ALT Summit, Project Runway and Blogging about Bloggers

The Altitude Design Summit – affectionately known as ALT –brings together design and lifestyle bloggers to share ideas and gain inspiration.  I was there last week on behalf of HP, but something happened along the way. Meeting all those wonderful bloggers inspired me to write my very first post for The Next Bench.


Between ALT and Sundance Film Festival, Utah was buzzing with creative minds and activity.

I had no idea that there would be so many passionate bloggers that would be here, covering everything from home décor to graphic design and purse making. More than 300 bloggers arrived from various places, even Hong Kong (Natasha Lawler at Minted,) excited to share best practices and learn from each other.


My first experience at ALT kicked off with a blogger dinner, where I learned just how small the community really is.  Some bloggers reconnected, some met in person for the first time and others were simply admiring each other’s work. Often I heard someone say, “Oh I know your site, I love it, and I’m so excited to meet you!” 


Sitting at my table were some well-known design and lifestyle bloggers – Erin Loechner of Design for Mankind, Allison Bloom at Remodelista, Jaime Derringer at Design Milk, Liz Gumbinner at Cool Mom Picks – and our own notebook design head, Stacy Wolff.  Lots of conversation centered on everyone’s “story” and how they started blogging, plus the fusion of design and tech in the products we see today.  


ALT’s first session – all about how to grow your community – was packed. And if the frenzied activity in the hallways meant anything, then the rest of the sessions were just as informative. I spent most of my day meeting with a bunch of bloggers, talking about HP’s PC design philosophy. And yes,  we also gave them sneak peeks at some of our upcoming notebooks and desktops. Kelly Beall at Design Crush immediately recognized the 3D endangered animal design on our Mini 110 as designer Toord Boontje’s work, while Allison Czarnecki from Petit Elefant had the most design-forward business cards I’ve seen in a long time. (I’ve never been to an event where the business cards truly reflected the person’s style and personality.)



On the agenda for lunch was HP’s keynote with Stacy Wolff and Project Runway designers Seth Aaron Henderson (winner of Season 7) and Mondo Guerra (winner of HP design challenge from Season 8).


Virtually everyone at the event was in that room, waiting to hear from three true design pros on the intersection of design and technology. The keynote had an informal feel, with Stacy offering some opening comments and then launching into a Q&A and discussion with the Project Runway guys. 


Probably the one Q&A that elicited the most laughs and tweets from the audience was Seth Aaron’s comment that Crocs are the one item women should never leave the house wearing.


On a more inspirational note, Mondo answered the same question with, “there are more important issues to be addressed than getting up and getting dressed.” (Those who watched the HP design challenge from Season 8 of Project Runway remember hearing Mondo announce his personal battle with HIV and saw the reflection of this in his award-winning and stunning garment.)


Overall, both designers were genuine, funny and thrilled to meet their many fans. 


Now that I’m back in Houston, I’m eager to stay in contact with the wonderful people I met. I'm wondering how many of them will be headed to the Mom 2.0 Summit in New Orleans in April. (Maybe I can find a way to jazz up my own business cards before then…)


Does this get you thinking about PC design? What would you like to see next? Tell me what you think in the comments.

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