OTA Sessions 2013: Be Better

Picture it: As live bluegrass is performed in the concourse of the Augustana Edith Mortensen Center, a crowd of creative thinkers, business professionals, and marketers eagerly awaits the kickoff of OTA 2013. They've gathered for many reasons, but primarily they want to be inspired and ignite action in their own lives and their organizations moving forward.

So what hit home for me?

OTA was full of ideas, inspiration, and insight. While not every speaker brought concrete, actionable steps to take into our lives and businesses, every one of them brought a passion for what they do, who they are, and more importantly, as OTA's kickoff presenter, riCardo Crespo, would challenge: WHY they are.

Highlights from the day:

  • riCardo Crespo asked if we would like to be good or best. Then, challenged us to be better. Better implies always striving, always improving, not settling for a static position. Good stuff.
  • We're used to the open source world on the internet, but to hear someone challenging the scientific community to publish findings openly and build upon each others' discoveries after centuries of holding science close to the vest? Inspiring.
  • Passenger Productions' videos. Enough said. Well done folks, and I hope to see a lot more work from you in the future.
  • Karina Van Schaardenberg from Foursquare gave us a stellar presentation on better usability and user experience research.
  • Ash Huang from Pinterest gave us some great starting conversation on designing for modern media.
  • The 19th Street Band (warning - music autoplay!) was a fantastic touch to the ambience of each break time.

Were there things that could have been done better? For sure. Were there frustrations as well as inspiration? Absolutely.

But was it worth the trip? No doubt about it.