Wharton Web Conference, A Q&A With Scott McNulty

Image via Wharton

The Wharton Web Conference is an annual event that brings together designers, developers, and web enthusiasts in the Philly area every year with the opportunity to hear from some of the best in the industry and do some serious networking.

We caught up with event co-chair (and previous Geek of the Week!) Scott McNulty to get talk more about what the conference is and why it’s such a great local event.

Give us the elevator pitch. What is the Wharton Web Conference?

The Wharton Web Conference brings together designers, programmers, project managers and other IT professionals for a day jam packed full of learning, sharing, and networking in an academic setting.

What’s your role in the whole thing?

I’m a co-chair of the conference this year, along with my colleague Jerricka Hill. As co-chairs we’re responsible for planning the conference as a whole along with a great group of volunteers who form the conference committee.

Past conferences have had a great mix of local experts and industry luminaries leading sessions and panels, from Jessica Ivins and Anil Dash to Steve Wozniak. How do you decide who will be involved each year?

The process is pretty simple: the committee gathers and identifies the important trend/topics in web development and culture that we think are worth exploring.

We take those ideas and use them as the basis for sessions we’d like to attend and then identify speakers who are experts in those subjects. We contact the speakers, and working with them we refine the idea of the session. Repeat nine times and you have the Wharton Web Conference schedule!

This year, the keynote is going to be from someone near and dear to our geek hearts, Felicia Day. How’d that come about?

Former conference co-chair, and current conference committee member, Tim Allen has something of a WoW… interest. It was his idea to have Felicia Day keynote the conference this year to talk about her experiences creating compelling content on the web, something which she has an uncanny knack for.

A committee member, Maria Sciarrino, came up with the idea for the culture track which compliments Felicia Day’s keynote nicely.

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The conference is split into dev, design, and culture tracks. What can attendees expect from each?

This year’s conference theme is “Transforming the Way You Think,” which is the mantra we’ve brought to all the sessions in each track this year.

The Dev track is focused on making your dev life easier: taking big data and actually using it for something, explaining how DevOps radically changes the normal relationship between developers and operations folks, and learning how to pick the right framework for any project.

The Design track is, surprisingly enough, focused on design from making great mobile sites, to using accessibility as a design tool and taking that leap from publishing a website to publishing your own magazine.

Finally, the Culture track is brand new this year and I think it is going to be a big hit. This track is focused on things that are related to the Web in general, but aren’t design/dev topics. This track includes sessions about the trend of measuring and logging data about yourself, how ideas go viral, and what the web can learn from cities.

That’s 3 tracks with a total of 9 sessions, and I think each each session is a winner!

Is there a session or two that you’re most looking forward to?

This is like asking a parent to pick their favorite child! The thing that bums me out most is not being able to attend every session.

What else should we know? Now’s your chance to sell it!

Every year attendees tell us how much impact this conference has on their work. The speakers are always highly rated, and we really take pride in not only having a great line up of sessions but also providing all the little things that make a conference going experience enjoyable: good and fantastic food and beverages, comfortable facilities, and many opportunities to network with follow conference goers.

I am ever so slightly biased, but I think you’d be hard pressed to find another conference with this level of speaker for such a reasonable price, and all in Philadelphia!

The Wharton Web Conference is July 30th, 2013. Tickets are still available here.


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