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:
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, Read more
My wife and I just returned from a trip to New York to visit with my family, and while there we managed to spend one of our days in New York City, where I grew up.
(my family just recently realized that I have nearly reached the point where I have not lived in New York for as long as I lived in New York, and they took this opportunity to remind me of this newly discovered fact several times. Thanks mom!)
We had a chance to have dinner with some friends, who asked my wife what quintessential “New York Things” had I taken her to see. She quickly responded by recounting our first trip to New York, which we spent riding the subway and visiting every Best Buy in Manhattan, along with a few other smaller retailers. In hindsight, probably not the best first impression that I could have provided, however, it serves as a great metaphor for the motivations that drive me as a retail design thinker. I am passionate about what I do. A little too much at times.
I started my career in manufacturing, designing and building merchandising solutions, Read more
It is really hard to believe that 19 months have gone by so fast, yet at the same time, I know that it is time to be done. I am back on campus for the last week of class, and all things going well, my MBA will be conferred this coming Friday.
My classmates and I are participating on our capstone courses, receiving debriefings on a lot of the projects that we have been exposed to over the past few years. It’s been hard work, and this has been a long time coming. At the same time, I am sad to see it come to an end, and I will miss the classes and classmates that have come to occupy all of my formerly free time.
They asked us to stand up and say what our most important take-away from this program has been, and it was very hard to narrow it down to one single thing that stands above all others. For me, my greatest take away has been understanding that the most important responsibility that I have as a manager is not having all of the answers, but rather, knowing how to ask the right questions. One of the litmus tests that I revisit frequently is to look at past situations and ask myself if I would act differently in that same situation; in many cases, the answer is yes. Of course, I don’t know whether the outcome would have been different, but at the very least, I know that my increased knowledge helped me have a deeper breadth of understanding of all of the factors in play.
In other news, my session at South By Southwest has made it into the panelpicker, and is up for vote this week. I will be talking about the emergence of “Commercial Open Source” as a business model. Although at first, I had aimed this session at firms in the software space, my research in this topic over the past few weeks has led me to the realization that it is not just software but many industries that can drive innovation from the bottom up.