SxSW and the fun in web development

I suddenly realised I hadn't yet officially announced that my presentation "JavaScript: the Big Picture" has been accepted by SxSW. It will run on Monday 12th of March in the afternoon, and it will be a 25 minute power session. I already wrote about the topics I want to treat. Right now I plan to talk for a maximum of 10 minutes, after which a discussion is supposed to fill the remaining 15 minutes. My plans may change, though.

I will arrive in Austin on Tuesday, 6th of March. I'll probably have a jet lag that day, so I'll go to bed pretty soon. On Wednesday 7th and Thursday 8th, though, I might have time for a bit of socialising before the conference starts. If you're in Austin on one of these days and know the places to be, drop me a note.

Regaining my sense of fun

More generally, I hope that visiting SxSW and doing my own thing there will bring back my sense of fun when it comes to web development. From about mid November until quite recently I was totally sick and tired of everything having to do with the Web, working as a freelance web developer, maintaining QuirksMode.org, marketing the book, advising all and sundry about tricky JavaScript bits, and so on. You may have noticed the irregular updates and large gaps in my three blogs; now you know the reason why.

In fact, for a period of about two weeks in mid December I seriously considered quitting the web development business altogether. Meanwhile I decided not to, partly because my feeling of fun is slowly returning, and partly because I don't have the faintest idea how to earn money outside the web business.

Anyway, I worked far too hard in 2006. I estimated that, from October 2005 to June 2006, I spent six months on writing the book, and another six months on commercial jobs. Trying to squeeze twelve months of work into nine months of time can be done, as I proved, but you need a nice break afterwards. Although I'd planned a huge seven week holiday, I succumbed to QuirksMode.org once more and spent the larger part of that time on the redesign and content updates. Then it was back to work, although in a less hectic pace. When mid November came around, I found that I just didn't want to continue any more.

As I said, my feeling of fun is slowly returning, and in the last two weeks, when I did some small jobs I found that I enjoyed them again, just a little bit. Nonetheless I'd like to change my focus a bit from hands-on programming to a kind of consultancy/advisory role. Unfortunately I don't have the faintest idea how to do that, shouting "Hey, I'm a consultant now!" to the world at large is unlikely to work. On the other hand, there has always been a sort of magic at work when it comes to procuring clients: when I think "I'd like to have such-and-such a job", within two weeks an actual client arrives at my doorstep who offers me money for exactly such-and-such a job. Let's hope the magic doesn't let me down this time.

This entry rambles a bit. Too bad. A rambling QuirksBlog entry for once. See some of you in Austin.

This is the blog of Peter-Paul Koch, mobile platform strategist, consultant, and trainer. You can also follow him on Twitter.
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1 Posted by Jonathan Boutelle on 5 February 2007 | Permalink

Wow ... glad you didn't decide to quit.

I'll see you at SXSW (I'll also be speaking, about Flash and AJAX). Looking forward to your talk!

2 Posted by Shane Shepherd on 12 February 2007 | Permalink

I'm glad the fun is returning for you. Too many days without fun and almost anyone will begin to question their purpose.

There is no shortage of fun to to had in Austin. If you're like me, one of the fun things about traveling is finding great new places to eat! Austin has a plethora of great restaurants and great music. Being the capital of Texas, there is also an abundance of history and related site-seeing.

I'm looking forward to attending your presentation at SXSW. See you there!