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Depending on where your hotel room was situated at the Hotel Solamar your anticipated bedtime may have been delayed (windows facing the pool were treated to a fratty party scene of epic proportions). Luckily, there was somewhat of a wakeup call this morning at the Y Conference.

First, Christopher Simmons from MINE delivered a casual, no pretense heart-to-heart that was a pretty nice deviation from the canned presentation–and this is coming from a guy who made police tape that says EVERYTHING IS OK and puts it up in random places to see what people do. We like that. Simmons also gets bonus points for the Thomas Kinkade reference.

And when Hank Richardson from the Portfolio Center took the stage, the mood shifted yet again. Beginning with bashing the new branding direction for Uncle Ben’s as way of example (very frightening, check it out), Richardson ranted and raved about design ethics for the better part of an hour, even as the “time’s up” light flashed in vain. Soon the hot pink slides matched Richardson’s rosy cheeks and we felt like we were back in school–or church; this was design fire and brimstone! Richardson acknowledged that he always gets dragged off the stage, “I don’t even get warmed up in 35 minutes.” But the bottom line from Richardson’s presentation: When it comes to great design work, it’s ALL personal. And it was pretty obvious to everyone in attendance that this is one man who practices what he preaches.