An Experiment

Now that I'm back "home" in Calgary, I will probably transition this out of a personal travel blog and more in to my thoughts on interactive marketing, product development, usability, and other nerdy work shit. I'm probably still going to post about music, movies and other random personal stuff that I might be doing. The tagline of the blog is 'Stuff' after all... pretty non-specific and gives me a lot of leeway.

While traveling I was developing a little bit of regular traffic. I intentionally did not promote this place, because it was admittedly really boring, plus it was written basically for myself and a few other souls I mentioned it to (maybe 5 people total). Any other followers of this thing was by accident.

But now that I have a couple of people that check in here (because I assume they have nothing better to do with their time), I feel compelled to keep this thing going. Scott King mentioned to me while we were at SXSW that he's the man for blog marketing, so I thought I'd post something semi-interesting, do some bare minimum promotion to see what the results netted me.

If you have no idea who I am or had no idea that I was blogging - congratulations, you are a result of the experiment - I hope you stick around for future merriment.

Before I forget...

I have 4 SXSW tabs open in my browser, which I didn't want to close until I had a chance to write about my last few days at the festival. I'm not necessarily known for my memory so keeping tabs open helps me remember what's what. However, now that I'm back in Calgary, I have had trouble finding the time to blog, etc. I have a very compelling reason to be traveling again in mid-April so right now I'm working my ass off to make that happen.

I would like to come back later and review a band or two, but for now I'm just going to list out some of the bands that I was able to see on Friday & Saturday...

Japandroids, The Drums, The Very Best, An Horse, Suckers, The Antlers, She & Him, Chico Mann, Washed Out, Real Estate, Yelawolf, Sleigh Bells, Bone Thugs & Harmony, Junius, the Uglysuit, Athlete

The bolded acts were good to great. Sleigh Bells rocked their last song (Crown on the Ground, which was the only one I knew) but otherwise was pretty lame. Yelawolf was probably the most randomly entertaining (think 2010's bad-ass Vanilla Ice who throws out jeans, shoes that are in the shoebox, and full cans of Budweiser in to the audience) but were horrible musically. I had been listening to a lot of Uglysuit when I was in Brooklyn, so was really happy that they put on a great show... maybe my favorite set of SXSW. An Horse lived up to their name, Bone Thugs taught me a thing or two about different years in hip hop as well as dead rappers, and Athlete put on a really good acoustic show (which was probably good because the lead singer was drinking my water).

I saw a bunch of other music in bars, restaurants, taco/beer gardens, and on the street (including one of the better bands I saw, who are behind Cousin It in the above photo... I can't remember their name).

SXSW 2010 was a success. I will definitely be back next year with a few things in mind:

- pace yourself
- ABC's of SXSW are Always Be Charging
- bring business cards even if you're just hanging out
- don't expect to be able to do everything
- expect dumb questions from the audience
- expect dumb answers from the panel
- don't stick around if the session you're in is bombing
- you will meet important people just standing around
- get a hotel downtown
- breakfast tacos are a great cheap meal
- Fogo de Chao is a great expensive meal
- Sunday is free breakfast day
- rsvp to the parties
- rsvp with a +1
- don't rely on the SXSW web site for all of the event info around town
- don't rely on my.sxsw at all
- prepare for low urinals
- eat whenever you can and drink lots of water
- tequila to start the day, not to end it
- don't bring red wine in the hot tub room
- just because it's Texas doesn't mean it doesn't get damn cold
- suits are overkill and douchey, no need to pack even as a precaution
- packing extra socks couldn't hurt because the ones you packed might have giant holes in them
- Franks, Buffalo Billiards, Driskoll, Chupacabra, Stoney's Pizza, Iron Cactus, and Imperia
- spend more time in South Congress
- make time for Uncommon Objects
- even though giving the cab to the white supremacists might seem like a good idea, maybe just take it yourself as they may have left some friends behind.

Going to sit by the pool.

Waiting for some friends to show up in Austin. It's 10.30am but a beautiful day already, so I'm going to go sit by the pool. I'll be here for 11 more days and then back in Calgary for at least a couple of months.

As previously mentioned, I had a great meeting for Game Plan Systems on Tuesday. I was also able to stop in and chat with my client the Calgary International Film Festival. Aside from those 2 projects, I'm not too sure how much I want to get back involved with web marketing. It's not that I don't love the industry, but the hard part is that from a service provider standpoint it is a real grind. Sites like Clients from Hell illustrate the lack of respect for people in our industry. We don't sell anything tangible - we sell ideas, pretty pictures and lines of code - and I can understand where clients are coming from when dealing with us. I'm as guilty as anyone - when dealing with contractors I am bound by the limits of my budget and although I always try to be as fair as possible, often it is hard to justify paying as much as is asked for when there is such a variance in the outcome.

So my number one goal is still to make Game Plan's hockey training and coaching software successful. Over the next couple of months there is a lot I can do in Calgary to continue towards that objective. Beyond that, I'm wondering about the best place for me to be. New York was light years ahead of Calgary in fostering web entrepreneurship and my understanding is that San Francisco is even better. However, this is not possible due to visa restrictions - I will need some other work until Game Plan is self-sufficient and I can't do that in the US without a visa.

Toronto has a hotter hockey market and is on the East coast (which makes it closer to the important markets of NY, Boston and Montreal). Vancouver has a hotter interactive market than Calgary and is closer to Seattle and SF. Calgary has been home for a long time and it is a good hockey market and there is promise on the interactive front but I also have this Mashable article about the time-honored location, location, location in the back of my mind.

So now I'm going to put that in my brain-hole, take my orange book and sit by the pool for 3 hours. Sunburns await.

In Austin, waiting for luggage

After a whirlwind day in Calgary yesterday, meeting up with several friends, some pho at Co Do, a productive meeting for Game Plan, sliders at Loungeburger, and a chance to do some laundry and drop off 2 of my big suitcases - I didn't end up getting much sleep last night. Which matched my lack of sleep the night before in Toronto. And the night before in Brooklyn.

I'm now sitting in Austin, without my luggage (which didn't make the connection) and an inability to take out my contacts which are really bugging me. I'm exhausted but also pretty pumped about SXSW and trying to figure out what I'll do the first few days. I came across the video above and now am really having trouble getting to sleep.

Busy Day

Holy shit, what a crazy day. It's funny how sometimes things just fall in to place. Yesterday I was faced with coming back to Calgary this week to take care of some things at home (thereby missing Brooklyn) OR staying in Brooklyn and missing out on the things in Calgary I needed to take care of.

Luckily this morning, one of the things finalized itself.

Almost immediately afterwards I got some follow-ups in both Calgary and NY and all of the timing was able to line up nicely. So now I'm going to do both. I leave tomorrow and will be in NY from the 2nd to the 8th. Calgary on the 9th for a meeting and to drop off all the luggage I've been dragging around with me, and then on to Austin on the 10th for SXSW. The festival doesn't kick off until the 12th, so I will have a couple of days to unwind luckily.

I have a crazy travel schedule in front of me and so much work to do, but I have a ton of focus right now and am really excited. I'll definitely be feeling like George Clooney's character in Up in the Air by the end of the trip.

Fridays +/-5

My last 5 Fridays were spent in the following cities: NYC; AGP; GRX; CDZ; BCN
My next 5 Fridays will (likely) be spent in the following: AGP; NYC; AUS; AUS; YYC

I have yet to book the flight home from Austin. There's only one thing I have to discuss with someone which could derail an early trip home, but now that my mind is set on it, I am looking forward to having a Keith's at BTF, being in town for the playoffs & playoff pools, Phil's on Sundays, pho, having a place to go to work, and obviously seeing friends & family.

Aside from the above, what I really want is to be going back to NY. I'll have to figure out how to make that happen on a more permanent basis. Maybe in a year or two or five.

Another change in plans

Due to more unforeseen circumstances, it looks like I will likely be back in Calgary in March!

One of the main reasons for an early return is that I need to pick up a project or two to cover off a couple of bills. There are a couple of potential projects I can grab in Calgary so I will head back unless something drops in my lap when I am in NY or Austin. While I suppose there is a small chance of that, I also need to follow up on some stuff for Game Plan. I thought I would do it remotely but this will be easier. Plus I am starting to miss a few people back home, so I am ready to head back. A trip up to Edmonton will definitely be part of the plans as well.

I was thinking of heading to Maui in April or May, and if I can land a contract or two, then that's still in the cards. We shall see.