I got back late last Wednesday night from this year’s South by Southwest Interactive Festival (aka “spring break for nerds”) with my head full of new ideas and my body sore from abuse. This was inspired by Scott Porad’s list of learnings and when I read his, I realized that mine were completely different, illustrating how different an experience SXSW can be for different people.
- Tiny cheap computers (Raspberry Pi), 3d printing (MakerBot), practically free sensors & low power connectivity (Fitbit) are an amazing marriage that will create a future I can’t predict (but it’s happening now). The Raspberry Pi is about the size of Altoids tin, how small can this go? What other applications can a connected, low powered sensor drive? I think the key to this future is thinking about what we can (or should) do with all this power. No one wants SkyNet, but I think there are other more pleasant possible outcomes.
- Peter Thiel has a depressing outlook on the United States, but in some ways, it’s hard not to agree with him. I guess I should move to China if I want happy times?
- John Biehler reminded me that hobbies can lead to interesting new things to work on. Everything I’ve been successful in life doing has started off as a hobby.
- Most product people wrestle not having enough capacity to do all the things they want to do. Capacity to build still outweighs deciding what to build.
- Creating a social/mobile/local marketplace is super difficult, but if you nail it, you can own it. The trick is identifying the market and starting VERY specifically (a neighborhood or a demographic in a city). Some examples include Zaarly & Lyft.
- There are lots of hosting companies that offer hosting for free for a limited amount of time. Img.ur used 3 providers before moving into AWS. Bootstrapping means a level of frugality that might be tough for people who are accustomed to having the “best” or “easiest”
- Having a team of crack networkers working together and understanding each other’s agenda’s is a great way to divide and conquer (even if we were the “Grumpy Old Men” of the Internet).
This past week, I was in Austin, Texas for this year’s SXSWi Festival. This is my sixth time at SXSW and I always return a little rougher than when I left. This year, I have stats!
I took roughly ~15,000 steps or put another way, walked about 7 miles a day, including two travel days, which reduce the averages a bit. While there are lots of ways to get around without walking (cabs, petticabs, HootSuite buses), walking is usually your fastest way to get short distances. ProTip: always bring 2 pairs of shoes.
A little less measurable was the undesired side effect of talking loudly at parties as my voice is still a little scratchy. RAWR.
I was down in LA for the Twitter Conference, 140TC, last week. The conference was slated to be the intersection of Hollywood and Silicon Valley, which might be two of the weirdest places on earth. The conference didn’t disappoint. I mean, where else could I meet Tony Robbins, The Iron Sheik and Biz Stone, all on the same day?
What do I do with all those photos? This is a question that I frequently get asked from folks at events I photograph.
At the last Ignite event, I took 1600 photos and posted 46 of them (just about 3%). Not all of the unposted photos were duds, but they weren’t as good as the photos that I did post. While I want to thoroughly cover an event, I try to post only the best photos of the night.
Portraits in a Dark Theater
Taking pictures at many events (especially Ignite) are challenging due to unique and difficult lighting situations. Couple that with people who are moving around a lot and talking about something that they are passionate about, capturing a passable photo, let alone a good one can be hard.
I aspire to always 1. make the person look as good as possible and 2. capture the essence of the speaker and their material. Occasionally, I succeed.
Looking over my shoulder
Here’s a quick, three minute video (really a super-fast slideshow) that shows you the photos I posted among all the pictures that I took. Hopefully it conveys the pruning and curating process I go through before I post a photo set.
Gnomedex 2009 marked my 4th Gnomedex and it seems that they get better every year. Gnomedex has always made me think in ways I hadn’t thought, meet people I had not met and do things I wouldn’t otherwise do. I view going to Gnomedex as a kind of engineered randomness with known constraints.
But one thing missing from all of this is a good way to look at the folks who are on a given panel. I made a little spreadsheet that has the panels broken out by the people giving them, it’s derived from the official list here, but sortable so you can find the folks you might want to see and the panel they are on.
Unfortunately, I didn’t incorporate the times they are happening, but this is a good way to insure you don’t miss the people you truly want to see.