lealea's blogblog

because it's nice to say it twice

5 Comments // Filed in Business / Design / Web / Etc

Back to Life, Back to Reality

Let me get it out right away: this SXSW was better than the last. Every year, SXSW grows by leaps and bounds, but despite that, I actually seemed to manage to do what seemed to be less this year and yet, gained more. Essentially, I attended less panels, but the ones I did were pretty awesome. I also attended less parties, exchanged less business cards , and hung out with only a few peeps compared to last. In the end, it was a much better experience. Less scattered, more genuine.

Here is my overview.

Notable were:

  • The EE 2.0 reveal with a new jQuery enhanced Control Panel designed by Veerle Pieters, and its naughty bits built on top of CodeIgniter (insert fangirlish squeal here)
  • The Art of Speed moderated by Tim Ferris was one of the few panels I felt that seemed tightly controlled with great speakers and what seemed to be tangible and actionable tips. Biggest lesson? “Companies are defeated by internal conflict, more than external.” The only thing you should never speed through is building relationships with your colleagues and smoothing out any internal conflict. Also: don’t have 100% of your time filled. That leaves little room to be reactive and flexible.
  • Kathy Sierra This woman is what I call a total pro in presentation. She is where the bar is set. Amazingly inspirational, fun, and informative.

Not so fun:

  • What Women Need to Succeed could have been so much more. They qualified at the beginning that this wouldn’t devolve into men bashing, but I felt as if it did just that. I wish there was more emphasis on how different women define success, and more stories of their personal journeys. Instead, it felt more like the same old bitching and moaning. A huge difference from last year’s more empowering panel, Boss Lady where I felt there were more tangible and dare I say, ethical, ideas on how to succeed as a woman in business.

Internet famous? (kidding)

I can has interviews? Haha. First of all, I was featured on The Austin Chronicle where I shared my thoughts about branding, and viral video backlash. Also, Styledash’s Jonathon Morgan took me aside during the conference to ask my thoughts about what I consider “geek chic” and some geeky style talk. A lot of fun. The article isn’t up yet, but I will plug it when available. On top of that all, I managed to spend half an hour with Sunny Gault and their SXSW partner ustream.tv to talk a little bit about branding and my panel on Monday morning. That interview should be recorded and when I have it up, I’ll also show that link.

The Art of Self-Branding

I will only briefly gloss over this for now because I believe this deserves a separate blog post. At any rate, I will consider this panel a relative success: despite a morning thunderstorm after a long night of partying, I had a pretty good crowd welcoming me, where the majority also stuck around. :) I want to thank everyone who got up to go and for all the questions asked after the presentation, and all the comments and feedback. I always strive to get better every time I speak, and so your feedback — good or not-so-good — is always appreciated. I will go into detail about that in a post, soon. And yes, the slides will be up very soon on Wednesday afternoon on Slideshare and on artofselfbranding.com

SXSW Volunteers

I want to specifically thank Maria, the super cool volunteer who helped me to my panel and time it; as well as the hard working tech crew — a small glitch in sound during my presentation was immediately fixed. I also want to say hello to Wei! We need to really extend our warmest appreciation to these hardworking folks for keeping SXSW as smoothly running as possible. I am glad I had a chance to hang out with the behind-the-sceners to get an inside scoop on some of the process for SXSW.


And finally, and most importantly, I have to say everyone I hung out with is SO awesome. I mean, who knew that my hapless group of friends would end up getting a free ride in an ice cream truck Individual shoutouts are lame, because you all know who you are and Flickr will have evidence. My final word on this? Bixbyheart.com

Another year, another SXSW, and I hope that even with its continued growth, that SXSW manages to keep a tight hold on its awesomeness. Take some advice from Design Eye though, please? That would be great!

5 blabs to Back to Life, Back to Reality

Add something to the conversation!

Hi Lea,

Really good to meet you again – loved your panel; it was one of my highlights of the conference.

(sent from the balcony of the MediaTemple closing party) ;)

Hey, Lea. Good to see you again, if only briefly and after way too little sleep. Glad you liked the 2.0 reveal and its naughty bits.

Picture of Rich

Name Rich

Date Mar 14
12:46 PM

Lea, had a great time. We’ll have to hang out more!

I want an ice cream truck invite next time.

Hi Lea,

I really wanted to meet you last week in Austin. I caught the last half
of your panel but it was already in Q&A;. I came up briefly to say hi but you had a good lineup of folks with probably more relevant questions so I banked on meeting later. Unfortunately that didn’t happen because of the SXSW way. Hopefully we can meet soon anyway!


Picture of Lea

Name Lea

Date Mar 18
11:02 AM

Matt, it was a pleasure being able to chat with you at length this time!

And Paul, you and the rest of the EllisLab team are great.

Rich, you are hilarious. AZNs represent, what what!

Aw, Travis, too bad you didn’t stick around! A fellow Calgarian came by to say Hi (also astounded someone in Alberta, let alone Edmonton, was at SXSW, hahaha) You could have said hi, too.

That being said, if you are in the E-town area anytime soon, don’t hesitate to e-mail me and we should hang out! :D

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