WMC Fest 3 Recap

The idea of recapping WMC Fest 3 (located in Cleveland, Ohio) is completely overwhelming. As I write this I really have absolutely no idea how I will accomplish this task but I’m going to try my best. I think posting this recap will not only benefit all those who didn’t get to attend (at all or certain speakers) but it will also help me process everything in my own mind. I’m going to break down the recap into three parts:

  1. Speaker summaries and/or quotes. Some will be longer than others.
  2. What I took away from WMC and the changes I’m going to make because of it
  3. Fun moments and photos while in Cleveland (I’ll be sharing film photos from the weekend on Friday)

It was great to hear Austin Kleon speak. I actually sat by his mom and was able to chat with her before he took the stage. What a sweet lady and she’s so proud of her son. Austin spoke on “stealing like a writer.” He really emphasized saturating yourself with someone you love (author) and reading all of their work. Once you’re done, you should read all the work by their influencers. Some other advice? READ, READ, READ (and write in your books), keep a swipe file, always carry paper + pencil, step away from the screen, and create something you’d want to experience yourself.

I had been looking forward to hearing Jen Myers speak since I met her earlier this year. She lives in Columbus and has her hand in Girl Develop It. She presented on the issue that there aren’t many women working in IT/development/etc and we need to address this issue if we want to progress. Bringing in different kinds of people into our projects really opens our eyes to different perspectives.

I pretty much adore everything Nate Utesch creates so I was extremely excited about his presentation. Not only was his slideshow one of the most beautiful slideshows I’ve ever seen…he really inspired me to create work that I’m proud of. His attention to detail and his passion for Ft. Wayne, Indiana really shines through. I was able to chat with him in the iLTHY gallery the next day and even snagged all of the Ferocious Quarterly publications (drool). I really resonate with his desire to collaborate and I can’t wait for the next issue of Ferocious Quarterly.

I’ve been a long time supporter of Margot Harrington of Pitch Design Union for awhile now and it was so great to hear her talk, “How To Say No Like A Boss!” She essentially broke down her talk into 5 concepts (relating to each finger — you know — like turkey hands!) It went a little like this:

  1. Define Your Brand (pinky finger) – Work from a deeper place and make it official.
  2. How You Hustle (ring finger) – Sell it, follow through and have an end game.
  3. Profits (middle finger) – Know what’s coming in & out. Practice negotiating.
  4. Time Management (pointer finger) – Use your calendar, sleep & be prepared to give something up if you say “yes” to something.
  5. The Work (thumb) – Your work, oddly, comes last. Make sure you have a grasp on 1-4 to create better work.

Margot’s talk was the most applicable and helpful (for me personally). I really loved it when she talked about NOT firing clients. Instead, she recommended, talk to your client and take a break. After reassessing and looking at your goals, reconvene in a few months. Love it.

Tad Carpenter‘s talk was such a breath of fresh air. He started off his presentation sharing why he loves Kansas City (where he lives), his childhood, his influences, and that his own father is an illustrator for Hallmark. He emphasized how important PASSION PROJECTS are. He stated, “We get to do this.” We’re really lucky.

Friends of Type!! If I could only visit one site for the rest of my life…it would probably be theirs. They spoke about The Good, The Bad & The Ugly. They shared that they started FoT in approximately 8 hours and had to deal with bandwidth, malware, and even name calling. They explained their odd/awesome obsessions and their work. Their advice: Push It. Keep Going. Push Yourself. You Killed It! Push Harder. Never Stand Still.

JOHNNY CUPCAKES! HEADLINER! He didn’t disappoint. He talked for 2 hours and it felt like 3o minutes. I’ve never listened to or met anyone so extremely focused and hilarious all at the same time. I knew nothing about him or his company before he started talking but once he was done…we bought 2 of his shirts. I can’t really completely recap his presentation (it really would be impossible) but I can say that Johnny really encouraged me to keep being who I am. I walked away feeling okay with the fact that I work on weekends, prioritize my family, and hardly drink anymore. Adam and I were able to talk to him for a bit on Sunday and were really impressed with how he presents himself. Plus, he gave me a fake cockroach and asked for my business card. Win.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to catch any of the other speakers due to food breaks, visiting the iLTHY gallery, or the fact that we had to leave around 5pm on Sunday. After digesting all of that information, I’ve pinpointed what I learned and what changes I plan to make:

  • Steal from my influencers. Nothing is original.
  • After we buy a house (and I have my own office) I want a digital and an analog desk.
  • READ. MORE.
  • Allow myself to have obsessions and collections.
  • Do not “fire” clients. Take a break first.
  • I’m cutting my Facebook friend list down to 20.
  • Also trimming down my Google Reader.
  • Practice negotiating.
  • Mix in passion projects.
  • Create things that I’d love.
  • Take more risks creatively and financially.

If you didn’t go this year, prioritize it next year. I met everyone I admire, made new friends, and soaked it all in. Get this…I only brought 2 business cards. I totally forgot to bring more because I was so excited to just learn and observe. It was perfect. And now for some fun shots from my iPhone.

We ate at Barroco Grill (so many sauces!), The Root Cafe (GF fudge scones!), Happy Dog (not as good as Dirty Franks) and stayed at the InterContinental Suites (Hotwire, FTW!). All fabulous. Cleveland rocks.

I spent way too much money on prints & publications (I don’t regret a single purchase) and even got that rad photo with Alonzo Felix and Johnny Cupcakes! And then our A/C stopped working in our car and so we enjoyed the ride home with the windows down. One of the best weekends of my life. A huge thanks to Joseph and Jeff for everything. See you next year!

*ahem….longest blog post ever? possibly.

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Comments (22)

  • Wow! I was wishing really really hard for someone to publish a summary of the WMC Fest. But you went the extra light year. This is absolutely brilliant! Thanks a million

  • This recap was outstanding! Allison, wow, you didn’t have to make all those awesome pictures and quotes and captions, you went all out! Awesome awesome awesome.

    So happy you are part of WMC Fest!

  • I love this post! Wish we could’ve meet up. Looking forward to connecting more on twitter and reading more of your posts! Keep up the awesome work! @createmh

  • Shanna

    Would love to know more about the resolution to cut your Facebook friends down to 20–did someone speak on that? What’s the reasoning? Are you cutting down to reduce distractions or for a different purpose?

    • Hi Shanna! Good question. I decided to cut down FB friends for a few reasons. First of all, I followed most of my FB friends on Twitter so there was constant double posting. I also felt like I would login and waste too much time looking at peoples’ photos and status updates. Most of my close family and friends don’t even update regularly but I still like to share my own photos with them (and see theirs from time to time). By cutting it down, I can use it for personal interaction when I decide to login.

      Johnny Cupcakes spoke about how many people spend (aka waste) a lot of time with social media, tv, drinking, etc and those are things he has chosen to essentially eliminate or reduce. I took a look at where I was spending my time and realized FB was sort of a time sucker.

      Lastly, I miss seeing old acquaintances in real life and allowing myself to be genuinely curious about what they’re up to! With FB, I always knew and sort of felt like a creeper.

      Hope that helps!! Thanks for the comment.

  • What is WMC Fest? It looks awesome! Do they have one in London?

    I want to go to there :(

    As well as WHAT you said (Margot Harrington’s 5 fingers = awesome), I have to say that I LOVE the way you communicated it.

    • Not in London…yet! Ha just something that started in Cleveland, Ohio in 2010. It’s growing but you should make a trip over for it next year!

      You should definitely want to come to here :)

  • Great post! Really nice visuals and summaries of the speakers. I have a little post up on my site too. I collected some lettering from a few speakers, artists, and attendees at WMC.

    • hit enter to soon…Check out the lettering at raquelcps.com or directly on my blog, chipubskills.blogspot.com
      Again, really great post, Allison. Thanks for sharing.

  • I would have loved to see Austin Kleon. His personality seems so nice and thoughtful–I feel like that really would have come through in a talk. Also I guess he recommended Sam Anderson’s twitter account, and he is one of my favorite writers! The tough thing about his advice is how simple it is, and yet I never do it! I never have just one notebook at a time, and I never seem to have it with me.

    • He does seem really genuine. And his mom was such a nice lady! I’m excited to start pinpointing my favorite authors and to research my favorite artists’ influencers. It’s inspired me to read a few bios of my favorite painters too.

  • Allison, this looks amazing!!!!!! I need to go next year and thanks for the thorough recap, love it!! xo

  • This looks so inspiring! I’ve never even heard of this seminar, or whatever it is, but it looks like something that I would really benefit from.

    I love this –> “Allow myself to have obsessions and collections”. I sometimes try to censor my creative whims, but that’s probably the exact opposite of what I should be doing if I hope to keep developing as a designer and artist!

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