Soggy at South by Southwest: Closing post
So there's been some flash pounding showers here that put Seattle to shame. But I figured I'd wrap up my South by Southwest on the scene coverage with these tidbits (there are some longer food for thoughts posts I need to do once I get back). These tidbist are a mix of yesterday and today.
20x2.org, thank you. The event rocked. We had musicians perform, tech folks, and videobloggers/filmmakers. Amanda Congdon endeared herself to me forever by coming up to the microphone and saying something in a small squeak like "what if someone who does video for a living is terrfied of public speaking?" and then her clip rolled. She actually looked like she WAS afraid of public speaking. Thanks for being real Amanda! I felt so much better.
Kevin Cheng did essentially crowd improv as an answer to what if, which I admire. I can’t wing these things very well.
That guy Michael Lopp (Rands) had a great 2 minute speech about what if you had 2 minutes to live and you could only communicate by texting.
Mary Hodder had a wonderful followup with selling her brother (offline, not online). I got to hold her purse while she wowed the crowd. :)
I loved Khoi Vinh’s virtual online eating experience, complete with “user generated content.”
And Mark Zupan (murderball star); it’s always inspiring to see someone who has struggled with physical challenges I can’t imagine (my hardest thing has been getting out of the bed de-caffeinated with a broken ankle) say they wouldn’t change who they are or what happened to them. I, the neurotic wonder, always wonder have those moments of doubt about the betsyness of Betsy and really, facing down those demons wins my respect.
The best pecan pie is at the Old Pecan St. Café. You will quit South Beach forever.
The best bbq was not Stubbs (bummer) but this other place whose identity I will not reveal (mostly cause I forgot it’s name and its bbq sauce is packed in the suitcase).
The best customer service experience I had today was with Tony Hsieh, CEO of zappos.com. I had the misfortune to walk into his panel late and he sent me his slide within hours. What I did hear of his discussion about treating employees well, treating the customer well, and deciding not to be a discount shoe place in order to provide that experience – it was really powerful.
Heather Champ of Flickr was hilarious, charming, and had the best site outage story ever (Gotdotnet could have learned from this): they substituted their usual “Flickr is out getting a massage” site down page with one about a coloring contest. You printed the page. connected and colored in the dots on the page, shot a photo of your creation and put it on Flickr when they returned.
Well, when the site came back up again over 1100 people posted photos and tagged it with coloring contest. Flickr ended up giving away 14 pro level accounts for a year, not just one, and gave free months of service to all the people who did the art and posted it. It’s like an outpouring of love rather than aggravation with ops issues. Masterful! I bow in tribute. No more blues songs. :)
The good magazine party was actually very good; enough cold air to breathe, enough space, and the bartenders were excellent. I walked by Joi Ito talking about World of Warcraft (what else) with an animated group around them. But mostly just people watched and sipped.
Speaking of the Betsyness, I got a lovely t-shirt by wangling my way through a private party sign at Betsy’s Bar and plunking down money. I think I will put it on my office wall.
And for the final word on the twitter experience, do read Kathy Sierra: