23–25 January 2019
Nottingham UK

The World-Wide Work

Ethan Marcotte

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Talk abstract

These days, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. The tech industry is facing a veritable raft of ethical, moral, and political crises. Automation and industrialisation are reshaping our world. And sitting in the middle of all that? You and me. We’re digital designers, we’re developers, we’re product owners. But each day, our work is changing — more quickly than it ever has before.

Here’s the question we have to ask ourselves: what do we want that change to be? In this talk, we’ll look at some of the challenges facing our industry, and ask ourselves: what kind of work do we want to do?

Resources for this talk


This might be the best conference talk I’ve ever seen. It’s certainly the most important.

Jeremy Keith

Thank you, Ethan—from the bottom of my heart—for your talk, for the insightful stories, for the important message, for making us think! This was really powerful and I know I will remember it for a long while to come!

Prisca Schmarsow

A room full with hundreds of designers, developers, and other web-centric professions, instantly breaking out into a rapturous applause to what was being presented is something I don’t think I’ll ever forget. It felt like a call to arms; for us to come together to make use of the power that we hold in the work that we do, and not to be optimistic, but to hope.

Westley Knight

There are challenges for sure, but together we can effect a change. It’s time for us to step up and take responsibility. One of the most important talks I’ll see in my career.

Garrett Coakley

Ethan Marcotte, who everyone knows for Responsive Web Design was surely going to talk about making websites right? Wrong. Well, right but in a different way.

Shane Hudson

I still don’t really know how to sum up the talk, but I’m very grateful I was able to hear it. When the rest of the world wide web gets to hear Ethan’s talk, it will change the way we all work.

Justine Pocock, Code Enigma

A powerful look at the ethics, morals and political use of the web today.

Kirsty Burgoine

One of the world’s most influential web technologists gave a talk featuring this slide today. Things are changing, my loves. #naconf

We need to unionize, my loves

Cennydd Bowles

About Ethan

Ethan Marcotte is a web designer, speaker, and author. He’s perhaps best known for coining the term “responsive web design”, to describe a new way of designing for the ever-changing Web. In fact, Ethan has written two popular books on the topic, Responsive Web Design and Responsive Design: Patterns and Principles. Over the years, his clientele has included New York Magazine, the Sundance Film Festival, The Boston Globe, and People Magazine.

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