SXSWi 2009 – Part 2

Wisdom of Crowds – Derek Powazek gave this presentation on a very interesting phenomenon. The idea is that even though people may not get something right individually, collectively they get much closer to the truth. Like the guessing game with the jar of jelly beans at the fair. No one guesses exactly right, but the average of all the guesses gets pretty close. This is something I think people are going to be paying a lot of attention to in the coming years. It’s pretty valuable info if you know how to gather it. Well done, Derek.

Start Small, Stay Small – This panel was about starting your own business or going full time free-lance and how to address the new challenges you’ll face. Jeffrey Zeldman moderated the panel and gave great insights along with rest of the group as to how you make this difficult move work. Remember to charge what your worth. Ask for a budget. Don’t overbook yourself.

Turning Wine into Gold – Vay.ner.chuk. Gary is always a ball of energy and this was no exception. It is pretty difficult to not be inspired by his totally in-your-face, tell-it-like-it-is style. He drove home his key points once again: Don’t try to be me, be you. Play the game. Make good stuff. Win. Go find the video on WLTV, it is a must see. Quote: “If you live for weekends and vacation, your sh** is broken.” (Translation: If you hate your job so much that weekends are the best part, that needs to be fixed.)

Presenting Straight to the Brain – I took 2 pages of notes in this session, and I am not much of a note person. First of all, best presentation I have EVER seen. Four panelists, all experts on presenting offered tons of practical suggestions for making great presentations. Don’t make people read and listen to you, it doesn’t work. Forget the bullet points, go for the interesting visual to drive the points home diagrams and images. Focus on how to better the audience with your information, rather than how to make a good presentation. These guys rocked:
Jared Goralnick, Cliff Atkinson, Craig Ball, Kathy Sierra.

Quitter – How to quit your day job and work for yourself. I already do this, but I got a lot of good info out of this session on how to make the most out of working for yourself. One thing that really stuck out to me was when one of the panelists said that letting your email rule your productivity was like letting other people put stuff on your to-do list without asking you. That is so messed up, yet true! Quote:”We’re gonna start taking questions from the audience, but don’t say your name if you’re asking how to quit your day job.”

SXSW = a good break from the norm, lots of great information, tons of smart people. Love it.

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