Interview with MinneWebCon

MinneWebConMinneWebCon, "Minnesota's Web Conference," has signed on as a Gold Sponsor of DrupalCamp Twin Cities for a second year. MinneWebCon Director Amanda Costello and co-organizer Gabe Ormsby sat down with us to talk about their upcoming conference and how it ties in to Drupal.

What is MinneWebCon?

Gabe: MinneWebCon is an annual conference for web professionals that draws participants from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities companies and organizations, and from across the upper Midwest. This takes place each April on the University of Minnesota Twin Cities Saint Paul campus and covers a broad range of web-related topics, from content strategy and social media to code and APIs.

Amanda: This year’s keynotes are Whitney Hess (@whitneyhess), an independent user experience consultant and strategic partner at Happy Cog, and John Moe (@johnmoe), host of Marketplace Tech Report. Whitney has a brand new presentation, “What's Your Problem? Putting Purpose Back into Your Projects,” that debuted at An Event Apart Seattle last week. John was really excited to dive into the issue of spectrum, and I think his keynote, “Broadcast Spectrum: a great big complicated physics issue that just so happens to hold the key to the future of everything,” will be an entertaining look at an often-overlooked issue that affects everyone that works with the Web.

I hear that this year brings some changes.

Gabe: Indeed it has—We are excited to launch a second day of deep-dive workshops, MinneWebWorkshop! For our first four years, MinneWebCon has been a one-day conference with hour-long sessions and two keynotes. Based on feedback from attendees, we found that there is a strong interest in having some longer, more focused workshop-style content to dig deep into process and code. So this year we've extended MinneWebCon to two days—The first day, April 16, will follow our traditional format of sessions and keynotes. On our second day, April 17,  we'll debut four MinneWebWorkshops—two concurrent sessions in the morning and another two in the afternoon.

Amanda: Another big change is in our leadership. After four years, our founding director Kris Layon has passed the director baton on to me, and I couldn’t be more excited. Kris is still a part of our spectacular planning committee. I’m looking forward to heading up MinneWebCon, especially as we’re growing.

Why are you supporting DrupalCamp Twin Cities? Tell us how our community can help your organization.

Gabe: Our planning committee, comprised of web developers both within and outside the University of Minnesota, has seen an ever increasing level of interest in Drupal, even since last year. I’ve worked with new students who have come to the U with Drupal knowledge, and departments and units are increasingly putting Drupal to work in their web shops. With MinneWebCon's broad scope and limited time, we try to avoid focusing too much on any one technology or CMS, so supporting DrupalCamp is a way we can recognize the value that projects like Drupal bring to the web community and make our attendees aware of additional learning opportunities.

Amanda: We are also interested in bringing our broader focus to the Drupal community: Because regardless of your specific platform or tool, you still face questions about usability, design, quality content, and organizational capacity that we address at MinneWebCon.

Where can we find out more or sign up for MinneWebCon?

Amanda: There is still space available for the first day of MinneWebCon on April 16th, but registration closes on April 11th. Find out more at www.MinneWebCon.umn.edu or follow @MinneWebCon. The workshops have already hit maximum capacity, which is encouraging. We hope to expand the workshops to a wider audience next year.