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The center of the technical communications world will be in Portland, Oregon starting October 12, 2014, as the LavaCon Content Strategy and User Experience Conference comes to the Rose City. Organized more than ten years ago in Hawaii by Jack Molisani, LavaCon started as a regional conference for the Society for Technical Communication (STC). I was there with Jack as his loyal program manager, and I’ve watched him grow LavaCon into an annual festival of best practices and top insights by some of the leading technical writers around the world.

The first keynote promises to get things off to a roaring start, with IBM’s Andrea Ames leading the charge. Her talk, entitled “Forget the Future – Create the Future!” should kick things off in grand style. Andrea and I go way back – I recruited her to speak to the local Willamette Valley Chapter of STC back in 1998, before she was President of the international organization. She brought the house down that night, and I’ve been an “Andrea groupie” ever since, as she’s continued to wow audiences with her insights and enthusiasm.

The second keynote, from Kristina Halvorson at Brain Traffic, should be another adrenaline boost. I don’t know her as well, so I’m copying liberally from her speaker notes. Kristina is widely recognized as one of the most important voices in content strategy. She was instrumental in establishing content strategy as an essential practice in UX design, communications strategy, and organizational design. Her book, Content Strategy for the Web, is considered the gold standard for content strategy literature and is credited with laying the foundation for a now rapidly evolving industry.

The stems for the conference focus on the key issues facing content creators and technical communicators: Content Strategy, User Experience, Management & Implementation, Strategy & UX, Generating Revenue, Structured Authoring, Localization, and Case Studies. The speakers represent top companies in the industry, including IBM, Microsoft, Adobe, and Oracle. Sponsors include Adobe, WebWorks, Madcap Software, Single-Sourcing Solutions, XML Press, and many more. Face it: this conference has the tech comm spotlight shining on it, covering everything from strategy to technical solutions. It’s like the World’s Fair of Content.

RH+M3 will be there for all the action, reporting on highlights as they occur. We’ll be on the floor, behind the scenes, prowling the vendor booths for swag, and interviewing top experts. Join us as we dive in!

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