Archive for the ‘Conferences’ Category

Thoughts on SXSWi 2013

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

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.

Canadians are awesome.

– 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).

Brisket at Stubb’s is really, really good.

Abusing My Body at SXSW

Sunday, March 17th, 2013

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!

Fitbit SXSW

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.

140TC – The Twitter Conference

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

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?

Huge thanks to conference organizers, The Parnassus Group (and my pal, Jason Preston) for putting this fantastic conference together.

Photos from 140tc

Needless to say, I snapped a few pix that I’ve posted below. Naturally, there are more on Flickr.

Biz Stone @ 140tc
Biz Stone of Twitter
Tony Robbins - 140tc
Veronica Belmont - 140TC
The Iron Sheik - 140TC

Guy Kawasaki - 140TC

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What do you do with all those photos?

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

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.

You can watch the HD version on YouTube and the final photo set from Ignite Seattle 7 is here.

Gnomedex 9 Recap in Photos

Friday, September 4th, 2009

Filed under: better late than never.

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.

Gnomedex is also a place for me make new friends and to catch up with friends that I don’t get to see all that often. This year was no different (although I did miss one person in particular). Drop me a line if I haven’t said hi after this year’s Gnomedex.

Words, rather than photos

If you’re looking for a wrap up or summary of Gnomedex 2009 in words, rather than pictures, here are few of best that I’ve read.

Gnomedex 2009 Pix

Here are my favorite pictures from this year’s Gnomedex (some of which have been posted over on my photoblog).

Frank Eliason (@comcastcares) - Gnomedex 2009

Frank Eliason – ComcastCares

Betsy describes Bing's ad budget - Gnomedex 2009


Betsy Aoki

Gnomedex 2009

Printed head from Bre’s Maker Bot 3d printer.

Lee LeFever and Kris Krug - Gnomedex 2009


Lee LeFever and Kris Krug

Fierce Buzz - Gnomedex 2009

Danielle Sipple (@fiercekitty) and Buzz Bruggeman

Mark Horvath - Gnomedex 2009


Mark Horvath

Amber Case - Gnomedex 2009 (crop)


Amber Case

Beth Goza (crop) - Gnomedex 2009


Beth Goza

Thanks

Big thanks to Chris Pirillo and all the folks that put on Gnomedex every year. Their tireless hard work that makes Gnomedex very special to me every year is very much appreciated.

More photos from my Gnomedex 2009 photoset

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SXSWi 2009 – Happy Cog’aoke Party Pix

Thursday, March 19th, 2009

So, as I was planning a separate post about the parties at SXSW I realized that it would be dominated by one as I had the most fun taking pictures of folks at Happy Cog’s karaoke party.

I’ve done karaoke (badly) and I’ve taken photos at parties before, but this party was special as they had fantastic lighting and super campy performances.

Here are some of my favorites:

Tara Hunt - Happy Cog'aoke Party - South by Southwest Interactive 2009


Tara Hunt channels Styx.

Jonathon Finnegan - Happy Cog'aoke - SXSWi 2009

Haveboard’s Humpty Dance

Schlomo Rabinowitz - Happy Cog'aoke Party - South by Southwest Interactive 2009

Feel the Power of Schlomo Rabinowitz

Armano - Happy Cog'aoke Party - South by Southwest Interactive 2009


David Armano lays down some Skynyrd.

Sarah Harrison - Happy Cog'aoke Party - South by Southwest Interactive 2009


Sarah Harrison had a story to tell about her little cat.

Happy Cog'aoke Party - South by Southwest Interactive 2009

Happy Coggers Rob Weychart and Kevin Hoffman gave us the time of our lives.

Happy Cog'aoke Party - South by Southwest Interactive 2009

Lauren Isaacson‘s spot on Winehouse brought the house down.

Happy Cog'aoke Party - South by Southwest Interactive 2009

Aaron Brazell represents. ‘Nuff said.

Thanks Happy Cog for a great party. Let’s do it again next year, shall we?

More Happy Cogaoke pictures here.

SXSWi People and Panels

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

There are numerous ways in which you can build your SXSWi Schedule this year including Sched, cerado ventana and the main SXSW site.

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.

See the whole list over at Google Docs

Northern Voice 2009 in Pictures

Monday, March 9th, 2009

This is the start of more photos being posted here on the blog. I’m taking lots of pictures and most of them just end up in my Flickr feed, but what fun is that?

Here are some of my favorites from Northern Voice 2009:

Nora Young - Northern Voice 2009

Nora Young

Eagranie Yuh - Northern Voice 2009

Eagranie Yuh

Kris Krug - Northern Voice 2009

Kris Krug

Northern Voice 2009-7

Dave Olson

Roland Tanglao - Northern Voice 2009

Roland Tanglao

Chris Heuer and Kim Cathers - Northern Voice 2009

Chris Heuer and Kim Cathers (not technically @Northern Voice)

Robert Scales - Northern Voice 2009

Robert Scales

More Northern Voice 2009 Pictures on Flickrh5

Northern Voice 2009 – Vancouver’s Finest

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

northernvoicebanner.jpg

I went to my first Northern Voice 2 years ago after meeting up with some of the organizers at the previous year’s Gnomedex and thinking, “hey, these guys are all right.” Northern Voice is one of my favorite conferences to go to because despite it’s small size, it attracts a wealth of interesting, insightful people who want to share their experiences.

This year I got a chance to catch up with old friends and make a bunch of new ones.

A few thank you’s.

Jim DeLaHunt took Jim DeLaHunt - Northern Voice 2009me up on my ride share offer and I ended up invited to his lovely downtown apartment to for dinner with his wife, Ducky and friend. Thanks for the great company, conversation and for lovely time (and letting me photograph your spectacular view).

Jeremy Latham is my new best friend. Northern Voice 2009-90Not only did we share several interests (well, besides the normal nerdy conference stuff), he fixed a CSS problem on my blog that I had puzzled over off and on for 6 months. Thanks to him, I’ll actually have a home on my blog for my photos soon!

Thanks to the organizers, volunteers and sponsors of Northern Voice. Every year seems to be better and better. Darren Barefoot put it best,

It’s a sausage party no longer. I have no proof of this, but it also feels more diverse in terms of the age and ethnicity of attendees.

I couldn’t agree more.

Some Northern Voice Highlights

Rob Cottingham Northern Voice 2009-88 seriously killed on stage with his send up of the blogging world. Particularly funny was his proposed meme of “3 people you’ve cheated on your spouse with.” I’ve got some video lying around somewhere that I’ll post soon.

PhotoCamp Tim Bray - Northern Voice 2009with Tim Bray as emcee was a departure from the past with less “prepared” material and more discussion. I actually felt like I had something to contribute this year and was a lot of fun.

Dave Olson‘s interview Bev Davies - Northern Voice 2009with Kris Krug and Bev Davies about rock and roll photography was fantastic. I had met Bev the day before after an intro by Peter Andersen and I had a lovely conversation, but had no idea she was so punk rock. Her pictures speak volumes.

There is too much to mention about what I liked about Northern Voice this year, so I’ll leave it at that. Can’t wait until next’s conference.

Check out my pictures of Northern Voice on Flickr.

Gnomedex 2008 Aftermath

Monday, August 25th, 2008

Dancing with Where the Hell is Matt? - Gnomedex 2008

Actually, other than being tired from having a four week old child at home and shooting 1000 pictures (thankfully, I didn’t post all of them), this year’s Gnomedex was distinctively lacking in an aftermath.

No controversy (I think) and lots of great speakers, ideas and attendees wrapped this year’s meetup into the best Gnomedex yet. I met a lot of really nice folks who wanted to share their ideas, projects, tattoos and good will.

My top moments at Gnomedex this year

What happened at Gnomedex?

There are lots of great summaries of the show out there, so I won’t give you mine. Here are some of the best.

Thank you

A huge thanks to Chris, Ponzi and the Gnomedex crew for all their hard work again this year. You guys put on the best show and attract the best folks time and time again. I’ve mentioned before that despite all my years in the Internet biz, Gnomedex 2006 was my first “Internet” conference. It’s now the only one I can’t miss every year.

Finally, Beth Kanter via Dave Delaney summed up Gnomedex 2008 in eleven words:

Use technology for good and it will make you feel good.

Gnomedex 2008 Pictures

Monday, August 25th, 2008

My pix are below, but I certainly wasn’t alone in taking pix for the conference. There are lots more here and here.

Wordcamp SF 2008 Follow Up

Tuesday, August 19th, 2008

San Francisco, Aug 16, 2008

Had a great time at this year’s Wordcamp in San Francisco. I met a lot of great people and had a lot of great conversations and I think, got some pretty decent photographs of the event.

I did have some mixed feelings about the event, but I recognize that creating a low cost, high quality confernce a is a series of trade-offs and I think the Wordcamp organizers made a lot of good decisions.

  • Two tracks, one for users and one for devs.
    This was smart as it got everyone together in the same facility on the same day, and I’m not a dev, so there were no decisions to make :-).
  • The UCSF facility is awesome.
    Plenty of space to run the two track event and let people spread out, take notes, Twitter, blog, process photos etc. The only problem with this place is, it’s out in the middle of nowhere. I suspect those that drove were pretty happy with parking.
  • The WiFi was great!
    (But I still used my EVDO card to let other folks use the bandwidth). This is a pretty common complaint at events and the UCSF folks clearly had some bandwidth and a well managed network.
  • It felt big.
    This is both a point for and against the conference. I miss the intimacy of the Swedish American Hall, but I’m excited for WordPress’ explosive growth. I didn’t get to talk to everyone I wanted to, but there is always the Internets.

I didn’t take many notes, but I did take a lot of pictures. Here are some links to folks who did blog.

Finally, a huge thanks to Matt and all the folks who helped with the conference.

Wordcamp SF 2008 Pictures

Tuesday, August 19th, 2008

Here are my pix from this year’s Wordcamp.

Out and about August 2008 Edition

Tuesday, August 12th, 2008

After a brief shut down in the extra curricular activities, I’ll be out and about in the real world (errr…. echo chamber) real soon now.

Here are a couple of events you can spot me at in the next couple of weeks.

Wordcamp 2008

matt mullenweg
While I haven’t blogged as much in the last year as I would have like to, the crowd that Wordcamp attracts is a great one. Great presentations of the past have included Jeremy Wright, Rashmi Sinha, Om Malik and John C. Dvorak.

This year’s lineup looks to be just as promising.

Wordcamp SF 2008 takes place this Saturday, August 16, 2008 at the Mission Bay Conference Center in in San Francisco, CA.

Here are some of my pictures from last year’s Wordcamp.

Gnomedex 2008

chris pirilloIt’s kind of funny, for all the years I’ve spent in tech, Gnomedex 2006 was really my first tech conference. Chris Pirillo’s Gnomedex conference always has good presentations up front and even better conversations in the hallway.

Hell, if nothing else, I like going to see who is going to get obliterated by Dave Winer (last year was Jason Calacanis).

Gnomedex 2008 takes place August 21st through 23rd, 2008 at Bell Harbor Conference Center here in Seattle, WA.

Here are some pictures I took at Gnomedex 2007.

Meet up?

Drop me a line if you’re planning on attending and would like to meet up.

SXSWi 2008 in pictures

Thursday, March 13th, 2008


Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

I’ve been taking pictures of events for almost a year now and SXSWi was clearly the biggest event that I had undertaken. South by Southwest is both rewarding and grueling in the sense that meeting great folks, learning new things, trying to upload photos in somewhat real time while trying to get sleep is pretty difficult. You can sleep when you’re dead…

I’m not taking pictures for anything other than fun and personal enrichment (and to give something back to the folks who give so much of themselves to putting on these events). I really enjoy the work that Kris Krug [kk+] and Scott Beale [Laughing Squid] have been doing for years and hope to be as good as they are some day. I’m really thankful for all the tips and tricks that they have shared with me in the last year.

Not all the photos are gems, but I cut this group of pictures down from 700 pictures that I took down to about 160. If you want to see with folks on Flickr like best, go here for my 12 most “interesting” photos from South by Southwest Interactive 2008.

FYI – I’m shooting on a Canon Rebel XTi with mainly a Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens.

You can view the rest of my Flickr stream here.

Twitter in Plain English

Thursday, March 6th, 2008

My pals Lee and Sachi LeFever of CommonCraft have done it again, just in time for SXSW. These guys do a really great job of explaining difficult topics in “plain english.” These videos are really great if you are just starting out trying to figure out this strange online world.

At last year’s SXSWi in Austin, TX, Twitter broke for the first time, err, um, was a break through product that helped people quickly figure out where the cool parties were and helped them track down their friends without calling them.

Since then, Twitter has been quickly adopted (and broken) by at least some of the masses (myself included).

I didn’t really get Twitter at first and I thought that it represented all the worst things about blogging (navel gazing, echo chamber). Here is a link to the day I spent talking about my cat in protest of Twitter. I even annoyed myself.

Eventually, I came around…

So, what the heck is Twitter? If you follow me on Facebook, you’ve probably seen my rapidly changing status. That’s coming from Twitter. And while I do kid about the Twitter uptime, by and large, they’ve created an incredible service based on something very simple.

Here’s CommonCraft on Twitter in Plain English.