Refresh Recap: On Regeneration

No matter how busy life gets, Refresh the Triangle is one event I always try to make time for. I find the talks motivating and love the people that come back month after month. Last night's event was no different. Except that it was, because it featured 3 of Viget's finest -- Peyton Crump, Clinton Nixon and Brian Williams. How cool is that?

Over 60 people filled the space at the American Underground, a great start-up space at the American Tobacco Campus in the middle of downtown Durham. We kicked off the new year with a new format designed to make Refresh events more well rounded. Instead of a single speaker and topic, the new format splits the time between speakers from three disciplines. All three tackled the same topic -- "Regeneration: When old becomes new again". 

Peyton Crump, Design Director at Viget, kicked off the night with an introduction to Responsive Web Design. It's a topic I'm always excited to hear more about. He reminded us of the liquid layouts that were all the rage (among some, mostly non-designers) a decade ago. Then he shared how things have come full circle, and how responsive design can be a more successful solution for solving the big/small space problem. I loved how he connected fluid layouts, something we all cringe to remember working with, to a newer technique with tons of potential. Relevant links can be found on his delicious account: http://www.delicious.com/pcrump/refresh-responsiveness

Next up was Clinton Nixon, our Development Director. Clinton's talks are always hilarious and accessible. Even though I'm a designer, I always enjoy seeing him talk about things he is passionate about. He pulled together a great introduction to old programming languages like Lisp and Smalltalk, and then showed how modern languages like Ruby and JavaScript were rooted in these early ancestors. For visual thinkers like me, it was great to see the interactive map that he pulled together clearly showing how each language is related. If you're interested, his talk -- Antique Programming Road Show -- is available online: slides  |  talk text

Brian Williams, Viget's CEO and co-founder, rounded out the night with a talk that everyone could appreciate. He made the case for loyalty, explaining why both businesses and employees benefit from making a long-term commitment to one another. He outlined the financial and the mental payoffs for both sides, and gave concrete ideas for building that culture - like encouraging learning at every level, keeping your team on payroll even during down times, and willingly turning down money for work that isn't going to make your employees happy. Having a familial culture is rare in today's job market, but I for one can certainly vouch for its effectiveness. This is one of the many things that makes Viget such a fantastic place to work and grow.

I found the new format to be a nice change of pace. There really was something for everyone, and it moved very quickly. It's fun to see how Refresh the Triangle keeps evolving as the community grows. If you haven't made it out to a Refresh event yet, it's time to give it a try!

Next month's meeting will be a social hour (no speakers, lots of conversation) on Thursday, February 25, 6:30PM at City Beverage in Durham. See you there?

Mindy is a managing art director in our Durham, NC, office. She emphasizes clarity, communication, and connection for client such as The Nature Conservancy.

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