Why Robert Hoekman, Jr’s reaction vindicates Whitney Hess

I’ll keep this short.

Robert, in his post “That’s enough, Whitney Hess” [now removed from his blog], challenges Whitney’s right to be considered a leader in the UX community. I think Robert is missing something though – the major focus of most of Whitney’s speaking engagements (in my opinion) – is that anyone can have a voice. She’s been very open about the fact that she was unknown in 2008 and yet now regularly speaks and keynotes. That’s very inspiring to many, many UX professionals.

I consider it a mark of her success that members of the “UX establishment” – generally older, male, more experienced and published – don’t “get her” (and lets face it, it’s not just Robert). They’re not her target audience.

I’m not suggesting that Whitney’s message is the only one that should be told – and to paraphrase Robert himself – i’m certainly not attacking him, however, isn’t there room for multiple messages appropriate to all of the different audiences out there?

That is all.

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2 Responses to “Why Robert Hoekman, Jr’s reaction vindicates Whitney Hess”


  1. 1 Anne Gibson June 29, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    1. There are plenty of places to learn about UX and plenty of things to be said. If there was only one voice, our catchphrase wouldn’t be “It depends.”

  2. 2 Den Mother Gina June 29, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    There are other UX professionals who might have more pertinent messages to extol that can wave the “I am new to speaking to our profession, but look anyone can do it flag.”

    After getting frustrated at looking for something new to learn/hear I am jumping on the bandwagon of calling for renewed emphasis on speaker excellence – excellence in contribution, excellence in presentation, excellence in leaving the audience with useful, usable, desirable tools/info that they can take away and use to make themselves better.


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