April 3, 2006

SXSW Day One (continued)

I know, it's completely pathetic that it's several weeks past the conference, and I still haven't finished blogging about Day 1. I've made a promise to myself today that I am going to write about at lease one session from the conference every day. So, here we go...

Saturday Sessions (continued)...
Convergence and Transformation: A Whole New Creative World
Catherine Crago (Semicongroup), David-Michel Davies (The Webby Awards), David Pescovitz (, John Tolva

Key Points:
- Smart companies should work with people to exchange technology - as in mash-ups
- By opening your APIs so that others are able to access your information and integrate it with other information, you create an advantage for your product because people are more likely to use that over something that doesn't have an open API -- communities form around your product instead because it can be used with other things.

How to Increase Creativity at Work
Charles MacInerney (Expanding Paradigms)

Key Points:
- "Yoga is the art of controlling brain waves"
- 4 brain states (see similar article on the 4 brain states):
*beta: mind is sharp, you are on a deadline, a tiger is chasing creativity. Beta waves range between 13-40 HZ
*alpha: This is where creativity happens. Alpha waves range between 7-12 HZ.
* theta: Unfocused creativity, dream cycle, may/may not be sleeping. This is where the "aha!" moments and breakthroughs occur. Example: Archimedes had his big breakthrough while taking a bath! Theta waves range between 4-7 HZ.
*delta: Dreamless sleeping, unconscious. Delta waves range between 0-4 HZ
- Creativity happens most in the alpha state. Since yoga is the art of controlling your brain states, you can use yoga (or meditation) to bring yourself into the alpha state when you need to.
- Site: lists the principles of creativity
- Studies show "happy smokers outlive miserable non-smokers"
- The death of creativity is the inner critic (likes neatness, perfection, etc)
- Mind Mapping (see sample mind map) - stores information into long-tem memory better because it organizes the information in your mind. MacInerney says that people always think he reads a lot more books than the average person of books, but really, he doesn't read as many a year as many of the people around him, he just remembers the content better than the other people. He says that after he mind-maps a book, he could easily give a several hour presentation on it without needing to read it again.
- "Creatives" in a company need to be treated very differently than the "beta" group (organizers, financial people, etc.) MacInerney gave the example of not restricting the creative group to a real specific dress code.

March 14, 2006

Still wayyyy to much to do...

We've totally been slacking. HA! Actually, no we haven't, we've been busy this whole time! I had to skip today's keynote (but I can watch it as a podcast later -- how cool is that???) just to make a couple of 5-minute phone calls to family and a couple of friends. So, we probably won't be doing a lot of posting until the conference is all the way over, but since it's quick, I'll post some of the fun stuff we've been doing for now. Then, after I fix all the spelling errors from this and my last post, I'll give you a mini-recap of the rest...

The first night after we got in, we started walking to Guero's (on recommendation - Thanks, Rich!)...but we only made it as far as Freebird Burritos. It was good, though. The walls and window sills (and any other surface willing to take adornment, as you can see here) were covered in mini-sculptures that the customers had made out of their burrito wrappings.

My contribution was a mini Claes Oldenburg to make our Minneapolis mark.

One of the best things about the place were the dozen flying guitars pulling a chariot driven by a renegade staue of liberty.

After saying good-night to Kim, I went to check out the 6th street strip. It's a strip of bars and clubs with all their windows open, music and drunk college students flowing into the sidwalks. Every Friday and Saturday they close off these several blocks of the street so that drunk people can freely wander the street. It is great.

A very very brave bike taxi driver was willing to take me back across the Congress Street bridge to our hotel, even though he was deathly afraid of taxi-ing over the bridge. Here is a picture of him and me. Note the boombox strapped to the bar in front of the seat. The Rocky theme was playing the whole time. Okay, no it wasn't.


We ate the first and second morning at Las Manitas. The first morning, we shared the restaurant with Jeffrey Zeldman...and some other people, I think. It was rumored "the place to be." An insider tip: the place to be in the place to be is the patio out back (we learned this the second day when we got there early enough). You walk through the open kitchen to get to the back -- exposing all the bins of whole cooked chickens and fresh vegetables and eggs. These are some pics of the patio and some lovely person I ate breakfast with... and just so you know, the handmade corn tortillas here are about as close at you get to food bliss!

The Texans are very welcoming.

This is a Thai/Vietnamese place we ate lunch at. Very good pho (soup) and tofu stir fry. Our waiter told us that after this busy week coming up, he is using the extra money he is making to take his boyfriend to Las Vegas for his birthday! That's how busy it gets during the festival.

This was the second party we went to... Sorry, I forgot to take pictures at most of the others... maybe some updates from the last few after tonight...

The kissing bandit strikes!

Web nerds are hot!

A kissing bandit sandwich.

This was my first(and only) photo posing with a celebrity.




The bats streaming out from under the bridge at dusk. There are supposed to be hundred of thousands under the bridge in the summer so it is an overwhelming sight, but since it's still early spring, many of them are still somehwere in South America so there were only a few hundred. Still pretty cool looking, though!

We have one more "networking event" to go to tonight...then Kim leaves on a 6:30 am flight tomorrow...ugh! Send her good happy vibes!

March 13, 2006

My Oh My - There is Way Too Much Stuff To Do

At the start of the third day of the conference we are exhausted. This conference has been such a wonderful experience and the depth of knowledge of the participants is amazing. There is a full day of sessions and then the real conference starts. So far most evenings we've been roaming from get-together to get-together. We have meet so many interesting people. People that have written books, work at other universities, writers and many more. We even had a long conversation with a "Blogging Proselytizer" from Blogger/Google. I'm not sure what it exactly sure what that means but it sounds cool.

Our intention is to post what we are learning throughout the day - but it is hard to just sit down and type without being distracted. So hang tight we will get our reflections up as soon as we can.

March 11, 2006

We have arrived

Look out Austin we arrived last night. Evidently there were a lot of persons coming down here from Minnesota – they were looking for 10 volunteers to take a later flight at that arrived in Austin at midnight. We skipped that opportunity and arrived around 5pm last night. The strange thing was that as we were waiting to board, they kept saying that the plane was too heavy and that was on reason whey they needed so many persons to change their flight. Strange – what the heck was in the cargo area?

We picked up or registration materials last night and both of use are really excited to get started with the conference. Kim's room overlooks the famous Congress Street Bridge where a huge bat colony lives. I guess most of the bats are still in Mexico for the winter but should be coming back any day.

It is also warm, humid, and you can smell flowers in the air. It is absolutely wonderful! No skin lotion for us this week! I guess it is uncommonly warm down here right now. Check it out:

We are on our way to Las Manitas for breakfast and then on to the conference.

March 9, 2006

SXSW Here We Come!

Our bags are packed, our travel docs printed, and our desks are cleaned. We are on our way to the South by Southwest Conference in Austin TX. March 11th - March 14th. Our goal is to kept you up to date with what is going on at the conference - so be sure to come back and see what we are up to.