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Day 1 – SXSW

Main points and highlights:

Gary Vaynerchuk: How to Rock SXSW:

“Provide value up front.”

Vaynerchuk makes it clear that SXSW is not about selling upfront, it’s about offering value first and then (only then) pitching the sale. In other words, Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook.

Austin Kleon: Show your work

“Don’t be a hoarder.”

Kleon implores creatives to share their work and collaborate in what he calls a “scenius,” where fans, artists, thinkers gather and steal each other’s ideas. You don’t have to be a genius, you just have to be willing to share your process and recast what others do best into your own art.

Always be Innovating: thinking like a startup

“You can’t outsource culture to HR.”

Culture starts from the top, the founders set the tone. Apple may still be innovating today but it’s not ‘creating’ because Steve Jobs isn’t there to push a vision. As a result, Samsung is eating away at its Smartphone sales.

Meanwhile, Facebook still manages to promote its hacker ethos while scaling on Wall Street. And Larry Page is making Google a design-first company in the name of Google’s altruistic tenet: “Don’t be evil.” But what happens to Facebook and Google if the founders aren’t there?

Why It Pays Not to Rush the Process of Innovation

“Creative tension has to exist.” – Matt Rogers, co-founder of Nest

Nest never rushes its products; it takes its time to get it right and develop all ends (the complimentary app, customer service etc.) so that the first customers become the biggest advocates.

Nest steals right out of the Apple playbook. Rogers argues that the best marketing for your product comes from keeping it a secret. If you give everything away, there’s no new news to hype the product. In a twist of irony, Google now owns Nest because it’s trying to be the next Apple.

Day 2 begins now…

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What is Tumblr?

Even Tumblr’s founder Tumblr David Karp fumbled his answer during his Q&A at SXSW.

I’m sure the more you know about Tumblr the more complex it really is. Tumblr combines the best elements of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. In fact, the user’s homescreen focuses on the primary pillars of content creation: images, video, links, and text.

In simple terms. Tumblr is a blogging platform built on top of a vibrant social community, made up of mostly creatives. Unlike Twitter and Facebook where content gets lost in the feed, content on Tumblr just seems to get recycled, “reblogged” and keeps on living on.

Tumblr is uniquely positioned to take over the waning excitement in Facebook, especially as Internet users are getting used to sharing content publicly. People now want to own their voice. They also want to curate the content they find on the web and share it like it’s their own.

Myspace actually provided the first public expression engine.  But it preceded the mass training of public expression that most people got from Twitter.

Tumblr just feels different and incredibly indispensable. Tumblr built to evolve and take advantage of the latest technologies and social networking trends.

Yes, I’m voting long on Tumblr.  And wishing I had some investor money to show for it. 

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The perils of too big

What goes up must go down. Everything that gains popularity hits an inflection point for both hyper-growth and slow decline.

As a result:

  • Bauer and his label will see limited royalties from his track all while less people consume it.
  • SXSW attendance will dip year over year.
  • Social users will gravitate to other social networks like SnapChat and Instagram

Popualrity signals decline. Hit tracks, events, companies may be around another 100 years but they’ll never be appreciated as they once were.

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“See you on Twitter”

That is the common going away message at SXSW this year for those who follow each other and communicate on Twitter.

Chances are re-meeting that person or developing a tighter relationship are slim. “See you on Twitter” is a nice way of saying, “I like what you have to say and will keep listening but I don’t necessarily need to see you again.”

Twitter relationships are only as meaningful as you make them. You must follow up with the person if you want to cultivate a real relationship.

PS: Thanks to Hugh MacLeod for blogging my picture of his Rackspace artwork. We’ve never met face to face but thanks to Twitter at least he knows I exist:)

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Creativity

Swiss Miss at SXSW: “Eleven Rules I Live By”

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I finally got to meet her, hug included!  Notes from Tina Roth Eisenberg Keynote at SXSW:

Tina’s “Eleven Rules I Live By:”

  1. Invest your life in what you love.  Tina doesn’t distinguish between work and play; they are one continuous stream of love.
  2. Embrace enthusiasm.  Tina says “When you’re enthusiastic about something, you keep going.”  Enthusiasm makes you blind to fear and failure.
  3. Don’t complain.  Make things better. Tina created Tattly out of the urge to make what she wanted. “The best way to complain is to make things.” – James Murphy, LCD Soundsystem
  4. Trust and empower.  Tina recommends to let go of responsibility by hiring talented folks.  She notes:  “The shift from maker to manager is hard. I see the designer who becomes CEO and wants to meddle with everything.”
  5. Experiences > Money.  The money comes, eventually.  Tina encourages us to care about what we make, such as what she did in establishing Creative Mornings.   “A labor of love always pays off.” – Scott Belsky
  6. Surround Yourself with Likeminded people. Tina poked the audience with a quote from Seth Godin:  “Who you hang out with determines what you dream about and what you collide with.”
  7. Collaborate. Tina encourages us to step away from ego and collaborate whenever we can.  Give up to get more.
  8. Ignore haters.  “Stay away from people that are fond of disliking things,” Tina implores.
  9. Make Time to think and breathe.   This is actually one of Tina’s goals.  Like many of us, we’re all living life in the fast lane and forgetting when and how to slow down.  I previously blogged about doing nothing.  “Wonderful things happen when your brain is empty.” – Maira Kalman
  10. If an opportunity scares you, take it.  To which Tina adds:  “Decide you want it more than you’re afraid of it.”  Fears are really opportunities in disguise.
  11. Be yourself.  Be Eccentric.  Tina ended with this from Abraham Lincoln:  “Whatever you are, be a good one.”

Above all, Tina reminds us take initiative and put a dent in the universe.

“The perfect moment is never here.” – Tina Roth Eisenberg

Why wait?  Remember to have fun.

Thanks Tina!

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Social Media

The Open Internet With Tim Berners-Lee

Notes from SXSW:  The Open Internet With Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the World Wide Web:  A lot coding today is pre-packaged.  Any person can edit their photography or iTunes library without knowing the programming behind it. “Completely ignore how something is to be used.”  Tim’s way of encouraging creation and connecting it to other things.  We can’t always see what’s right in front of us.  Plus, someone else might do the connecting in which built a part.  “3D desktops are around the corner.”  He didn’t elaborate on this but augmented reality is coming quick (see Project Glass).  “The Internet is like the air you breathe.”  This is why Egyptians erupted as soon as the government shut it down.   Spying can be more “insidious” than blocking the Internet.  By leaving the Internet open, the government can track your every move.  “URLs will be around forever.” Tim predicts that GIFs may die however since they are just the latest creative sensation. The Internet must make it easy to “stroke” the artist’s content with micropayments. Ten cents can really add up. 
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Below are some of the big ideas gathered from SXSW:  ”Lessons from Yuri Mulner (A Chat with Vanity Fair)”:   We need to place more emphasis on science to increase the likeliness of “moon shots,” i.e. achieving the incredible.   “Intellectual achievement does not have practical applications.”  We must support the impractical, like Einstein, in addition to investing in short-term business ideas for profit.   “We outsourced functions of our brain to Google.”  A reminder that we still have brains even if you take Google away.  “In the next few years we’ll be able to figure everything out.”  This is why the current moment of curiosity is so precious.   Social media is not an impediment to work but an “enabling mechanism” to share more information with other people.
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Quotes

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Play often, learn always.

A quote and signature from the Lifehacker himself, Timothy Ferriss.

Written on my Paper 53 App.

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courtenaybird: Did Twitter just predict Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney’s running mate? Update: Twitter was right. It’s a Romney-Ryan ticket. We hinted that we’d been tracking Republican VP Candidates with the screenshot accompanying the announcement of our new dashboard earlier this week. As you can clearly see from the updated dashboard below, Ryan started to pull away from the potential VP pack three days ago in terms of unique reach on Twitter. Of the pool of likely candidates, Ryan’s seen the greatest increase in reach over the past month, gaining a 65% increase in reach in the past 30 days. In addition, he’s seen the largest gains in both the number of total tweets and unique people talking about him recently.  (via TweetReach Blog) As I learned at SXSW this year, if you aggregate the wins in p-2-p matchups for consoles (e.g. FIFA & Madden) those scores are predictive of the winner in real life. The average margin of victory is also accurate. Wisdom of the crowds is the future of gambling.
courtenaybird: Did Twitter just predict Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney’s running mate? Update: Twitter was right. It’s a Romney-Ryan ticket. We hinted that we’d been tracking Republican VP Candidates with the screenshot accompanying the announcement of our new dashboard earlier this week. As you can clearly see from the updated dashboard below, Ryan started to pull away from the potential VP pack three days ago in terms of unique reach on Twitter. Of the pool of likely candidates, Ryan’s seen the greatest increase in reach over the past month, gaining a 65% increase in reach in the past 30 days. In addition, he’s seen the largest gains in both the number of total tweets and unique people talking about him recently.  (via TweetReach Blog) As I learned at SXSW this year, if you aggregate the wins in p-2-p matchups for consoles (e.g. FIFA & Madden) those scores are predictive of the winner in real life. The average margin of victory is also accurate. Wisdom of the crowds is the future of gambling.
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SXSW Highlights (In Pins)

My trip is over but the learnings and memories will live on.

I’ve posted some of the highlights on my SXSW Pinterest board here.