Look at that, I just wrote the first words of the first post on a site that has taken me almost 3 years to take live. It hasn’t taken 3 years because of some highly advanced code magic going on in the background (this is a hosted WordPress site), its taken me 3 years to start writing because I kept finding excuses .. and because I had a “Coming Soon” page.
I had an idea that I’d use the coming soon page as the basis for my first post. I would poke a little fun at myself for putting up a coming soon page that stayed live for years, show off some great coming soon pages (and coming soon themes for WordPress), and write a little about why simply putting up a coming soon page won’t automatically translate into crazy buzz about your product, service, blog or hot startup. But then I went to SXSW Interactive and got completely amped up.
This was my first year attending SXSWi and I couldn’t be happier with what I got out of this conference. I went through a range of emotions from excitement to exhaustion and inspired to totally energized. I’m walking away from this conference with new connections, new ideas, and a refreshed and renewed excitement about my role.
I’ll admit, I got overwhelmed in the middle of the conference. I had downloaded the SXSW Go app (awesome), plotted out my schedule and backup schedule, and coordinated with colleagues I wanted to see. Some of my plans worked, many of them didn’t and that is one of the coolest aspects of SXSW… your plans will change but you’ll never be without something to do. I ended up in a couple of sessions that were on my list as ‘plan B’s’ but turned out to be some of the best sessions I attended. Some of the highlights?
For me, I was blown away by Gary Vaynerchuk‘s talk The Thank You Economy. His passion, excitement, and approach was refreshing and invigorating. As I was walking into the session he was standing outside shaking hands and thanking everyone for coming. I totally dig that. He wasn’t just putting in time, he was locked in when you were shaking his hand and you genuinely felt he was thankful you came to hear him talk. And this is a guy with almost 900k followers on Twitter and a 10 book deal with HarperCollins. The official SXSW video doesn’t seem to be up anywhere yet, but you can find video here and I would highly recommend picking up his book The Thank You Economy. I could write a whole post on why his talk was the best of SXSWi, but all that really matters is I left his talk so energized and inspired by his approach, outlook, and attitude, that all I wanted to do was go back to my hotel room and work.
Robert Brunner’s talk on Designing Ideas Not Objects was a refreshing and creative talk that navigated through Brunner’s work and philosphy around industrial design. The talk was captivating, his presentation style was relaxed, and his slides were dynamic and full of photos and video. I highly recommend checking out this gorgeous CGI-packed video his company produced for the launch of Kohler Karbon. Brunner’s talk was also full of one-liner gold such as “be yourself, just be a good one” and “it doesnt work to wrap a story around a bad idea.” For me, I
wanted expected to see a session like Brunner’s.
There were other great sessions as well including Location, Location, Location, Designing iPad Interfaces, All These Worlds Are Yours: Visualizing Space Data, and other keynote presentations.
Since I’m riding a serious high right now, I decided to delete the coming soon page and just get started while sitting in the AUS airport waiting on my flight home. I didn’t ultimately post on that day, but this is the post I wrote. So what am I planning to write about? Emerging technology, mobile, beer, social, golf, and anything else that makes sense to write about. I don’t want to lock myself into writing about any one particular topic, or promising to write a certain number of posts per ____ fill in the blank.
The biggest motivator in starting to blog is a selfish one. My day-to-day role requires that I’m always thinking of new opportunities to leverage digital technology and I can’t do that if I don’t read a lot, think a lot, and test a lot. And part of that process includes simply getting ideas out of my head and seeing how they sound. That means I might write some stuff that seems incomplete, sounds ridiculous, or just plain doesn’t make any sense and I’m cool with that.
I’m also going to bring some ideas and testing of new tools into this site. For example, the about page will leverage the LinkedIn API, pulling my profile and reformatting it a bit, and in the future will do some other cool things around data visualization. The Work page uses the new Custom Post Types feature in WordPress 3.1 and the Updates section in the sidebar leverages Twitter’s new Web Intents, a feature we just might be rolling out on client sites if the tests go well. I’m ditching traditional commenting for Facebook commenting (a test and see sort of a thing) and planning to have a tab-optimized experience once I have more content, might bring in SMS, LBS and more, too. And no, every post won’t be this long.
One of the biggest reasons Vaynerchuk’s talk resonated is that he was genuinely thankful for every person who came out to hear him speak. He’s genuinely thankful that people watch his videos, download his apps (check out Daily Grape, btw), take the time to interact with him, and genuinely thankful he get’s to do what he does everyday. He’s said it before, that if even one person finds value in what he has to say then its worth it and he will give 100% to even just one person. I feel the same way. I love what I do and I’m fortunate to do it. If I’m the only one to read my posts, thats cool, but if even one person finds value in what I’m writing, I’ll be thankful and continue to be excited to keep doing what I’m doing.
I'm the Vice President of Digital Innovation and Mobile, which is probably the coolest job title out there. You can learn more about my work in emerging technology on the About or Work Pages.
As for this site, it's a place where I can jot ideas down and share some of the stuff I'm working on. The views are my own and some of them might not make much sense, but hey, that's part of the process. I'm also working toward being a single digit handicap golfer, so I post a lot about my golf game.