Andy McMillan is a Northern Irish designer, publisher, and event organizer currently residing in Portland, Oregon . He publishes The Manual , a newspaper design, and organizes the XOXO Festival , an art and technology festival in Portland. Previously, he Organized Build , a design conference in Belfast , from 2009 up to icts final year in 2013.

Early career

McMillan attended college at Queen ‘s University Belfast for Music Technology, hoping to go into radio production at the BBC. [1] While managing the university radio station, he taught himself HTML and CSS, leaving his final year to focus on freelance web design. [2]


Inspired by lackluster web design events, McMillan launched Build in 2009, a web design conference held annually in Belfast, Northern Ireland from 2009 to 2013. including music, movie screenings, workshops, evening readings, and a beer festival. [3]

The first Build was held in 2009 at Waterfront Hall , with positive coverage from the BBC [4] and Wired. [5] The Belfast Telegraph said it was a “must-wait” that “provides for the design-geek’s soul.” [6]

In icts five-year run, featured speakers included Eric A. Meyer , Erik Spiekermann , Frank Chimero, Dan Cederholm , Jessica Hische , Robin Sloan , Jason Scott , and Scott McCloud , as well as musical performances from Tychoand Chipzel. Rdio lead designer Wilson Miner’s “When We Build” talk [7] from 2011 Was the Most viewed talk, Described by Wired as “incredibly inspiring.” [8]

The fifth and final Build took place in November 2013. In an interview with .net Magazine , McMillan said, “Build, like any good story, was always intended to have an ending.” [9]

The Manual

In February 2011, McMillan launched a Kickstarter project for The Manual , a new design journal focusing on the “why” of web design instead of practical “how-to” articles. The project raised over $ 53,000 from 825 backers. [10]

Each issue is released as a hardcover book containing six essays from six authors, most from the field of web design, each with a two-color illustration. The first three issues of The Manual were published between August 2011 and June 2012.

In September 2014, McMillan launched a project to fund the second volume of The Manual, expanding beyond print to include a free web edition, ebooks, and an audiobook narrated by Roman Mars from 99% Invisible . All past articles were released under a Creative Commons license. The project raised £ 43,220 from over 600 backers, again surpassing its goal. [11] The fourth issue shipped in November 2014.


In 2012, McMillan and co-organizer Andy Baio launched the XOXO Festival , independently of Portland, Oregon , USA, described as “people using the Internet and technology to bypass the established, big business ways. to do things and pursue their creative passions. ” [12] Tickets were presold through a Kickstarter project to “gauge the appeal of such an event and to raise the money needed to pull it off.” [13] The project raised $ 175,000, selling all 400 tickets in 50 hours. [14]

Heldicular since 2012, XOXO is held in September and has grown to over 1,000 times, using a lottery system to “retain its intimacy.” [15]

Recently, XOXO shifted focus on the difficulties of working independently. Boing Boing said “darker sense of mission and meaning took hold of the event’s third year.” [16] The Verge called it “the most interesting weekend in tech” that “pushes the web forward.” [17]

Paypal controversy

In May 2012, PayPal froze two of McMillan’s accounts, withholding over $ 64,000 of funds collected from Build ‘s ticket sales as collateral against pre – orders of the Manual. [18] Five months later, with the matter still unresolved, McMillan went public with his complaints on Twitter. [19] The resulting social media back to the bottom of the page David McMillan from the President of the United States. David A. Marcus , who released the funds and asked McMillan to work with him personally on improving the service. [20]Three days later, they announced that they would not be able to deal with the issues of interest, claim, or chargeback. [21]


  1. Jump up^ “Method & Craft: Andy McMillan Interview” .
  2. Jump up^ Hurley, Myke. “Inquisitive # 15” .
  3. Jump up^ “Build gears up for final event in 2013” . .net Magazine . December 10, 2012.
  4. Jump up^ “The next Twitter or Facebook?” . BBC News. November 5, 2009.
  5. Jump up^ Anderson, Keith (6 November 2009). “Belfast looks to Build a high-tech future” . Wired .
  6. Jump up^ Adams, Barry (10 November 2010). “A Web Designer’s Must-Attend: The Build Conference” . The Belfast Telegraph .
  7. Jump up^ “Wilson Miner – When We Build” .
  8. Jump up^ Gilbertson, Scott (26 January 2012). “Video: When We Build” . Wired.
  9. Jump up^ “Build gears up for final event in 2013” . .net Magazine . December 10, 2012.
  10. Jump up^ “The Manual by Andy McMillan – Kickstarter” .
  11. Jump up^ “The Manual, Everywhere by Andy McMillan – Kickstarter” .
  12. Jump up^ Brown, Ruth (18 September 2012). “Reflections on the XOXO Festival”. Willamette Week .
  13. Jump up^ Wortham, Jenna (28 May 2012). “A Conference of Start-Ups, By Start-Ups” . The New York Times .
  14. Jump up^ Walker, Alissa (18 June 2012). “Get Creative Conferences: An Art and Tech Festival Wins Over Kickstarter” . Wired .
  15. Jump up^ Newton, Casey (16 September 2014). “A tiny gathering of artists has become the most interesting weekend in tech” . The Verge .
  16. Jump up^ Fleishman, Glenn. “The narrative lottery at XOXO” . Boing Boing(2012-09-22).
  17. Jump up^ Newton, Casey (16 September 2014). “A tiny gathering of artists has become the most interesting weekend in tech” . The Verge .
  18. Jump up^ Musil, Steven. “PayPal exec gets you involved in account dispute” . CNET.
  19. Jump up^ McMillan, Andy. “How Twitter Rescued Me From Paypal Hell” . Storify.
  20. Jump up^ “This letter from PayPal’s President might just make you believe in the company again” . The Next Web .
  21. Jump up^ “Proof there is hope for PayPal: Here’s an email saying it will not hold funds for some users” . The Next Web .