Yep, we’re doing it again. MadWorld returns to the Hard Rock Hotel San Diego April 13-15, 2014 and you’re invited to join the “Mad”ness! MadWorld 2014 is the premier technical communication and content strategy conference for technical writers, documentation managers and content strategists.
At MadWorld 2014, you’ll be treated to inspiring educational sessions, fun events, and all the networking you can handle.
We’ve put together a stellar cast of speakers just itching to share their knowledge with you, so let’s get to know one of them, shall we?
Nita Beck is a returning MadWorld speaker, a certified MadCap Advanced Developer, and the “propeller head-in-chief” of the Rochester Flare User Group. As owner of Nita Beck Communications, Nita offers technical communication and information architecture services to clients around the world. She offers customized training on Flare, taught undergraduate and graduate courses in technical communication for 18 years at Rochester Institute of Technology, and frequently offers fun and engaging conference sessions such as “Dr. StrangeFlow: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Topic-Based Authoring Workflow.” A senior member of the Society for Technical Communication, Nita has earned numerous STC awards at the local and international levels.
So what was your favorite part of MadWorld 2013?
Wow. It’s very hard to come up with a single favorite part. In the end, it boils down to two.
First fav, the people: I so enjoyed meeting all the MadCap folks who were running around—you Jennifer, and your colleagues Jennifer, Nichole, Anthony, Frank, Rob, Laura, Lori, Marvin, Elan, Tauyna, Conrad, Adam, Vince (how can I forget Vince?) Mike, Paul, David, Jose… I’m sure I’m missing many. Meeting the people who produce and support the products that I earn my living with was incredibly special.
I also so enjoyed the many Flareusers I met at MadWorld, folks whom I now consider my colleagues and friends. To anyone I met last year, I will try hard to remember your name when next we meet! But if memory fails, I’m sure that I’ll remember something about you. (You’re from Minnesota, right? You work in a bank, right? Oh, there’re the gals from Texas I had dinner with Sunday evening!)
Second fav, the deep learning: I just didn’t expect that I would learn so very much, having been in the tech comm business as long as I have. Although I thought I knew Flare and its companion tools pretty well, I still learned many new and practical techniques that I was able to apply right away back in the office—not to mention the many techniques that I’ve still yet to try.
But wait: There’s a third fav: the fun. Let me count the ways! Sunday evening’s get-to-know-you event at which we played Rock Music bingo. Monday morning’s most fabulous conference kickoff and keynote speech ever. Monday evening’s MadCap Trivia Game. Tuesday afternoon’s ice cream break. Tuesday evening’s farewell bash…. The fun literally did not stop.
What makes MadWorld different from other industry conferences?
I’ve already mentioned the people, the learning, and the fun, so what else?!
I so like that MadWorld addresses the educational needs of practitioners. Although many of the sessions are offered by some of the “big thinkers” in our industry, MadWorld is different from the other conferences at which they speak in that it is one grand MadCap user group meeting. (And by now, it’s no secret that I’m fanatical about user groups!)
Only at MadWorld can I interact with and ask specific, how-to questions of other practitioners who, like me, use Flare every day. And many of those same practitioners are producing types of work that I just haven’t gotten into yet, so I find that there is always something new to learn.
Tell us a little bit about your MadWorld 2014 session(s).
MadCap has graciously accepted three of my session ideas.
In Turbocharging Your Authoring: How to Write Quickly With Flare, I’ll share tips-n-tricks for speeding up the act of writing with Flare (rather than cleaning up legacy content). I’ll highlight a variety of Flare features including auto suggestions, templates, and “starter” snippets.
In Going Solo: Best Practices for the Solo (Flare) Artist, I’ll share my in-the-trenches best practices for using Flare in a solo-author shop, whether as a freelancer or a lone TW in a startup. We’ll explore topics such as project planning (including plans for adding more authors), design documentation, backups and source control, and even disaster recovery.
Finally, Do-It-Yourself Version Control of Flare Projects with Apache Subversion is intended for users with no experience in version (aka source) control. I’ll spend part of the session introducing the basic concepts of source control with Subversion and then will focus on the specifics of working with Subversion-controlled Flare projects.
Excluding your session(s), which MadWorld sessions do you find the most intriguing?
- Listapalooza, though I’m faced with a tough choice because it’s opposite Conditional Conundrum: Drop In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)
- So Happy Together: Improving Customer Experience with MadCap Pulse
- Controlled Language: It’s Not Just for the Guys in the Skies
- Yeah, Flare Can Do That, because anything by Paul Pehrson is sure to be fabulous!
Do you plan on doing anything fun (besides MadWorld, of course!) while you’re in San Diego?
Last year, I came only one day early and managed to do a little sightseeing in the Gaslamp District and around the harbor side. (Terrific restaurants, by the way.) But then MadWorld was so utterly exciting and enriching that I was completely immersed and spent every minute thereafter hanging out only with fellow propeller heads!
This time, MadWorld 2014 aligns with my daughter’s spring break, so she and my husband are coming with me. I’ve already given them fair warning that they’ll be on their own the first few days! Starting Wednesday, we’ll take in the sights that San Diego has to offer, particularly visiting the zoo, getting in some hiking, and visiting gardens and the shoreline.
MadWorld 2014 is at the Hard Rock Hotel, so we have to ask you a music question. What are your 3 favorite songs in the whole, wide world?
Three favorite songs—much less three musical genres—are just too few! Does the “second side” of Abbey Road (but not including “Her Majesty”; sorry Paul) count as one song? That’s my all-time favorite rock music. The others aren’t of Hard Rock stock but are decidedly American: Gershwin’s “An American in Paris,” “Ashokan Farewell” (the theme of Ken Burns’ The Civil War), and “Adelaide’s Lament” from Guys and Dolls (because Adelaide was the only lead I ever snagged).