Tag Archives: Technology

SXSW Here I Come!

As you may have realized from the sidebar on the right hand side, I’m SXSW bound!  This will be my first time heading down to Austin, Texas and mingling with the technological, film, and musically inclined.  SXSW is somewhat of a long time dream of mine and starting tomorrow it will be fully realized.  Much of what I’m interested in both personally and professionally intersects with all of the different aspects of SXSW.

For the Film portion, I’m into seeing the movies that pull me back to my high school days.  During the late 90’s, I watched movies all of the time.  I would head to the now defunct Video Library out in Lenexa and pick up a movie 6 pack for the weekend then veg out on the couch.  After awhile, I got to the point where mainstream movies just weren’t enough.  I wanted to see the influence of great directors and actors, I wanted to see off the beaten path movies, and I wanted to tap into an underground that couldn’t otherwise be known if it weren’t for the 5,000 plus title Video Library sported.  It was an age of discovery for me.  I hope to relive that with the Film portion.

The Interactive portion is all about cutting edge technology and more importantly how it affects people.  Most people come away from this event with more than just the latest, hip social media trend.  Workshops are all over to walk through attendees on some of the best practices in development or the latest methods to integrate bleeding edge tech.  New technology will be on display as each big player brings out the best they have to offer.  This is the meeting of highly proficient minds and what spins out from that collaboration and networking can be something special.

My passion for technology and how new ideas affect people and hopefully improve their lives came from my college days.  I used to work in the only profitable division at Kansas State besides the athletic department:  the distance education department.  Because of the money we made, we got to preview and implement tech before it saw the light of mainstream.  We’re talking smartboards and video captured lectures using carts, cameras, and computers.  I always remember the impact it on the teachers utilizing that tech to help teach their content.  Hopefully,  I will see what new items (more than likely in the mobile realm) that will help people and their daily lives down in Austin.

The  Music portion speaks for itself.  Whereas the Interactive portion’s sessions usually start around 9am, the Music portion’s sessions start at 1pm.  The brunt of the showcases won’t end until the last encore song bleats out over the PA system at around 2am.  It’s all about bands and musicians coming together and sharing their voice.  On top that, they will share the methods and discuss topics on how to best use their voice.  The collective voice for SXSW will hear over 1000 bands joining in the song.

I’ve always been trying to find my voice.  Whether it’s in technology, music, or just my day to day actions.  I sport a decent amount of music equiptment that grows each day, but I’ve never found it sounding right to me.  Morever, I’ve also found it hard to share my voice with other people.  Courage will always be a hard thing for me.  I’m thinking that a chorus of over 1000 other bands may just help me join in and sing my song.  What better way to find my voice?

Half the fun of finding my voice is the path I take to get it..  That path leads me to SXSW.  Most of what I identify with will be represented in some form down in Austin.  I’m lucky enough to go down there and take part.  What do I hope to accomplish?  I want to start a new age of discovery.  I want get my hands on new technology to help others.  I want to mix with peers and jam out with them, whether it’s tech, film, or tunes.  Most of all, what I want to do on this trip is to bring back fresh inspiration and make some new friends.

This is a great opportunity for me to mix with like minded people and I’ll be bubbling up the better things from the event right here.  I’m going to do my best to document much of the road trip and the conference so be prepared for an onslaught of content.  Please feel free to share with me what you think.  If you are going down there, hit me up and let’s have some fun.  SXSW is like Mecca to me, even though I’ve never been and I don’t pray toward Austin every day.

Yang is Out as CEO of Yahoo!, I Hope My Fantasty Team is Okay

So while I was working out for the first time in forever earlier tonight (thank you fall cold), the CNBC people had a breaking news item that Jerry Yang dropped out as CEO of Yahoo!  I’m out of the shower now and, to no surprise, TechCrunch had it blasted on their front page.  Yang will step down and take his old job as Chief Yahoo (really?), and the search is on for a replacement CEO.  Is it too little too late?  I’m not sure.  When I think about the history of Yahoo! and my experiences with them, I’m leaning toward yes.

Yahoo! for me back in the day started out as the search engine to end all search engines.  Well, actually it was an index first before it became a search engine.  They competed with the likes of Alta Vista and came out on top.  When you’re on top, the only thing you can do is expand your business.  And boy did Yahoo! ever.  They started spitting out products left and right.   I still use some of their products today.  Their mail and messenger application being among the set.

But with every neat and cool application that came out, there were some duds.  Their Groups community was cool but I never really took to it, even though I was active in a group for my Introduction to Artificial Intelligence class.  Yahoo! was the first to introduce the concept of a ‘Profile’ but it was always hard to find and never really consistent, which is the biggest problem with Yahoo! They branched out but could never keep things consistent across all of their properties.

I enjoy BrightKite thouroughly (follow me at http://brightkite.com/people/hokey) , and when Yahoo! came out with a competitor, Fire Eagle, I jumped in as soon as I could in the hopes of integrating that with my messenger profile and other areas of Yahoo!  But there was no integration at all.  This kind of fragmentation is what burned Rome down and I’m fairly certain that it also dropped Yahoo! down to where it is now.

I hope when Yahoo! finds a new CEO, I hope they start first with consolidating every property across Yahoo!  They are consistent in some places and they excel at those places.  Yahoo! Games is still very popular and the Fantasy Sports area is the best of its kind.  They are going to need some help, and they are taking a step in the right direction by implementing their Yahoo! Open Strategy.  Let’s hope they turn it around.