19 March 2011

Just Back from SXSW: G's Thoughts on What's Next

I am back in my Upper Midwest home stomping grounds after several days at the SXSW Conference.  I loved the energy in Austin while I was there.

Yes, there were some great bands, most of which you've still not heard of.  The Types - from Russia, no less - generated jump-up-and-down energy in the audience, The Statesboro Review got folks jamming with their own tunes and a great cover of "Whole Lotta Love" by Led Zeppelin, TV Torso impressed even the music industry types at the back of the crowd, and Doomtree artists brought down the house on Thursday night.

What I've taken away from the conference, though, is a tremendous sense of optimism and positivity.  SXSW is a time and a place for people to come together and discuss how we are making the future better and brighter.  Whether it's the joy of music, the artistry of film, or the engagement enabled by interactive technologies, the folks who show up in Austin each year are literally creating the stuff we'll all be talking about for the next few years.

Twitter first hit the radar screen at SXSW in 2007, and I'm curious which aspects of this year's show will reach the tipping point in 2011.  My bet is on location based marketing, based on the buzz among attendees and the comments of Dennis Crowley, founder of both dodgeball.com and more recently, foursquare.  Even if I'm wrong on the specifics, it's a sure thing that something good is coming.

13 March 2011

Japan, Sorrow, and Compassion

Folks, there has been no shortage of tragedy of late.  The recent events in Japan seem to be the culmination of a string of unfortunate, sad events.

Having lived through a number of earthquakes - most of them during my years in California - I can tell you there is little as unsettling to the human soul as a furious Mother Nature.  The combined blows of earthquake and tsunami wrought destruction on a scale which stretches the imagination.  The NY Times provided me the most dramatic representation of the before and after of these events.

While we all go on with our lives, it is worthwhile to be thankful for what we have, to cherish those we love and our time with them, and to lend a hand to those in need.  Please consider making a donation to the American Red Cross or another worthy organization whose mission is to help others.

I am relieved my brother, who lives in Japan, is safe and sound.  I am sorry for all the many souls who were lost in this tragedy.  And, I am hopeful we all take this chance to display the compassion and support humanity can deliver in the most trying of times.