Recalling SXSW – Day 2

I had to do some work in the morning. Didn’t get out of the house until like 2pm.

Cesar, Matt and I went to Whole Foods for lunch with the notanmba guys and Eric from ShootTheBaby.com – his site is about how to shoot great baby pics, though, I’ve been watching the videos to laugh and learn more about photography. Eric has a great sense of humor – the videos crack me up. Then we walked to GSD&M’s Idea City where Bar Camp was being held. Went to a panel on coworking led by Julie and Alex.

Afterwards I met Joyce Bettencourt who was filming the coworking session with her N95. Joyce was really nice and fun to talk to. She works, I believe, primarily at a nonprofit in New York. She is a blogger and virtural words disgner – very cool.

We went downstairs and Joyce introduced me to Gwen Bell. I told her briefly about Conjunctured and she told me a bit about TechStars, Socialthing! and Startup Weekend. Gwen has beautiful glossy business cards which I proceeded to write scratch notes on as we talked – she winced a little and ask me if I wanted paper. I declined.

From here we headed straight to the google party at light bar. Out front we saw Mark Mims. We met Jon there and where able to walk right in. Thank goodness to, the line was around the block.

There I met John from ActionItem.com and Cycfoundation. He is from Austin! I was stoked. John does some work with semantics – excited to get some people together for a meeting about this.

From here we all headed to the Frog Design party. Dusty and I beat everyone there because we took a petty cab! Outside I met The Ice Cream Man and he told me about his idea to give away free ice cream for like 6 years. He said “I came to a point in my life when I realized I can do anything I want. So I decided I wanted to be THE ice cream man.” Pretty sweeet! What can I say, I love the guy.

The party was held at the Mexican American cultural center – it’s a beautiful place. There were fire dancers, tons of people all dressed up, live music, and other shows and stuff. Jon and I walked up stairs to find an extremely long drink line – wait for a drink was like an 45mins to an hour. I don’t care if it’s free, that’s just stupid long. I went to the bathroom and came out to find Jon talking with some girls in line. Turns out there where from Texas – 2 from Austin, 1 from Denton. To be continued…

Recalling SXSWi – Day 1 (Evening)

At the Coworking meetup. I think I talked to Julie Gomel of Launch Pad Coworking first (new space going in downtown austin!). Talked to her for a long time. She is such a lovable lady. And a bad ass business women. Damn! Then to some of her business partners and to Murry Legg the architect for Launch Pad.

I got myself in a little circle of non Austin people. Alex from Indy Hall was the first person I talked to. Then Patrick. Then Geoff the other owner of Indy Hall.

Then! I met the creator of scriptaculous and Amy Hoy. That was pretty killer. I talked to Amy for a long time about random stuff. I saw her again later on at garyvee’s spontaneous wine party but she like didn’t remember what we talked about. Apparently she was drunker that I perceived. 🙂 I think she was supposed to email me something.. I remember her putting it in her phone.

I also saw Christy Cox there – miss that girl – she was just there at the hotel hangin out, not apart of the coworking crew. Random, but great.

As the party drew to a close everyone began heading to SIX where the official SXSWi opening party was.

I heard on twitter that everyone was on the rooftop, so that’s where we headed. Sure enough everyone was swarming Kevin Rose, well, and the heaters over by him.

That was a great night for meeting people. The first person I met was Kyle from Justin.tv – I was standing by myself kind of in a corner because the crown was as pushy as a rock concert – he was like what’s up man, why u by yourself. We talked about what he did, how he got involved with Justin.tv – evidently he’s an MIT dropout and doesn’t plan to go back. To me, Kyle was the epitome of the young tech crowd. He came and talked to me. Told me tons of stuff about the people around us. Told me his story. Listened to what I had to say. Told me to come to the valley and hang out. Then gave me some drink passes. Hah. I mean. I freekin love internet people!

From there I met Daniel Burka, I had not idea who he was I just gave him a high5 and said what’s up. Again, he was totally nice. Talked to him for a while about Pownce and Digg, I had no idea he was involved in them. Great dude. He introduced me to Jim Louderback (dude, Jim why is your site done in frontpage – is that a joke?) whom I recognized but not as the CEO of Revision3. I actually didn’t remember at the time what Revision3 was even though I had watched Diggnation a couple times on there. Talk to him for prob 15mins about revision3, radar.net, why I didn’t know what revision3 was, video compression, great guy! Only after he left did I get clarification from Burka on why I recognized him – Fresh Grear – a show on TechTV I used to watch in high school with my dad like everyday.

I know I talked to more people over in this group but I didn’t get their card so I really can’t remember.

Over on the other side of the heater was Shawn O’Connor of Timepedia.org – we talked about Radar and about Conjunctured. He offered some great advice on getting things done and not trying to get a good office space to get work done. Just work on that a little at a time. Think about what your ultimate end goal is. It’s to have created something, right?, not to have an office. He was saying how people get to caught up in that. I kinda felt like he was challenging everything I was talking about. Never the less his advice was sound. And he was one of the only people I met at the conference who knew what radar.net was and about the guys at Tiny Pictures. So that was nice.

After Shawn I met a couple girls from Yahoo! We talked about how cool Austin was and how I was not from the valley. Elsa Kawai was one of them.

Next person was Srini Kumar CEO of Metanotes and lots of other stuff – the guy is so full of energy. He was great to talk to. Told me all about metanote and all the cool ajax jazz they have rockin behind it. They later won a SXSW web award.

Around then was Austin’s closing time 2am and we all went home.

Recalling SXSWi – Day 1

Had a bagel & banana for breakfast at Jo’s at 7am with Todd, Cesar, and Jon….Cesar and I got our badges. Went down stairs, saw iJustine and took a pic with her. She had to pee so we let her go.

ijustine

(dang I’m excited – smiling so big my gums show, I hate when I do that)

In the conference center we stopped to play with legos for a sec and John Poisson (tiny pictures/radar.net founder) popped up. We were both rockin the radar hoodie – I actually wore more the whole week. I really miss talking to the radar peeps. John knows his shit. We went out a few days later and had a great convo. btw if you want a similar radar t-shirt just email em

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Went to lunch at Las Manitas for the tweetup. There I met the Maestro of Utterz, Simeon Margolis (I had no idea he was a co-founder until just now). Tony Katz and his business partner-cant remember his name. Met orchid8 for the first time – twitter friend. Started seeing people with their N95s. Austin funny man/tech geek Omar was there – loved running in to him all week and laughing to his commentary on twitter. Talked with Simeon for quite a while about promoting to the youth market – really was a great conversation, he was very interested, listened well, and was totally humble. Gonna have to talk with that guy again. Met David – twitter friend who is at UT. Started following laughingsquid – turns out there were always at the same places as us but we had no idea what the guy looked like. Connie Reese and palls were there. Also, somewhere in between @Davidhwalker came and gave Cesar and I our new Conjunctured business cards. Damn, they are hot.

conjunctured business cards

Went to a panel on how to Rawk Southby. It kinda sucked. Afterwards we went to the stage and I gave Matt Mullenweg a high-five for creating wordpress. We talked to him about growing up in Houston, etc. Was a very nice guy. Cesar and I took a photo with him.

Matt Mullenweg

Oh man, we met the icanhascheezburger guys – they are so freekin cool! We talked to them about coworking for a while and them opening a space in Hawaii After that we went and waited for a bit for Tim Ferriss. He got done but needed to go get something or someone. So he proceeded to put down his stuff and run off. In the mean time I got kissed on the cheek by a toasty MJ (some girl who is supposedly internet famous. Never heard of her, but she was real drunk all week).

mj girl

Tim came back as we talked outside the auditorium for like 30 mins. He had sent a tweet earlier about how grackles were whooping like meth addicts at 3am. And that he wanted a shotgut. Evidently he was staying down town where there was a large collection of those foul birds.

When Tim left he put on his backpack and orange jacket and did a little jump kick maneuver. Then ran off. He just looks like a highly tuned machine.

Went to Champions by the convention center with Cesar and Kara Soluri – really happy about meeting Kara. Thom Singer, Ash, and Eric showed up for a while too. Champions is lame btw. But we knew that.

Kara left and Cesar and I went to his car and drove to the Coworking meetup at the hotel san jose. There were a ton of people there I wanted to meet, and I did. …to be continued.

Recalling SXSWi – Day 0

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Went and had dinner with Drew and Todd from http://notanmba.com – they had just gotten in town. We were following their trip here on twitter so it was fun to then join in the story we (@Cesart and I) had been watching.

From there we went to the Continental Club and watch some crazy “psychedelic folk” band with a woman singer. I really enjoyed it. Was laughing a lot. After her came a Blues jam with Charlie Sexton. Evidently he is famous. No idea.

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There was however a famous person in the room. Lance Armstrong and his posse were stage right watching the show. Some tall skinny white girl wearing flats was dancing dirty with him. No idea who he is dating. There were also some older men in his group who were dancing up a storm. And a guy or two who may have been his brother(s). They all seemed to get pretty wasted. Towards the end the girl and lance were all over each other. So yeah, they were more fun to watch than the band.

Austin Entrepreneur Townhall

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The night started with some casual networking. Kevin Koym our conversational host for the night told everyone this was not a sit-down event. That we needed to get off our butt and stop talking to the people we came in with. We were all there to meet people. I thought it was a great thing to say – really set the mood. Kevin knows what he’s doing, he’s held these kind of townhalls all over the place (Chile, Mexico… Kevin, correct me?). We also watched a clip from A Beautiful Mind, this one where John Nash (Russell Crowe) declares The “best result comes from everyone in the group doing what’s best for himself. Incomplete. Incomplete. Because the best result will come when everyone in the group doing what’s best for himself and the group.”

After a quick intro to the agenda of the night’s events we broke into groups of 3. Each person answered 3 questions: Why did you come here? What challenges are you facing in your business? Who are you? In my group was Jon Lebkowsky (more on Jon in wikipedia) and a nice guy named David? who was not yet an entrepreneur, is working on finding his passion in life, and doesn’t let his kids on the internet.

Then the discussion started. We were in a half-circle auditorium, the one at IC2 if you are familiar. Kevin seeded the discussion. He wanted to know, what can we do together? Where can we take Austin?

The conversation for some reason stayed on social media for quite some time – we can we all use it to efficiently make more meaningful connections. There was a lot of talk regarding the Digital Convergence Initiative, who’s goal is “To create an economic super cluster through the growth of the Digital Convergence business and research base of the Central Texas corridor from Waco through Austin to San Antonio and the surrounding and included communities.”

To further develop Austin as a hub for innovation I posed a couple things: There must be free flow of information (who’s working on what, etc), we must eliminate good ol’ boy networks, and use the internet to do this efficiently. This is what DCI is doing for businesses and this is what our co-company, Conjunctured is working on for the individual entrepreneur.

Of course the comparison came up between our Silicon Hills and Silicon Valley. Jonathan McCoy, one of Austin’s youngest serial entrepreneurs was called out because he’s leaving for San Francisco soon. Granted he has a good reason – he’s working on semantic web applications and the only place in the world for that is a little district in The Valley some are calling Sema.

hmm… If we believe that innovation comes from collaboration and collaboration can only happen when people know what the other individuals/companies are up to – I think the bay area benefits from such an extensive blog network – thus resulting in everyone knowing everyone else’s business AND everyone benefiting for a peer review, scrutiny. We need to work on a way to facilitate communication in Austin – these townhalls are a great way to do that, same with Rise Austin.

There is so much to say on the conversations that were had, I’m going to cut this off know because I’m way over my 20min time limit. Pretty soon we’ll have a video of the night that I will post here. Until then, here is a purposefully lame video by Saatchi and Saatchi (thanks Dave for this).

Join the Entrepreneur Townhall Google Group if you’d like to attend the next one – sometime after south-by.

Question about digital outreach

Via social media, people are sharing more and more online. The aggregation of their various profiles (facebook, myspace, friendfeed, etc.) can create a near mirror reflection of their real world actions and feelings.

We have the power to empathize better then ever, to understand people in a new light. How can we use that to preempt mental downswings, specifically in kids?

Thinking here: You can’t just watch over and swoop in every time you see something negative. What is the balance? Should we have social workers trolling profiles for “signs.” Will we just develop the sense to tell if someone is having a hard time. I’m talking about preventing tragic events – every time they happen it seems it was all over the students profile. right. So what can we do?

Thanks to Skyler for getting me thinking about this again. And to Danah and Bambi for chatting a while back.  Outreach20.org is a site I made a while back about this.