This year’s big event will mark my fifth HOW Design Live since joining the ranks on the HOW editorial team nearly six years ago. I didn’t know what to expect my first conference, as experienced colleagues told me things like “wear comfortable shoes,” “find a conference-buddy” and “drink lots of water.” I wondered what I was getting myself into as I packed a monstrous bag and prepared to depart for Austin, TX (HDL, 2009). Bryn Mooth, HOW’s former editor and someone I’m pleased to call my mentor and friend, compared the palpable excitement surrounding the event to “summer camp,” and the warm butterflies you’d get as a kid right before you had the best week of your life.
She was right. I returned from the conference feeling renewed, enlightened and ready to take on the world. On top of that, it was refreshing to connect in-person with fellow creative minds in an atmosphere that encourages attendees to drop their reservations and mingle. I’ve been to conferences where the air is stuffy and you feel like you’re on the outside of one giant clique. My connections made at HOW are real and genuine.
It might seem cliché, but I feel like I owe the very career path that I’ve built for myself to HOW Design Live. I moved into the editor role for HOW + Print about six months ago. The messages delivered by the always-dynamic cast of speakers are hard-hitting and leave me with tangible steps for making myself and my company more successful. Last year, Debbie Millman taught me to be tenacious and seize failure itself as an opportunity. Sam Harrison showed me what it truly means to zig while others zag. Jim Krause and Dyana Valentine encouraged me to live with curiosity and creativity will flourish. In Austin Kleon’s Keynote “Steal Like an Artist,” he opened my eyes, encouraging me to not be afraid to emulate those who I admire most.
With the star-studded roster of speakers on the lineup this year, I can only imagine how my creative think-tank will be abuzz.
If you’ve been to #HOWLive, I’d like to invite you to share either on Twitter (using #HOWLive) or below in the comment field (you’ll need to login) what you love most.