After a great Day One, our flock of really smart people came back today for Day Two. With twelve sessions, here are my highlights as I flitted about as staff photographer and occasional contributor.

Simona Brusa Pasqué led a discussion about designers founding or co-founding startups, not only making the argument about how it makes sense but also how hard it can be and sharing some of her lessons learned.

Nadya Direkova from Google led a lively discussion about how to gamify almost anything, even gene sequencing. While Yu Shan Chuang from Rosetta continued to explore another aspect about the role of the designer in organizations, touching about apprenticeships, mentoring and industry community.

Chris Noessel and Stefan Klocek from Cooper delivered Part 2 of their hypothesis about the future of interfaces (paralingual linguistics?) and visions of a very sci-fi future.

Marc Escobosa from Arena Solutions talked about the buyer’s journey and how to design marketing to drive the buyer from one stage to the next—echoing Marisa Gallagher’s talk yesterday—and drawing parallels between experience design and marketing. My takeaway: Design—big D—must not only be involved in product development, but also the marketing of that product.

Andrew Crow from GE reminded us that there could be some extreme conditions in which our users might be using our products, such as in space where an unshielded tablet could be fried by the immense radiation from the sun.

Dan Albritton from MegaPhone Labs made the argument that the smartphone in our pocket is the ultimate controller for anything and everything.

If I were to some up both days of the conference, I would say that there were two emerging themes. The first was really about the role of the experience designer today and how it’s changing. It’s more than just determining the best interaction for an e-commerce shopping cart or best practices for forms. It’s expanding to business strategy, product development, brand and marketing. The second theme was clearly about the future and how we as designers need to be ready for it. Interfaces will only become more varied (ubiquity of smartphones, voice control, ocular control, agents and robots from Futurama) and surprisingly more human.

On a personal note—just like RE:DESIGN/CD—it was really awesome to see old friends. As an initial speaker list, I reached out to many of my former UX friends from past lives and was really happy to see them: Marisa, Sarah, Nadya, and Tim from the Razorfish days; Chris and Dan from the marchFIRST days; and meeting John Nack in person after corresponding with him about my iPad app DesignScene.