Posts Tagged ‘Jeff Pulver’

My Impressions of SXSW 2010 – Think Chatroulette IRL

Baratunde Thurston dancing at SXSW, photo by Anthony De Rosa

Ok, first of all, can I just say, I think that was my all time favorite conference. Ever.

Yes, I know it was overwhelmingly huge, and people are saying this and that cranky thing about it (I’m ignoring) – but to me, it was thousands of super interesting, innovative people in every nook and cranny and there was absolutely no way to go wrong if you’re open to meeting new people.

I inadvertently wandered around on day 1 “alone” – which turned out to be a blessing I tried to repeat every day thereafter. Think Chatroulette in real life and you get the picture of what my days were like.

I’d spent the plane ride carefully orchestrating a “schedule” on my iPhone – but somehow, it all fell apart when I arrived at the check-in. I short-circuited in the face of all the options and resorted to paper printouts of emails, much to the embarrassment of my friends. A few hours in, I ran into Baratunde and he told me to put the schedule away and just wander around. That turned out to be the best advice.

Below are my agenda-less impressions:

  • Douglas Rushkoff is AWESOME despite the fact that he said that books are over because the publishing process takes so long. He gave a talk called The 10 Commandments for a Digital Age and there were so many profound moments I’m not even going to try to sum it up. Just be sure to watch the video.
  • Everyone’s a “Content Strategist” at SXSW 2010. It’s like being named “Michael.”
  • Jeff Pulver’s 140 party was amazing – and not only because I got to meet (and be live streamed) by my internet crush, Leo Laporte. The place was beautiful and the vibe was great.
  • I saw Danah Boyd speak and am happy to report that she fully recovered from the Web 2.0 fiasco. Thank God. I think it was the dress.
  • Gowalla seemed to gain major traction. I heard a lot of people saying they like it better than Foursquare. Honestly, I never fully bonded with the whole “check in” concept, but I have to say, it was useful to know where people were, especially at night when you were done with dinner and wanted to know what was going on. I still can’t imagine “checking in” during my daily life (unless there’s a worthwhile prize – and a “badge” saying I’m the mayor does not motivate me) — but I get it.
  • Leah Jones is amazing. She put together her second annual dinner. It was a private room full of people who didn’t know each other and it still brings a smile to my face when I think about it. Highlight of the evening was realizing that the Stacey who was sitting two people away from me was “Stacey Monk” of #TwitterKids fame.
  • I just have to say it one more time, I ♥ SXSW.
Share This Post


Just Say Yes…or How I Ended Up Speaking In the Kodak Theatre #140conf in LA

My view from the Acadamy Awards stage at the Kodak Theater

My view from the Academy Awards stage at the Kodak Theatre

How many people can say that they spoke on the the stage where the Oscars are held?

I have a personal rule, which is that whenever someone asks me to do something, I always say yes without thinking about it. Jeff Pulver one time told me that he calls that putting yourself in luck’s way. Usually, it turns out to be a good idea. I’ve agreed to do many things that I probably wouldn’t have had the courage to do had I taken a moment to think about it. One such instance was the #140 Conference in LA, hosted by Jeff Pulver. It was in the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles (yes, where the Academy Awards are held). I’m sure had I stopped to think when Jeff asked me, I would have been way too terrified to get up on that stage. Thank goodness I’m more impulsive than fearful because it turned out to be such a great experience.

Reasons I’m grateful that I just said yes to the #140conf in LA:

  • Got to have lunch with some of my favorite book peeps on Twitter: @vromans @booksquare @kirkbiglione @thinkmaya @permanentpaper. I find it truly profound that I have these friends around the country who I can learn from and connect with every day — and then even in person every once in a while. It reminds me what a gift Twitter is. Just think, even 3 years ago I probably wouldn’t have had the opportunity to know these wonderful people — and now I can connect with them nearly every day, know what they read, think about book publishing issues, etc. What a gift.
  • Got to meet @JessicaGottlieb. I’ve been following her on Twitter for a while now and always thought she seemed like a lot of fun. She’s really funny in person. When her talk is posted, be sure to watch it on It’s good for a smile.
  • Got to hang out with my friend @MarkTauber who’s the publisher of @HarperOne. Good friend who I don’t get to see often enough. Really smart; awesome panel moderator (I’ll post video when it’s up online). Helped turn around a day that started out not so great. (thank you Mark!)


  • Left with an awesome Kodak video camera in my goodie bag. Thank you Kodak! You’re the best! What an amazing conference you sponsored. You are an inspiration. Be sure check out the Kodak speech in the opening remarks. I’m now a fan!
Share This Post