Arpit led another session about how and when to use Flash in an Ajax world. One of the attendees was a Microsoft Silverlight manager and was a solid hour of dispelling myths about RIA in general. There is still a large population that thinks Flash/Silverlight are bad for SEO and not enough people know of Adobe’s recent collaborations with Google and Microsoft, including project Ichabod that makes Flash more indexable than Ajax (some details here: http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/adobe_ichabod_flash_ajax.php). We also talked about how the RIA vs traditional html choice is often made unconsciously before the IA/Design phase and what we need to do in order to help inform that choice. Arpit is going to have a conversation later with a manager from Microsoft concerning Rich Internet Application development in Philadelphia.
Kevin Fitzpatrick led an afternoon session about “Getting your Ideas Out” that was standing room only by the time the session began. Kevin’s premise was simple: You have more to worry from your idea never seeing the light of day than from it being stolen and used by someone else. He encouraged the attendees to put their ideas out as soon as they could and leverage the community to shape it to its final form. While the session was limited to an hour, the excitement in the room could have easily kept the discussion going for hours.
One of the most interesting part of the event was the repeated references to Frank Eliason and the comcastcares twitter account. In a more that a couple of talks, comcastcares was used as an example on how big companies are now “getting it”, on how Frank’s help to one of the attendees has now made her a loyal comcast customer as well as one discussion on how someone on Verizon FIOS was annoyed that they did not have a verizoncares twitter account. One of the attendees then pinged Frank on Twitter and he actually dropped in in person (though none of the CIM team managed to meet him since all this happened with no CIM member around). comcastcares was the biggest discussion topic on the ROI on Social Media talk as well.
Other sessions we attended included how to get your organization to embrace web standards by Kimberly Blessing, a former AOL employee that led the first standards-compliant redesign of AOL.com back in 2004. Standards are a hot topic as we look for ways to reduce our engineering footprint and reuse our systems better. Standards lead the way for this.
Our future plans are to keep this community rolling and we are now looking for a monthly venue. I have started talking to our internal HR about opening up a room (perhaps Comcast University) on a regular basis for this group. I’m looking forward to keeping the energy of this event going.