Archive for the ‘SXSW’ 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.

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

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.

SXSW Bound

Thursday, March 6th, 2008

sxsw2008.jpg

I’m excited to be heading down to Austin once again for the yearly SXSWi Festival in Austin, Texas from Friday March 7th until Tuesday March 11. That little “i” next to SXSW means I’m not going to the film thing or the the music thing, I’m going to the nerd thing.

From last year’s SXSWi, here’s Ze Frank explaining SXSWi.

[thanks for the pointer/embed code, Scott Beale]

One day, when the kids are older, I’ll drag my wife out to Austin and we’ll do both Music and Interactive. Music, in particular, looks to be amazing.

Anyhow, if you are heading down and want to say hi, you can get in touch with me on my phone (if you have it), email me at randy@boxbe.com, direct message me on Twitter or turn up near me at one of the panels or parties I’m planning on attending.

Hope to see you there.