for Papers is brilliant, as it will hopefully be the (structured) encouragement that many developers and designers who have solved really cool problems but never think to or have not yet published or spoken about them will come out of the woodwork and will submit their solutions as a paper for the 30 minute presentation slot.
Yes, you, don’t be shy, share your ideas and solutions, go submit a paper to Mobilism 2012.
Update: Wed 10.05.11 – Please read the comments below as Jeremy Keith asks a pertinent question about my language and link choices and I reply.
Also, Helen Keegan, FJ van Wingerde and I comment about this from an the academic v. practitioner point of view on Facebook.