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?
Ellis Pratt is Director and Help Strategist at Cherryleaf, a technical writing services and training company based near London, in the United Kingdom. He has over fifteen years’ experience working in the field of documentation, has a BA in Business Studies, and is an Associate of the Institution of Engineering and Technology. Ranked the most influential blogger on technical communication in Europe, Ellis is also an author and editor of two books: ‘How to Write Instructions’ and ‘Trends in Technical Communication.’
So what was your favorite part of MadWorld 2013?
There were so many highlights, it’s hard to choose just one. From the sessions, I really liked Scott Bass’s presentation on MadCap Lingo. Scott was an excellent presenter, and I didn’t realise Lingo could do so much.
As a speaker, I appreciated all the work that was going on in the background by the MadCap staff. It’s reassuring to know that, if there should be a problem, there’s a fast and efficient conference support team ready to fix it for you.
I also remember fondly the evening meals in the Gaslight Quarter with other speakers, delegates and MadCap staff. In particular, I enjoyed putting the world to rights with Mike Hamilton, Sarah O’Keefe, Tony Self and Matthew Ellison.
What Makes MadWorld different from other industry conferences?
The main difference is that it’s a vendor-hosted event. At a multi-vendor event, everyone is clamouring for the delegates’ attention, and, as a delegate, you can end up feeling bombarded and overwhelmed. At MadWorld, everyone has time, and the result is it’s more relaxed and more enjoyable.
Although there are other conferences that are well run, I can’t think of another where there’s so much focus on getting all of the details right.
Tell us a little bit about your MadWorld 2014 sessions.
My first presentation is on DITA. Rather than dive into the complexities of DITA, we’ll look at it using simple terms, objectively and without boring you rigid. Sometimes, the basic questions get overlooked, so I aim to address those. If you’ve seen the graphic novel (= fancy word for a comic) I created about DITA, you’ll have an idea of what to expect.
My second presentation is on content strategy, or more, the rise of the content strategist. Content strategy is a hot topic at the moment, and there are lots of similarities with technical communication. So we’ll look at where technical communicators fit within the world of content strategy, and how they can get more involved in this field.
My third presentation is on measuring what technical communicators do. Management consultant Peter Drucker famously said, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” From that, we can see the way you’re measured has a great influence on how you’re managed and assessed. Often, technical communicators fall into the trap of measuring only their productivity, not the value of the deliverables they create. So they are pushed to do more in less time. We’ll look at ways of avoiding this trap, by exploring the different ways we can measure what we do.
Excluding your session(s), which MadWorld sessions do you find the most intriguing?
Firstly, Tom Aldous’s presentation on creating readable and consistent content. This is something we see as becoming more and more important in the future, so I’m really interested in hearing what Tom will say. I’m also looking forward to Kai Weber’s presentations. I’ve seen Kai speak before in Europe, and I enjoy reading his blog. He’s happy getting down into the nitty gritty of Flare, and talking about broad, interdisciplinary topics. It’s a great skill to have.
Do you plan on doing anything fun (besides MadWorld, of course!) while you’re in San Diego?
I’d like to see the two art museums in Balboa Park. Last year, I ended up walking for five hours, and I still didn’t see all of the museums located there. I’d also like to visit Sunset Cliffs Aikido club, if there’s a class on whilst I’m in San Diego. Have gi, will travel!
Last year, I also ended up in the back of a Mustang convertible, going to Coronando Island to see the hotel from “Some Like It Hot”. Just a few days earlier, I’d been working in a grey, cold and wet London. So it will be nice simply to be in a warm climate for a few days.
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?
It’s ever changing, but let’s go with:
“Dancing Queen” by Abba
“Do I Love You (Indeed I Do)” by Frank Wilson
“Here’s the Tender Coming” by The Unthanks