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Matt Webb at Web Directions South, October 6-9 in Sydney

I’m super pleased to have been invited to give the opening keynote at Web Directions South in Sydney at the beginning of October.

In 2008, I closed Web Directions North in Vancouver with Movement, on designing flow into the Web, and making applications in which action creates action. It was one of my favourite conferences.

This year I’m presenting Escalante:

The long run to the turn of the millennium got us preoccupied with conclusions. The Internet is finally taken for granted. The iPhone is finally ubiquitous computing come true. Let’s think not of ends, but dawns: it’s not that we’re on the home straight of ubicomp, but the beginning of a century of smart matter. It’s not about fixing the Web, but making a springboard for new economies, new ways of creating, and new cultures.

The 21st century is a participatory culture, not a consumerist one. What does it mean when small teams can be responsible for world-size effects, on the same playing field as major corporations and government? We can look at the Web – breaking down publishing and consuming from day zero – for where we might be heading in a world bigger than we can really see, and we can look at design – playful and rational all at once – to help us figure out what to do when we get there.

You may recognise the themes from Scope which opened reboot11 (catch the video here) in which I spoke about the personal roots of the invention of culture… and also about million mile tomatoes, JFK, and the Moon.

I’ll build on these topics at Web Directions. The leverage small groups have now to invent and participate in culture is wonderful, and the Web is at the very front of that. We’re at the beginning of a complex, remarkable world of exciting possibilities and responsibilities both. I want to look up and take in those wide blue skies.

It’s also my first trip to Australia, so recommendations of things to do and people to see are much appreciated. I think I’ll be able to extend my trip to about a week after the conference itself, but let’s see what happens. It should be ace, and I hope to see you there.

3 Comments and Trackbacks

  • 1. Fergus Pitt said on 19 August 2009...

    Excited to hear you’re talking here. It looks like being a great conference.

    Before you touch down you should read this book by Peter Carey. It’s a semi- fictional account of coming back to Sydney after a long time away, and evokes the elements of Sydney better than anything else I’ve read. His lines about the smell, the wind, the habour and the indigenous roots are stunning.

    Also, I work in digital media at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation ( It would be great if you could drop me a line over email.

  • 2. Lachlan Hardy said on 25 August 2009...

    It will indeed be ace, and I can’t wait to hear your keynote!

    There’s lot of fun and games happening that week and there are a few other international guests hanging around the week after, so there will be some others to explore with while the rest of us get back to work.

    I am entirely biased, but I strongly suggest you come to on the Wednesday night. Or better, yet, present. Admittedly, it’s the night before your keynote, but you’ll be prepared, right? 😉

  • Trackback: Web Directions South 2009 – Day 1 | 12 October 2009

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