This is a cross-post from Sheehan Lake in his 3/20/19 LinkedIn post “What I Learned at SXSW about his first visit to SXSW EDU and the first few days of SXSW.
I met Sheehan and had the greatest conversation with him about life, the world, and what he has learned at SXSW EDU. Sheehan attended my session and included it in his post that he forwarded to me. Then we talked about how much he learned and so we agreed that I could cross-post his post to share with my PLN.
by Sheehan Lake, CTO at Aurora North Software Inc.
As part of this year’s personal and professional development initiative, I decided to spend a week in Austin, Texas to attend SXSW.EDU March 4-7 and the first few days of SXSW Interactive March 8-10. This was my first South By Southwest.
SXSW was a wonderful experience full of eye-opening sessions, great conversations, interesting mirrors, and inspiring new connections. Here are some of the highlights, comments, and reflections from my week at SXSW 2019.
Surviving vs. Thriving
- Wellness fosters natural positive personal growth.
- Operating in a creative space that promotes individual development or learning is significantly harder when fundamental elements of physical comfort and survival are challenged.
- High stress of any type triggers the body to operate in survival mode and is directly counter-productive to output and creativity. Burning out is the opposite of thriving.
- An environment with compassion and integrity is fundamental to reducing stress, removing the survival response, and enabling progress towards productive change.
- Thriving in life, succeeding in business, maturing as a human and embracing learning all integrate with a sense of wellness, safety, understanding of self, intention and healthy community.
- Establishing and maintaining wellness at an emotional, energetic, physical and psychological level is a fundamental challenge confronting an array of demographics affecting a variety of areas of our society.
Education, Learning, and Business
- Learning techniques and perspectives on education are changing rapidly.
- Organizations, institutions, non-profits, and businesses of all types face challenges integrating new ideas and approaches with engaged interest from the communities they serve.
- Creative collaboration and design thinking approaches provide a flexible framework and safe environments for the development of vested interest from several parties.
- Collaborative environments enable empowerment through positive change while embracing messy failures.
- Successful change and messy failures are the yin and yang of operational evolution through which real progress is built.
- Gathering perspectives and problems in a supportive space empowers the “Disruptive Question” or the “Disruptive Solution” to emerge.
- Genuine integrity, honesty, vulnerability, and compassion allow us to connect to the humanity in each other.
- Inspirational humanity and unique individual expression are beacons of light in a sea of social momentum, colonized content and evolving media.
- The integration of several different individuals’ motivations, social drivers, community intention and shared information into creative collaboration fuels disruption and can empower catalysts for change.
- The defined intention, mission statements, and goals can function as roadmaps for the productive output of a collaborative effort. Communities of creative empowered individuals drive collaborative intention.
- Productive results-based recognition and reward systems can really help develop individual growth along with community supported learning environments.
- Compassion promotes community progress.
- It’s okay for large-problem solutions to take time to develop and implement.
- Smooth seas do not make great sailors.
- The most dynamic and interesting people learned how to learn, learned how to learn from failure, value their experiences and continue learning.
- In today’s world information access is no longer the barrier to knowledge. Interpretation, analysis and critical thinking around the integration of information provide new perspectives of learning and advancement.
- Unlearning the unnecessary and re-imagining from a place of compassionate self-understanding empowers affirmation of positive instinctual growth.
- It is completely appropriate to be maladjusted to things that are morally, ethically, socially, scientifically or technically just wrong. I am maladjusted to ignorance, racism, hate, and social injustice.
- Understanding what drives one’s motivations for learning and exploring one’s “why” are essential elements of an individual’s self-development. Challenging and re-challenging one’s motivations is the key to owning, enjoying and embracing success.
Networking, Making Genuine Worthwhile Connections at a Conference
- Be present with new connections. Being present in-person enables mutual interpretation of body language and a sense of situational comfort with natural communication cues and eye contact.
- Exchanging business cards is still cool. Consider handing someone a business card to be a real-life invitation to be a friend. Receive a business card as a gift with gratitude and honor.
- If someone hands you a business card, look at it immediately!! Try to imprint that person’s name and face with their business card in your memory. Also the card content title, company, name…. can provide instant additional conversation topics.
- Phones!?!? Try to be mindful, genuinely connecting with new people is even more challenging when either party has their phone in hand.
- Phones are literally ‘distraction machines’ which frequently specialize in breaking conversation momentum. Play with your phone when you are alone.
- A phone is also a communication tool – having a handy image of a QR code on your phone that links to your contact information can be very helpful and a quick networking tool. If you set up a personal contact QR code for a specific event, it can be helpful for the recipient if you include the event name in the company reference, its a classy move.
- When adding people to your contacts list, put the event name and year in with the company or notes. In a pinch, if you are trying to recall a contact you met, you can search in your contacts by the event name to help find that person later.
- Follow up new connections within 24 hours, attention spans are short. That means you, too! It’s easy to possibly forget a contact or get names mixed up if you don’t continue the conversation thread in a short window, especially if you are at a conference. Follow up again 1-2 weeks after the event and be open for establishing conversations, ideas, and threads that facilitate reasons to keep in touch. If possible focus the conversation thread around collaboration rather than sales.
- Blockchain, Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) are incredibly exciting right now and aren’t going away anytime soon. The world is ripe for some accessible applications to support these advanced technologies. New applications in all industries, technologies and learning environments are emerging every day. We will continue seeing an integration of AR, VR, and Blockchain into common ways of working and thinking over the next several decades.
- Learning to learn and re-learning to learn are the primary skills that need to be focused on in a world where automation is soon likely to be available to assist with many peoples’ current challenges.
- Allowing automation to solve simpler challenges for us will allow us to advance as a species in many ways. The changes will be awkward and often may not employ enough compassion for those affected.
- Learning to work with change and accepting change allows us to negotiate and mitigate the stress created around the uncertainty of an evolving future.
- There are thriving intentional conversations taking place around morality and ethics in the usage of emerging advanced technologies.
Exciting Entrepreneurial Energy and SXSW
- SXSW in Austin is the hottest urban intersection in the United States for learning, culture, media, new ideas and old ideas re-envisioned for our modern time.
- Austin is a hotbed of innovation and new entrepreneurial efforts.
- The Start Up Crawl hosted by Austin’s Capital Factory functions as one of the kickoff events for SXSW Interactive, this event alone has over 15,000 attendees and the entire experience is inspiring on many levels.
- Partying with holographic DJs and robots is pretty cool!
- Virtual environments for content data mapping and VR Jedi light saber battles are really interesting, inspiring, and just plain awesome.
- Yes, seriously! Virtual Reality lightsaber battles, VERY COOL!!!
- In the penthouse floor of the Omni building in the VIP lounge of the Capital Factory Startup Crawl, I met a rad group of friends who built an app specifically to help find fun via a crew-sourced list of events and parties in Austin the weeks of SXSW. Keeganslist has information and links to help find the best events get on the right guest lists. Thank You, Drew, Chris, and the Keeganslist crew.
- One of my favorite conversations, while walking the Capital Factory Startup crawl and checking out cutting edge technology demonstrations, was actually about a nonprofit called Fr1ends of the Ch1ldren which is helping the children of Austin directly in a smart and compassionate way.
- SXSW has evolved from its origins as a ‘music festival’ and its community represents the evolution of expression through expanding communication mediums.
- Perspectives of the world expressed through spoken word, music, performance, and film provide us a glimpse of the exciting ways artists explore the natural questions of human curiosity…. Who? When? What? Where? and WHY?? woven through an evolving intersection of self, intention, and community.
- SXSW provides us a snapshot of our collective visions, a reflection of our modern existence and projections of our future informed by an evolving perspective of our past.
- Being true to one’s self, intention and community will never go out of style, just like integrity.
- Embrace your individual identity and uniqueness, be seen, see your community and be present with community members.
- Whenever possible be gentle, mindful and flexible with your intention.
- Embrace new connections and choose your tribe wisely.
- Compassion is still cooler than technology.
- SXSW is a worthy experience, especially if you want to express yourself or explore your mirrors in our culture.
References, Speakers and Sessions
- Why Music Matters: Shaping the Next Generation | sxsw.edu 2019 event link | YouTube Video | #itstartswithME
- Clayton Anderson: sxsw.edu profile | Clayton Anderson wiki | Twitter |
- Sheinelle Jones: sxsw.edu profile | Twitter | Instagram
- Lee Ann Womack: sxsw.edu profile | LeeAnnWomack | Twitter | Instagram
- Barry Zito: sxsw.edu profile | BarryZitoMusic.com | Twitter | Instagram
- Barbara Bray: Develop Your Passion to Define Your Why | Sxsw.edu 2019 event link | sxsw.edu profile | BarbaraBray | LinkedIn | Twitter | Books on Amazon
- Using Tattoos to Teach the Essay Writing Process | Sxsw.edu 2019 event link
- Teaching the Bardic Tradition as a Bard | Sxsw.edu 2019 event link | Deborah Stokol | LinkedIn
- Creating, Debating, & #HipHopEd(ucating) | sxsw.edu 2019 event link | #hiphoped | Twitter | YouTube
- Chris Emdin: Linked In | 2017 sxsw.edu keynote YouTube | Book on Amazon | Twitter
- Sam Seidel : Book: HipHopGenius | Twitter | HipHopGenius.org | Husslington Post |LinkedIn
- McKinley West: sxsw.edu profile
- E=MCᒾ: The EdLab Remix | Sxsw.edu 2019 event link
- Khari Milner: sxsw.edu profile | LinkedIn | Community Design Lab
- Aysha Upchurch: sxsw.edu profile | LinkedIn | ayshaupchurch.com | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube
- Angeline UyHam: sxsw.edu profile | LinkedIn | Community Design Lab
- The Art of Discipline in the Age of Screens | Sxsw.edu 2019 event link
- Neuromyths: Five Myths About How People Learn | Sxsw.edu 2019 event link
- Mindful Self-Care: The Antidote to Burnout at Work | Sxsw.com event link
- Michelle Berry: sxsw.edu profile | Linked In | MichelleCourtneyBerry.com | Twitter
- SXSW Startup Crawl | Sxsw.com event link | Capital Factory | Austin Startup Crawl
- A walk through the Wellness Expo opening with Dr. Dion Klein | Sxsw.com event link
- The Future of Learning & Work | Sxsw.com 2019 event link
Other Great People I Learned from at SXSW
- Ashley M. Pinakiewicz: Design Thinking Consultant LinkedIn | Twitter | Through The Looking Glass
- Kwaku Aning: Education Consulting and Leadership | Kwaku Aning | Linked In
- Steven Freidmutter: Venture Capitalist Linked In | Twitter
- Andrew Gonzales-Raines: Software Developer | iTunes | LinkedIn | KeegansList