Consulting, Publishing, Engineering

SXSW 2014

South by Southwest Interactive Festival is always a blast! This year, they also had lots of space sessions (yay!).  I really liked listening Doug Ellison talking about climate data visualizations, John Yembrick talking about NASA’s social media strategies, and the entire NASAJPL panel talking about the EarthNow app.  But by far the coolest thing was chatting live with the astronauts on the International Space Station. Like you do.

The other really cool thing to me was trying out the EEG headsets called Mind Mobile that measure mental focus rigged as a game. It was set up by Subway, so the game was for each of the two players to focus on the sandwich on the screen.  The sandwich would move toward the side of whichever player focused harder.  People are just starting to figure out more ways to make this technology useful, but for now, it was cool that I won a Subway meal!

I was happy to attend a session by Humberto Perez on “The Creation of Safe Spaces Through Art Education” with Mark Olsen.  Humberto teaches at-risk kids in Austin; Mark Olsen teaches actors at Julliard & Columbia. They met as student & teacher!  It’s about building trust, so they had us play something called the Red Yellow Blue game.  Really interesting to see how pairs of people subconsciously merge together. Risk, change, the unknown can make people feel unsafe. But these are the things that enable growth and creativity. The also talked about the creative path vs classical “hero’s journey” — we are all the hero in our own lives (even villains, from their point of view). I also was very interested in the perspectives from an attendee from Guatemala on the difference between cultures about sharing online and IRL. The whole thing was set up as a core conversation, designed for lots of audience participation.  This can be tricky, but Humberto and Mark nailed it!

Here’s Humberto (on the left) later that evening, celebrating the sucess of the session.


We had to wait for a LONG time out in the rain, but I did get to see Bill Nye the Science Guy

I thought it was odd, but one of the local bars had a Bitcoin ATM in the back. Really? Bitcoin?

And I’ll finish up with a few other shots of me with friends.  Here, with Chris (@cheezmuffn)


and here with Robert Anderson



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