Yesterday was the final day of UX Week 2008, and our final speaker was Bruce Sterling. Though I’d heard of Bruce during the rise of cyberpunk, I was never all that aware of him until I attended South by Southwest Interactive in 1999. He was a legendary presence at the event, both providing the final thoughts to the attendees, and hosting a rocking party at his house.
I had the fortune of Bruce speaking at another event of mine, IDEA 2006, where he did a remarkable job of summarizing the proceedings and goading the audience into doing not what is interesting, but is important. So, as we were planning UX Week, I asked him if he’d be interested in a similar role, and, happily for me, he agreed.
Yesterday, as I was thinking of how to introduce him, I was reminded of a photograph taken at South by Southwest Interactive in 2000. Titled “Bruce’s Loo,” it me and a number of friends shot in a mirror in a bathroom at Bruce’s house during his closing party that year. It used to be on Heather’s Mirror Project, but that site seems down. Luckily, Bruce had it in a blog post, so I took the image, and made sure it was big on the screen during the introduction:
It’s a funny image. Four of the folks in that photo became somewhat famous internet couples — Jason and Meg, Derek and Heather — and both couples actually met at the conference that year. I suppose you could count a third internet couple in there — me and Jesse (yes, that gentleman on the far right is the same as this gentleman), a year before we started Adaptive Path, where we’re now the last two remaining founders. Also in the photo is Judith, and the elusive Misty West (real name!) who is now a rancher north of San Francisco.