Keep it simple, stupid

Keep it simple, stupid
Jason Fried’s opening remarks sound just like advice that I often give to visionary friends who are always dreaming up great new ideas but waiting for all the stars to align before they make them happen.

Jason says that it’s great to start thing up “on the side.” This is how 37signals started Basecamp. He points out that obscurity is good for getting started so you can screw up & learn from it before every one is watching.

He says “less” is an asset.
1. Less time. You’ll just waste it anyway.
2. Less money. See above.
3. Less software. Keep it simple “Clever stuff” gets in the way.

Go, Bob, go!

Go, Bob, go!
On my flight from NC to TX yesterday (4th plane of the day) I sat next to a guy who happenned to also be going to SXSW. He was from New York, but had just given a talk at Duke. His name is Bob Stein and he works for a think tank focused on preserving books.

He is now sitting on this panel about book digitization, between the guy from Google Books and a woman from Microsoft who is developing a similar service. I’m just very glad he’s there as Bob is the only person up there who seems to not think that corporations making money or even surviving is the highest goal.

Bob is not getting much of a chance to talk, but the moderator Liz Lawley has made some good points as well.


I’m here at my first South by Southwest panel, it’s called “knitting tag clouds for grandma.” There’s a lot of discussion about what it will take for large numbers of people (ie: regular people, not geeks) to use tags and folksonomies.

Someone in the audience made a great point: any one creating folders on their personal computer is making a folksonomy!

March madness

Lest you think that the end of my job at Planned Parenthood meant the end of my globetrotting… I have got my own personal world tour coming up in March. I will be out of town on 3 different trips for a total of 15 days.

  1. I will be doing a presentation for work on network-centric advocacy for IFIWatchNet, which “connects organisations worldwide which are monitoring international financial institutions (IFIs) such as the World Bank, the IMF, and regional development banks.” This is a great organization that is doing great work, and it’s a great place to apply network-centric thinking.

    Oh, and by the way this meeting will be in Montevideo, URUGUAY! It will be a short but amazing trip for me. I have been across the U.S. and I have been to Europe, but this will be my first time in South America, the developing world, or the southern hemisphere of this large planet. I can’t wait to practice my Spanglish, and that’s just the beginning of this short (3 days there, 1.5 days in transit) adventure.

    You can learn more about my trip from looking at my ‘montevideo’ bookmarks.

  2. The same day I get back from Montevideo, I will depart for a 6-day trip to Austin for South by Southwest Interactive. This is one of the most fabulous and creative conferences you can attend, so I’m pretty excited about that.

    Plus I get to visit the Texan branch of my family!

  3. Finally, after 6 days back at home I will fly to Seattle for the National Technology Conference. This is the standard industry conference for nonprofit techies (my peeps). I am looking forward to seeing Seattle for the first time, and to seeing many of my friends who will be there, but after Montevideo and Austin, these 4 days will be a like a restful break for me.

Meanwhile there is a small matter of basketball going on! UNC women are now #1 in the nation, and Ivory Latta can taste the NCAA championship. The men are #2 in the ACC and we’re getting better with every game recently, so I think we could be a contender for that title and should make a strong showing in the NCAA as well. Wish me luck in getting to see any of it. 😉

SXSW or bust

SXSW 2006 If you look really hard on this page you will find me listed as one of many speakers at South by Southwest Interactive. And it’s not a typo!

I’ve always wanted to attend SXSW even back when it was just the hotspot of independent music. The musicians I knew spoke of it with awe. Now I’m not as interested in the indie rock but in the collection of some of the most interesting and creative minds on the Internet. I was invited by Henry Copeland of BlogAds (which is located here in Chapel Hill) to be on a panel called “Revenge of the Blogs: Election 2008.”
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