MadWorld 2014 is right around the corner! Join us at the Hard Rock Hotel San Diego April 13-15, 2014 for MadWorld 2014, 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?

PaulPehrson2014Paul Pehrson has more than thirteen years doing hardware and software documentation, and has been using MadCap Flare since version 2. He is active in the tech/comm community, having served in his local STC chapter, as well as on the STC Community Affairs Committee. He is a certified MadCap Advanced Developer, an MVP in the MadCap forums, and is a certified Flare trainer. He has given training on MadCap products across the US and as far away as Saudi Arabia. He and his wife live with their four children in a suburb of Salt Lake City, Utah.

So what was your favorite part of MadWorld 2013?

IMG_5037How much time do you have? It would be much easier to tell you what I didn’t like about MadWorld 2013: Nothing. I loved everything. I’ve said it before, but this was the absolute best technical communication conference I’ve ever attended. The conference is at a fantastic venue, the Hard Rock Hotel in the Gas Lamp quarter of San Diego, and both Hard Rock staff and MadCap staff made everybody feel like a VIP.

The conference sessions were taught by first-rate phenomenal industry greats. I talked to a lot of people at and after the conference and I didn’t talk to a SINGLE person who mentioned a session they didn’t like. I mean, that is unheard of. Doesn’t everybody usually have a session at a conference that didn’t live up to expectations, or wasn’t meaningful for some reason? Yet that wasn’t my experience, or the experience of other conference attendees that I talked to.

What Makes MadWorld different from other industry conferences?

The technical implementation of the conference by MadCap staff was heads and shoulders above any other conference I’ve attended. You would think this group had been putting on conferences for decades, yet this was MadCap’s first user conference. Really, there were a bunch of little things that all came together to give this conference an unforgettable polish. For example, each of the tracks was assigned a color in the program. When you went into the conference rooms, there was special lighting on the walls that matched the color of the track you were in. There were snacks and drinks between every session, and I’m not just talking about coffee and water. There were a variety of drinks, sodas, to-die-for hot chocolate, ice cream snacks, and gourmet cookies. That doesn’t even include the full breakfast and lunch provided–for free–both days of the conference. The hotel room key cards were customized for the conference. And all of this is just the beginning, really.

Finally the MadCap staff was out in force working with attendees on their projects, answering questions, providing guidance and advice. They had a special room you could go into at any point during the conference for one-on-one (or in some cases, one attendee with multiple MadCap staff) help.

I honestly don’t know what they can improve on for next year’s conference, but I’ll be excited to see them try!

Tell us a little bit about your MadWorld 2014 sessions. 

IMG_5232I’m thrilled to have four presentations at MadWorld 2014. I get to spend two sessions on a topic that I’m absolutely passionate about, which is single sourcing in Flare. In the first session, I’ll introduce single sourcing as a concept and cover how you use snippets, conditions, and variables in Flare. I’ll be providing real-life examples, showing you exactly how it works and give you tips on what you need to do to be successful. In the second session, we get to dig a little bit into the meat of single sourcing and we’ll talk about snippet conditions, embedded TOCs, and advanced conditional text expressions. There was too much awesome content to put it into a single session, so MadCap is letting me spread it out across two sessions, one each day.

My other sessions are Yeah, Flare Can Do That and Power in Print – PDF Output that Rocks! In the former, we’ll talk about some things you may not know that Flare can do. In the latter, I’m going to show you how you can make great-looking PDF output that makes you (and your company) look good.

Excluding your sessions, which MadWorld sessions do you find the most intriguing?

Like last year, I’m excited about a lot of the presentations this year. Honestly, there is at least one or more sessions I’m interested in during each time slot, so it is hard to narrow it down. In particular, on day one, I’m excited about Patrick Calnan’s presentation on Conditional Conundrum looks fascinating, as does Ellis Pratt’s Bust a Move presentation. On day two Scott DeLoach looks to have an interesting presentation on CSS3, which I’m sad I’ll have to miss, since we are presenting the same hour. Also, Nita Beck’s Subversion presentation looks very interesting, as does Kai Weber’s Mental Models presentation. And there are so many more! This is going to be an awesome conference.

Do you plan on doing anything fun (besides MadWorld, of course!) while you’re in San Diego?

We have family in the area that we’ll be visiting. We’ll also make a trip on the trolley up to Old Town again, and if we can swing it, time-wise, I hope to visit SeaWorld this year. I say “we” because my wife will be joining me again this year, though not at the conference.

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?

Oh, man. I have a hard time picking a favorite genre, and you want me to narrow it down to 3 songs? And the word favorite seems so–I don’t know–final. If you asked my kids, they would tell you that “my song” is Viva La Vida by Coldplay, though I’m not exactly sure why. (My oldest is 7, by the way.) In the new age genre, I *love* music by the Piano Guys. You really should check out their YouTube channel. They may be most famous for their modern interpretation of “What Makes You Beautiful.” (Really, go watch that RIGHT NOW. It’s worth it.) In international music, I love a song called “Deserto” by Brazillian group Thaeme e Thiago. I also like Garth Brooks, Jars of Clay…., well, I told you I couldn’t pick just three. <grin>

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About The Author

Jennifer White

About Jennifer White

Jennifer White, a Product Evangelist at MadCap Software, has over 15 years of experience in writing, broadcasting, public speaking, marketing and social media management. Jennifer has also served as a social media manager, blogger, on-air host, writer and content provider for CBS Radio and Fox TV.

Last Modified: April 7, 2014

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