Beyond Tellerrand 2013- Jeremy Keith
Jeremy Keith ran an interesting talk today. He covered some interesting topics like preserving the web, maintaining its openness, providing people with a platform to experiment and using inspiring science fiction to help predict its future. Jeremy started his talk by highlighting how its important to keep the barriers to web design minimal. He quoted a tweet that stated: “Keep barriers to entry nice and low so its not only for us professionals”.
Photography: Craig Gardner Cyber-Duck
Looking back to the 90s, Jeremy said that many of us web designers are in this profession (web design) because of websites like Geocities and Myspace. This proves his point about lower barriers of entry. In retrospect this is an interesting thought, as many of us professionals are in lucrative professions, actively stimulating the economy and feeding off each other. When you think that Geocities was the 3rd most visited website in the 1990s, many of us arguably wouldn’t be the professionals we are today without websites like Geocities. The sad thing is that during 2009 Yahoo deleted GeoCities. At the time, Yahoo announced the reasons behind removing all the data: “It became necessary to destroy the town in order to save it”. Jeremy and the rest of us do not think the town was saved though. Phil Gyford a prominent web designer followed up by saying that 7 million websites were deleted in an instance.
Many startups that get ‘bought out’ end up losing their data and services. The website Our Incredible Journey highlights that consumers can get burnt by buy-outs. The Indie Web Camp believes in principles that protect and conserve data: 1. Treat our data like it matters. 2. No upload without a download. 3. If you close a system support data rescuer. Jeremy further stressed the importance of maintaining the web’s history with this quote by Josh Clark (@globalmoxie): “You can’t be a futurist without also being a historian, Our industry has an unusual lack of knowledge about ideas of just a few years ago.”
Moving on to the future, Jeremy mentioned some of the science fiction books that keep him inspired. These include “The Windup Girl” by Paolo Bacigalupi and the “Glasshouse” by Charles Stross. How should work be measured in the long term? Jeremy quoted Mandy Brown from A List Apart “we should measure our work’s success in decades, not months or years”.
The web was built with the goal of enabling collaboration but where does this leave the app economy? If we look at the present, flash developers who were disappointed with its limited mobile capabilities, ‘closed’ and proprietary infrastructure are now iOS and Android developers. Perhaps lessons have not been learnt? Jeremy drew parallels to CD roms. Jeremy asked the question if some publishers and app developers dream about a world of producers and consumers. On an ending note he stated one of the beauties of the web; you can go crazy, you don’t need permission to do things.