One lucky reader will win a free ticket to the MoDev UX conference in Washington, DC this month! That’s a $799 value, and all you need to do is tell me why you want to go — I’ve got a form at the bottom of this post. But first, I want to tell you why I’m going and why you should want to go, too.
Why are conferences important?
Once of the first books I bought when I decided to quit my job at The Verge and start freelancing and working on this website full-time was Deduct It!: Lower Your Small Business Taxes by Stephen Fishman. Up until that point, my knowledge of the United States tax system was practically nonexistent, and I got the book to make sure that my first small business venture got off on the right foot.
But reading Deduct It! had unexpected consequences beyond simply understanding the law: each new chapter gave me a ton of new ideas for growing my business.
I was expecting a book about tax law to be extremely boring, but it read more like an instruction manual for kicking ass in small business. By learning the laws pertaining to certain types of purchases and income, I discovered new assets to buy and revenue streams I never even considered.
They say that the best way to learn a new language is through total immersion. That’s exactly what happens at conferences. And speaking this new language is the best way to think differently about your own projects and problems.
Why should I learn UX?
A computer science degree doesn’t teach how to code — it teaches how to think. Students still need to independently study individual programming languages, but the computer science background makes learning new languages much easier. When you already understand the concept of a linked list or an array, it’s easier to learn how to write them in Ruby, Java, Objective-C, or any other programming language.
Similarly, user experience teaches a different way to think about problems. Learning a new method for structuring a website or app will reveal user problems you never even realized existed.
I define a novice as a person who doesn’t know enough about a topic to even ask the right questions. I was a novice when I decided to make my first iPhone app, and remained a novice for much longer than was necessary due to my stubborn desire to learn how to code all by myself and never ask for help.
But I’ve learned that it doesn’t actually take very long to exit the novice stage. The best way to do it is to find someone who knows more than you and make them talk about the topic of interest. Listening to the way these “experts” talk, and the specific points they make, is truly the real fast lane out of novice-dom.
Alright, so gimme my ticket
Ah yes, the free ticket to the MoDev UX conference!
The people who run the MoDev conference have been kind enough to give me two tickets — one for myself and another to give to one lucky reader. You’ll have access to all the workshops and the entire conference for the full two days. That’s a $799 value.
All you need to do is fill out the form below. You have until midnight on Thursday, May 8th. I’ll be contacting the winner on Saturday, May 10th.
Good luck, and I hope to see you there!