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I’m currently on the way home from a little trip to Ireland 🇮🇪, where I have been in Killarney for this years Úll conference. It’s the first ever conference I’ve been to, and from what I’ve heard (and seen for myself), the bar is now set pretty high.

If you haven’t heard of Úll, then it’s best by described by the little introduction on the website:

Úll is a conference for people who build and love great products. We focus on great product stories, presented through an Apple-shaped lens. We treat the conference itself as a product: with a deep emphasis on the attendee experience.

It’s not exactly a tech conference, with the content focussed on personal stories, and thought provoking sessions, that do in-part relate back to technology.

This year the theme was “The Future”, and we certainly experienced that in the Banquet dinner. Where the dessert was a Deconstructed Apple Pie, with the Crème anglaise (yes I googled the spelling) served in a toothpaste-like tube, and some very vibrant Green Apple juice served with dry ice. It certainly all fitted the theme.

I was asked a few times, what my favourite talk was. But honestly, I really liked every single one I got to see. But if I got to choose the absolute fewest that really got my attention, I would choose:

  • Ben Norris’s talk on sketchnotes, regarding why, and how to use them effectively.
  • Jeremy Burge’s talk about Emojipedia, where it started, and a few stories about the growth.
  • Allen Pike’s great presentation about iTunes, and the many errors it harnesses.
  • Matt Bischoff’s talk about how everything we build is an Ice Sculpture, and why we need to pay attention to how products will end, and what that means for users and their data.
  • Quinn Rose’s thought provoking talk about you should put people first, and what your legacy will really be.
  • Alex Cox’s robot-cat inspired talk about machines that take care of their owners.
  • Alicia Carr’s experience with starting to develop an iOS app at the age of 51, starring in a documentary, and then even featuring in a WWDC intro video.
  • Daniel Steinberg’s thoughtful talk on why what we do, doesn’t necessarily determine who we are.

That’s certainly one hell of a list, and it still doesn’t show the great talks that I got to experience at Úll.

It wasn’t just the talks either that interested me. Jason Snell hosted Úll Radio, which I think I saw about 90% of the interviews. There was also a live recording of Clockwise, which was hosted by Jason Snell, Marco Arment, Myke Hurley, and Alex Cox.

To top it off, it was packed full of great people, and held in one of the nicest locations I’ve ever been to. I’m coming away with a lot of thoughts and ideas, and a new found love for conferences.

I’d love to come back next year.