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February 13, 2011

Stay Inspired

by mikediliberto

It’s now officially less than a month until South By Southwest and in honor of the conference I wanted to share a little snippet that up until very recently was included in my speech this year.  I had to cut it out, so I’d like to share it with you here.  This was especially aimed at those of you that may be attending the conference for the first time, and formed the intro to my presentation. Keep in mind this was a “first draft” and still a bit rough around the edges.


You know, On the first day of my first year attending South By Southwest, I had the good fortune to go out to lunch with some of the awesome folks from Brazen Careerist. During lunch, over a few pints of Guinness a very wise woman in that group (I’m looking at you, Sydney) gave us first timers some great advice.  Specifically she told us about how it would feel to leave south by southwest and go back to the <airquotes> real world </airquotes>.  As she described the depression that we feel during the re-entry process, My first thought was, “so, about how many of those Guinness’s have you had so far?”.  but a few weeks later I knew exactly what she meant.

And so my advice to you is this:

Stay. Inspired.

You have to work at it, inspiration doesn’t always come easy out there in the real world.

It’s easy to be inspired here.  South By Southwest is inspiring wholly because of all of the amazing, inspiring people that attend every year.  Once you leave, it’s easy to get bogged down in the demands of your job, your classes, your wife, kids…all of the above.  But if you persevere, if you work hard to stay inspired, you can do anything.  If you take only one thing away from this conference, take with you the inspiration that you feel here, that knowledge deep down inside that together we can do anything.  Don’t lose that.

Stay. inspired.

Great things happen when we give our ideas an environment in which to flourish.  Over the past few years, lots of firms have released new products in a category they are calling “Innovation Management”;  and what they are creating is simply a virtualization of what we have right here, South By Southwest is an environment that fosters the growth of great ideas.

I have had the same job for almost my entire career.  I’m a visual merchandising designer; I design and build retail stores.  Now normally, visual merchandising and store design is not the type of thing that gets my audience to the edges of their seats.  But when I returned from south by south west last year, I found my self searching for inspiration. It was then that I realized that so many of the issues that I had been facing in my workplace were being faced by other people in a diverse array of backgrounds and industries.  The issues that I chose to focus on related to how my co-workers and I are able to collaborate across language, time zone and cultural barriers.

To help me recover from PSXSWDD (Post South By Southwest Depression Disorder), I started writing this presentation in April of last year. I shared it with a few people, and one of them liked it, and before I knew it, here I am speaking to you at South By Southwest.

And so today I would like to talk to you about the trials, tribulations and lessons learned in managing virtual teams in my small yet multinational company…..


So think of that as a teaser…you get the rest when you attend my session, in the Future 15 section, 11AM on Sunday the 13th of March. (I take the stage at noon). See you there.

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