Harry Keller: Daunting Digital

The long que outside a full-to-capacity TYPO Show room was an accurate indication that this talk was a popular one. The topic? “Daunting Digital: A Wake Up Call”, by web developer (and colleague) at Edenspiekermann, Harry Keller.

This was the message Harry imparted on the audience, with a wry sense of humour, often prompting laugh-aloud moments while still conveying invaluable a advice to the audience. My personal favourite: After showing a photograph of an old-fashioned 70’s-style furnished room as visual analogy for print design, Harry invited the audience to guess what image he would use to visualise digital (“perhaps a futuristic spaceship?”). The actual image? An ugly, disorganised construction site — “Digital NEEDS designers!”.

“Don’t fear digital. Digital needs designers — ”

Harry Keller, Foto © Alex Blumhoff

Given the large student attendance at this year’s conference, it was surprising to get a sense of how few were engaged in digital work. At one point, Harry asked the audience “So, how many people here have a Twitter amount?”. The response was surprising — I would guess less than 10% of the audience raised their hands. And we can probably assume that if the 90% don’t have a Twitter account, it’s unlikely that they are working in the digital design. So, did this mean the talk on digital was a hard sell? It seemed not. Harry’s easy and witty presentation style engaged the room and one could sense the young audience was inspired.

By the end of the talk, when Harry stepped into a very practical “So, what do you do now?” segment, giving advice on the best resources for budding digital recruits, almost the entire audience produced every manner of digital device capable of taking a photo — iPhones, iPads and even old school cameras — to capture the presentation slides displayed.

Harry Keller

Harry Keller

Developer, Scrum-Master (Berlin)

Harry Keller is a design-minded developer and scrum master, who has worked on websites and apps used by tens of thousands of people every day. With more than a decade of experience he helped to build the digital team at Edenspiekermann in Berlin and is currently working on web products and services at A Color Bright, for clients such as the Red Bull Music Academy and Ableton.

Perhaps this was the most telling moment of how much the talk connected with the audience.

So, is digital still daunting? Perhaps. But after this talk, the fear seemed a lot more manageable.


Paul Woods