WTD PDX 2019 - Day 1 Recap

2 minute read

What a whirlwind first day!

The WTD PDX 2019 crew
WTD PDX 2019. Image courtesy Write the Docs: https://flic.kr/p/2fTHLiN

I mentioned in my previous post that this is my inaugural Write the Docs conference. The last ~12 hours have been a blast, and I’m ready for day two tomorrow.

Below is my brief recap. I have a lot more to process, but the following points came to mind as I mull everything over at home.

Day 1 Recap

  • We’re all in it together. Everyone at WTD struggles with: analytics, delivering AND soliciting feedback, knowing the end user, writing without complexity, and content siloing.
  • Exceptional conference scheduling. WTD does a very good job of keeping the schedule moving and on-time. We started and ended according to schedule.
  • Effortless networking? It can happen to you! Sitting at a “round table” is the best way to network without feeling like it’s a burden. I got to know almost everyone at my table, and we sat together the entire day. Now the trick is keeping in touch with these colleagues in the WTD Slack and/or LinkedIn.
  • So many well-timed breaks. 10-20 minute breaks between talks is awesome, smart, and, well, awesome.
  • Editing got several (welcomed) shoutouts. From Ingrid Towey’s “How to edit other people’s content without pissing them off” to Kathleen Juell’s “Writer? Editor? Teacher?” the message was clear: collaborative, respectful editing necessitates clarity, context and reasoning. It’s not enough to mark an error and hope someone understands. We can only build better writers by offering explanations and reasoning! But, we must also avoid editing per our tastes, and ensure consistency via style guides and the like.
  • Something inspiring: in-person group editing. The concept of in-person editing sessions came up many times. That seems hard to do with remote teams in different time zones. But the idea of being together to collaboratively answer “what is this doc’s purpose, who is it for?” to better target content to end users is a valid concept worth exploring.
  • Open source isn’t so scary after all. Don’t be afraid to jump into open source contributions! And if you find it overwhelming, create your own open source project. Even if it’s a simple app, there’s an eagerness within the community to contribute. But templatize the work as much as possible before juggling mass-PR insanity.

I’m posting all my notes on GitHub in my WTD-2019 repo. Check it out if you’d like more detailed information about the first day.