Brian Feeney

Designer & Front-End Developer

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Resident of Brooklyn, NY. Senior Product Designer at the Wall Street Journal.

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October 26, 2014

Brooklyn Beta 2014

As an attendee to the fifth and final Brooklyn Beta, I feel I owe myself a blog post on the experience. I didn’t take any notes while there, though. For that I’ll point you towards Erica Heinz's post, which seems wonderfully complete. The talks were all good, some were great, and a couple will stay with me for a long while.

As this was my second year, I feel I have a better handle on what made the conference so great. It’s the motto: “Make something you love.” Chris and Cameron filled the rooms of BB with people who love making things on the Internet. And that simple fact created an atmosphere full of fun, inspiration, and comraderie.

Those of us who love making things for the Internet, we’re a different kind of people, it turns out. We’re a legit tribe. We encourage people to talk about their passions, and then we encourage them to make them happen. We’re people who love to make things and love to hear about what other people are making. Not everyone is like this. And not everyone needs to be, of course. But BB brought these types of people together. Being one of them, I found it a wonderful experience.

In the week post-Beta, I ended up in two situations where I was among large groups of friends and acquaintances. There was plenty of fun and good-time-vibes, but even so they were missing that stange BB spark. They were missing that central love of making things for the Internet.

I’m an introvert in my core. But it was somehow very refreshing to have conversation after conversation with friends and strangers for three whole days without really wearing down. Why? I can’t really say, except to guess it has something to do with the shared curiosity and enthusiasm at the conference. Maybe I’m not really an introvert through and through. Maybe I feel energized when I’m able to talk freely about making things. I love hearing what people are designing and building and dreaming about one day creating. It’s so much fun.

So there won’t be another Brooklyn Beta, but I really hope something fills the void it left. Maybe all I need to do is keep in touch with the people I met there and keep those conversations going. They’re going to keep building and making things whether or not there’s a yearly conference to attend. I want to keep up with them. I want to encourage them. And I want them to encourage me. I want all these good Brooklyn Beta vibes to keep vibing.