Archive for the ‘SXSWi’ Category

SxSW GO App Fixed

Saturday, March 10th, 2012

The SxSW Go app now syncs properly. At least when the server is up. At the moment, both the Website and the Android app are having problems. The paper copy continues to work, though I noticed that the list of speakers at one panel today is not the one in the paper copy. Paper versus electronic is still a tradeoff.

Paper Cannot Be Remotely Changed

Friday, March 9th, 2012

After Kathy Sierra canceled, her talk on the SxSW website and app disappeared. Not so the paper copy.

Kathy Sierra Cancels

Friday, March 9th, 2012

She is too ill to present. Wish her a speedy recovery.

Where is Kathy Sierra?

Friday, March 9th, 2012

Was working my way through my SxSWi schedule and noticed that Kathy Sierra’s talk, “battle for the soul user: gamification’s darkside” had disappeared. I had been eliminating over committed time slots and wondered if I had deleted the wrong one.

Right now (11:25am CST), that talk is gone from the Website. I hope this is a technical glitch.

SxSW app – Major Fail

Friday, March 9th, 2012

Downloaded the SxSW app for Android. Looked reasonable. Wandered about, exploring it. Still looks okay. Logged in and started through the events list, starred possible sessions to attend. Okay. Tried to sync. Never completed sync. Not okay. Opened it up the next day, times are screwy. The All Day events start at 3 in the afternoon? The first real (Kathy Sierra is back!) session is 9 at night? Those times are off by 6 hours. Aren’t we 6 hours off UTC (AKA GMT, Greenwich, Zulu)? Yes.

I e-mailed the developers about the time difference. In reviews, others reported both problems. Waited a day, times still off and sync not working. Uninstalled the app and reinstalled. Times back to correct, still no working sync.

I’ve completed picking the events I want to attend on the SxSW Web site. Now do I mark up the Pocket Guide (paper)? Hand mark up the app? Both?

The Pocket Guide is 8.5″ high, too big for a pocket. And spiral bound. Spiral bindings do not survive long in a pack. But it only needs to last a few days. Paper is dependable.

The Android fits in my bag. Is going anyway. But I don’t know how much I can depend on the app. How mobile friendly is the SxSW Website?

Every year the potholes are in different places. Last year it took three tries and over an hour to get my badge. With a picture from their Web cam at the registration desk. It was never clear why the picture I uploaded was not used. This year I was in and out of badge pickup in under 15 minutes. With the picture from last year that wasn’t acceptable last year. Shrug.

YPMV (Your Potholes May Vary)

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

I am an introvert. Many, if not most, programmers are introverts. Quiet by Susan Cain is a helpful guide for introverts on how to play to their strengths.

Note: introvert is not the same as shy. I’ve met two shy extroverts, both foreign nationals. Two is a bit small sample to generalize from. After a day of meetings, I’m ready to head home for some quiet and sleep. My boss is ready to head over to the local brewpub with the customer to drink and discuss beer. Classic introvert and extrovert behavior. But at the company Christmas party, he is the one standing out around the edges.

I’m about to dive into SxSW Interactive, a potentially overwhelming experience for anyone. Maybe this year I can have a few more successes and a bit less burnout.

Gone in 30 Seconds, Not!

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

This week I checked my blog’s Google Analytics statistics for the last month. Capital Factory 2011 Accelerator was my most read post in recent memory.  Not just visited, but read, an average of nine and a half minutes on the page.  It doesn’t add customers or put money in my pocket, but as a writer, it is a currency I understand and value.

Y’all came, stayed, and read.

Filtering RSS

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

Dawn Foster presented at SxSW Interactive on some fascinating work she has been doing with Yahoo Pipes to improve the relevance of RSS feeds she subscribes to.  The slides are here. She mentioned that Google has similar capabilities.  Yahoo Pipes uses dataflow diagrams to filter, sort, combine, and reformat almost anything that is available in a RSS (or Atom) feed.

Strictly speaking, you don’t need to know programming (language), but Yahoo Pipes is essentially a graphical programming language/environment.

This is an explicit approach to filtering and sorting posts in RSS feeds.  AmethystRSS and other machine learning RSS applications take an implicit approach, show me what your read/like and I’ll handle the programming.  Her talk really excited me and I thought about how I’d incorporate it into Amethyst.  It would be a lot of work (fun though).  But a smarter approach is, “Plays well with others.”  So I’ll make sure that Amethyst plays well with the RSS feeds generated by Yahoo Pipes (and Google’s equivalent).

Capital Factory 2011 Accelerator

Saturday, March 19th, 2011

Capital Factory is an Austin incubator somewhat like Paul Graham’s Y Combinator.  They run a 8 week summer program each year. In their own words:

Capital Factory is an early stage accelerator program for tech startups that provides a small amount of seed capital and weekly mentoring sessions by entrepreneurs who have founded successful companies. Startup companies apply to participate in our 10 week summer program intended to get a startup pointed in the right direction with a clear path to profitability and growth. In 2011 the program runs from May 25th to August 11th. On September 7th, we will host more than 250 investors and entrepreneurs for Demo Day and stream it live over the Internet.

I dropped by the meet-the-folks session on Sunday morning during SxSW Interactive.  Over a 2+ hour period, a 2010 alumni (doing well),  a 2009 mentor, and a 2011 mentor gave me and a couple of other interested people some very good advice and mentoring.  And it wasn’t generic advice, but some ideas specific to our ideas and how we might adapt them to something more likely to succeed.  Their advice to me fit in with some little ideas I was thinking of trying (that I hadn’t mentioned) and building a service business around them (more in later posts).

A common theme across all of us potential mentees was instead of this huge business that will require massive amounts of capital and go head-on against some established players (i.e., your idea isn’t that original and/or your edge isn’t enough to overcome the incumbents), run with a smaller idea that is unique and really plays to your strengths.

I’ve decided to not go for the 2011 program. If the new idea plays out well, I can see coming back for the 2012 summer program for help scaling it.  I already received value from the program without even being in it.  Impressive and helpful folk.  Thank you.

The Y Combinator program runs twice a year.  The application deadline for the next program is March 20. The 2011 Capital Factory Summer Program application deadline is March 27.  If you’re running late or would rather be in Austin than Silicon Valley, give them a try.

SxSWi 2011

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

I’ve spent the last five days at South by Southwest Interactive (SxSWi). This is my third year. 2009 was great, 2010 was over-crowded. 2011 was even better than 2009. In the next few days I’l be going over my notes and commenting on sessions I saw and how they will affect my thinking and business over the coming year. This post covers overall impressions.
In 2010, about one third of the sessions were full by the time I arrived and I couldn’t get in. Bummer. Following them on Twitter is better than nothing, but not as useful as in person. This year, the sessions were spread out over more venues (campuses in SxSW Marketspeak). Not happy if the ones you wanted were spread out too, but maybe good in forcing you to concentrate on fewer topics. I spent all day Saturday at the AT&T Executive Conference Center attending the Lean Startup sessions. They were all fabulous, even the people I hadn’t heard of. And I already had a seat when there started to be a waiting line to get in in the afternoon. I did skip the mobile app sessions up at the Sheraton (15 blocks, uphill, from the Austin Convention Center, the main venue). I may eventually have a mobile app for Amethyst, but I’ll start with a mobile Web version.
I did not take my laptop this year. This was a good decision. The laptop needed charging every session or two, making me late for the following session, or at least late enough to not get in. Also, I wasn’t tempted to watch the presentation, type notes, check my e-mail, check the Twitter stream, and hack a little code. A ruled paper pad was best for taking notes, no switching between keyboard and mouse and/or stylus for drawing. And I paid less attention to the Twitter stream as SxSWi wore on. In person is better. It was best if I could charge the smartphone (Droid Incredible, battery life is a known shortcoming) while eating lunch.
The keynotes were in rooms big enough to need projection screens for the people in the back. I generally was close enough to be able to see “in person” and the screens. Some things were present in one channel, but not in the other. Some kinds of presence or charisma just don’t show on a projection screen. Others do. And without the presence/charisma to distract or cover up, I noticed things that I would not seen otherwise. Interesting.
The Austin Convention Center (ACC, not to be confused with Austin Community College), like many venues in Austin is aggressively air-conditioned. I wore a turtleneck or at least a long sleeved shirt everyday and an overshirt when I was in the ACC. It was not needed in the Hilton or the AT&T Executive Conference Center, or outside during the afternoon. Previous years I tended to wear hip, techie T-shirts with cargo pants. Long sleeve shirt and khakis are probably a better choice for someone eligible for “Elder Statesman”. On the advice of his daughter, Steve Blank came in his University Professor costume. A good choice and something to consider if I go next year, especially if I am a presenter.