Do you want to learn about the future of web applications? If so, when choosing an event, you might want to make sure it's one that cares about including speakers based on merit, instead of based on arbitrary gender qualifications. I judge merit to be those who meet these criteria:
1. They've already been successful
2. They have done something innovative and unique
3. They are well-known names who will draw an audience and make the event compelling
4. Their work impacts a large audience, or has great influence on the space
Caveats: This list took about 15 minutes for me to make, and I had a little bit of help from Caterina. It's also skewed towards women whom I know well or whom I have already seen speak. But in 15 minutes, I was able to construct a set of theoretical sessions that you won't see at events that specifically exclude women, or that make sure not to reach out to them.
- danah boyd: The younger generation of web users have different definitions of "public" and "private" than you do.
- Mitchell Baker: How to take something from being an interesting technology to being a mainstream tool
- Caterina Fake: How to get things done even within the constraints of a big company
- Mena Trott: How to design an application that delights its users, instead of confounding them
- Liza Sabater: Your project won't succeed unless you reach people who are different from you
- Amy Jo Kim: How best practices from game design can make your web applications like crack
- Linda Stone:What we will be paying attention to in the future
- Kathy Sierra: How to design products that make your users smarter, sexier and hungry for more
- Heather Armstrong, Meg Frost, and Gina Trapani: One person can be a successful media outlet
- Lynne Johnson: How to credibly bring new media to an old-media company
- Jane Pinckard: Anybody with half a brain could have seen that the Wii was going to win, but you were busy bickering about the Cell processor
- Meg Hourihan: A real mashup: How to combine technology with something you love
- Heather Champ: How to manage a web community shitstorm with grace and tact
- Susannah Fox: You talk about "accessibility", but what do you know about people who are sick, old, or disabled?
- LeeAnn Prescott: Everybody talks about traffic and stats -- what about someone with actual data?
- Charlene Li: What are the criteria by which real-world analysts create their make-or-break analyses?
I could go on and on, but I know the obvious question: Where are the men? Well, don't worry -- the door is open to them. As soon as one of you has done something with the impact of Flickr, something that has the number of users of Firefox, made something that's used by the elderly or the young or by someone different than you, you can participate. Hell, if you make something that makes half as many people smile as Heather, Meg, and Gina's work does, you can send along a proposal to our imaginary event.
To conference organizers: If you haven't heard of these people or their work, or you think that Yet Another Bookmarking To-Do List Guy is more important, perhaps you owe some refunds. At this event, nobody would even notice if the wifi went out.
- See also: The Old Boys' Club is for Losers