tekom / tcworld 12 roundup – Day 1
As opposed to my usual practice, I will (try to) write my posts in English as I hope it will at least be a little bit better to understand for the English speaking audience than using google translator. Any abuse of the English language is purely unintentional and coincidental – I am sorry!
To make my thoughts about the tekom Jahrestagung 2012 at least a little bit readable, I decided to break it down into three pieces – one for every day of the show (to make it less monolithic and “war-and-peace-ish” ,-) )
Setting tone and expectations
For those not knowing: “The tekom annual conference together with the tcworld and tekom fair is the largest global event and market place for technical communication” (from the tekom Website). It takes place in the beautiful city of Wiesbaden every autumn. For me it has been the third time in a row I had the chance to participate. Usually, there are a few “buzzword” themes every year – for me it was “Content Strategy” this year and I did hope to fill the expression with some meaning. Let´s see how this worked out. I will roughly keep to the order of speeches and workshops I visited.
Scott Abel starts the show
It is not a bad idea to start a day listening to Scott Abel, aka the Content Wrangler. The Wizard of Content, the Fred Astaire (or Gene Kelly ) of Technical Communication gave a introduction to the CS (Content Strategy) track in his usual witty and brilliant way. En passant, he also provided nine reasons for structured content and encouraged the audience to compete with engaging content. All in all a perfect start into a long conference day.
Following up was Rahel Ann Bailie with her musings on “How Content Strategy Connects the Dots between Business, Brand, and Benefits“. Here you could learn a lot about the role of content in the Customer lifecycle or how to distinguish the icing and the cake in terms of content (where the icing is obviously the Marketing Content ). Also interesting: the definition of CS: “Content Strategy is the repeatable system that governs the management of content throughout the entire lifecycle”.
Adaptive content for mobile (and more)
To not get out of practice I visited Ann Rockley´s lecture “Supporting Multiple Mobile Devices with a Unified Content Strategy“. As we all know, there are many companies still producing two versions of content for Web and mobile (and Print perhaps). But she rightfully pointed out that in the end it is not about mobile or Web, but CONTENT first! Well, now I only need someone to explain to my boss… What I also liked were her findings on the use of adaptive content which automatically adjusts to different environments.
Lunchbreak and the usual suspects
Even though the tekom/tcworld conference is massive, I usually end up meeting the same people every year – which is quite pleasing to be honest. Some things, however, are a little bit spooky: how can it possibly be that Kai seems to be in all lectures AND exhibition halls at the same time? Maybe, he has got one or more evil twins? I have to investigate further…
What is a real treat, at least for me, at the Jahrestagung is that it is so easy to get in touch with colleagues. The lunch time too had been a good time to exchange some information with peers from near or far. Though it has to be admitted that the hall is really a bit too packed.
Being well fed, I decided to make it a little bit easier for me to follow the speakers and thus attended:
Finally – a lecture in German!
Make some money with quality content
Obviously drawn to the guys from SAP by the alliteration in their title (DITA für die multilinguale, modulare, multi-modale Produktion von SAP-Lerninhalten) I found it quite reassuring to hear that even such billion dollar companies have their little content ghettos and made their share of mistakes in the past. It was quite impressive to hear that SAP is making nearly 400 million Euros (if I remember it correct) a year with their Knowledge Productization Services (SAP lingo for e-learnig, training, certification etc) thus making content a business asset also interesting for the C-level boys and girls.
After having been impressed by numbers and scale of SAP I went to see another german lecture; this time about Terminology. Frau Krüger from Transline shared her knowledge on finding and managing terminology in “Vom Finden und unternehmensweiten Managen von Terminologie”. A very vivid and useful lecture on an interesting topic. Also noteworthy: This was the only lecture or workshop I attended where Prezi has been used for presentation and not the usual Keynote or Powerpoint (Impress?). Of course, it is not the tool but the content which is important – but a little eye candy can help to spice up a presentation. I really liked it!
Can you afford cheap documentation?
Why am I attending the tekom-Jahrestagung? Of course the only reason is to see and hear Sarah O´Keefe! You think “Transforming Technical Content into a Business Asset” sounds boring? Think twice! Using actual business cases, clear examples and a duckling she made it quite clear why any organization has to check for the REAL cost of their content. Be it for call deflection in tech support or how efficient content development can save money for you it was an inspiring and clear lecture. We also went into more depth (and used a spreadsheet, ugh) in the workshop the following day, so suffice to say that I took away a lot of valuable information – thank you! If I had not already, I would have ordered her new book “Content Strategy 101” at once! By the way, you can read it online at http://www.contentstrategy101.com/ – and buy it afterwards!
Last but not least, my poor colleague and fellow citizen of Karlsruhe, Marijana Prusina of mp-dokumentation, had the unenviable task of holding the concluding tutorial at 5.15 p.m. – which she has met with style! The slides of the tutorial “Around the world with DITA” can be found at her homepage - check them out! It was a very practical and hands on approach on common challenges when using DITA in an multilingual environment.
After that, we had a well-deserved beer and some Brezeln sponsored by the kind people of Atlassian and K15T. Thanks again for that (and the shirt, of course!). Sadly, I also missed some interesting lectures: I really would have liked to have seen Kai Weber´s “Addicted to meaning” or Val Swisher´s “CS goes global” but sadly I am not yet able to send my multiple personalities to different lectures (a trick, Kai seems to be able to perform ;-) ). Also Thomas Meinike with his take on XSLT and XPath would have been very interesting – now I am looking forward for the download of the slides on the tekom website.
Stay tuned for the next part of my review: “Farts and fairy dust – tekom/tcworld 12 – Day 2″ (Now I got you interested )
More posts on tekom12 :
- Kai Weber on 12 lessons learned & 3 unique features of tekom12
- Sarah Maddox´ Tekom tcworld 2012 wrapup
- Marijana Prusina: Mit DITA um die Welt – tekom-Jahrestagung 2012
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