Monday, October 18, 2010

Highlights of Warm Gun Design Conference

A few weeks ago I attended the first Warm Gun Design Conference hosted by Dave McClure's 500 Startups up at Mission Bay Conference Center in San Francisco.  There is so much bad design around these days that any opportunity to learn about what makes good design is most welcome, plus an opportunity to attend a full one day conference is a good way to recharge the batteries.

This post isn't an exhaustive recap of a really enjoyable day, but rather what I saw as the 3 key takeaways that we can all follow when designing something.
  1. Vision - Can everyone on the team describe the experience of using your design five years from now? If the team doesn't understand where you are headed, how can they work together on getting there?  Note that this ties into my post Do you have a Visual Vision.
  2. Feedback - In the last six weeks have you spent more than two hours watching someone use your or a competitor's design? In this day of massive upheaval in the technology industry I am still fascinated by the number of people who fail to take the time to understand what is happening around them.
  3. Culture - In the last six weeks have you rewarded a team member for creating a major design failure. After all, if we don't celebrate failure, and create a culture that it's OK to fail, how are we going to move forward.
There were numerous great lessons and soundbytes from the day, and I particularly enjoyed the sessions by Jared Spool and Luke Wroblewski.  Luke in particular gave a great session titled "Sign Up Forms Must DIE!", and he gave a great session on leveraging other services such as Facebook and Linkedin to complete a signup.

I also enjoyed the blunt, non-politically correct language - given the suffocation that most enterprises enforce, getting a group of highly motivated and creative people in a room was a refreshing change.

Overall a worthwhile day, and I'll be at the next one.


  1. Thanks for the post. I was watching this live and then had to run off or sleep can't remember. Any chance you heard if the video might be available?


  2. Yup, check out the videos at and