I’m not getting a lot of sympathy when I complain about getting ready for SXSW. C’mon people…it’s no easy task figuring out which of a zillion parties to attend, and sorting out where the cool kids will be hanging. Alas, sitting next to me in the office, Jeanne just rolls her eyes and says, “Talk to the hand.” The truth is Jeanne is working on everything that requires real brainpower. My job is to cover all the mindless labor tasks. It’s my preference; I excel at those.
Here’s a little photo essay covering my to-do list of SXSW prep. First, I’m making Grommet giveaways, as depicted in my prototype below.
There’s a special cocktail party for companies like ours (Microsoft BizSpark Accelerator finalists) where we showcase our businesses. Jeanne cooked up a clever Grommet Giveaway. We’ll have a bowl full of numbered Grommets (like the ones in our sculptures, which are really flat cut washers) to give away (looped on twine). The idea is that people will wear the Grommet and then check in on Twitter during the event for our announcement of winning numbers, for which we will give away some particularly exciting Grommets.
My job this week is to number the washers with a Sharpie. I will do this happy little task Tuesday night, during a meeting with a bunch of high-powered friends who will probably pitch in and help me get the job done.
Next, I need to select which hat to wear for that special cocktail party, sponsored by Volusion. They call it the “Johnny Cash Blackout Party” and we are told to wear our favorite black hat. Here are my choices:
Help me decide please.
Do I go with the neutral sporty Nike: “Hey I’m cool and active. I run. And I am secure enough to wear a logo.”
Or, Carnegie Mellon: “Yeah I roll with the geeks.” (But then I might have to reveal that I am old enough to have a son who attends CMU.)
Or (late entrant, surfaced by said son) the artiste Black Beret. “Timeless hip.”
I’ll go with the advice of my blog readers. Give me a quick vote please.
Next up, I will be carefully assembling a 10″ high stack of business cards. (As discussed recently this is part of regular life at Daily Grommet.) It’s not as much as it sounds: our business cards build up to 10″ twice as fast as an ordinary card. It’s kind of symbolic. Our team gets twice as much done as an ordinary team.
OK now the fun part. Footwear.
Do I go with the boots I usually wear? This IS Texas after all.
And in the back of my mind, as I am happily writing little black numbers on silver Grommets, laboriously choosing parties, and selecting footwear, I am very conscious that I SHOULD BE WORKING ON MY PRESENTATION.
Especially since the event organizer Chris Valentine just released the incredible, intimidating, inspiring list of judges I’ll be in front of. Just look at this list and weep:
On Day 1, Scott Belsky, Chris Brogan, Chi-Hua Chien, David Dunne, Elliott Hurst, Jeff Pulver, Paul Graham, Philip Kaplan, Marshall Kirkpatrick, Brian Wallace, Tim Chang, and Erich Broksas will lend us their insights as they narrow down the finalists to the top 12 companies that will return for round 2.
Picking up the torch on Day 2 we have Omid Ashtari, Tom Conrad, Michael Dodd, Dave Evans, Stacey Higginbotham, Mark Hindsbo, Guy Kawasaki, Fabio Rosati, Naveen Selvadurai, Robert Scoble, Chris Shipley and Josh Williams
I’d better be doing the pitch of my life if Paul Graham is going to judge me. I just may be in a spot of trouble with Paul. You see, Inc. magazine published a letter I wrote questioning the diversity of founder choices in his otherwise esteemed Y Combinator Program. Hopefully he’s on open minded kind of guy–he does know design and e-commerce, which is good for Daily Grommet. And…maybe I can get in his good graces by virtue of the fact that I wrote a glowing review of his wife Jessica Livingston’s book a couple years ago.
I don’t read–or love–many business books, so liking that particular book was a big deal (for me anyway.) I took a picture of it: Founders at Work on my bookshelf, where it lives near my other highly selective favorites. Really. I did not stage this shot. Really.
Anyway, that’s the news from the SXSW presenter-attendee front. I am still looking for advice about Austin and any possible Grommet hunting I can do there. My pal Rudy Rouhana gave me a great list of restaurants and Grommet team member Kate Reynolds McLeod gave Joanne a terrific list of indie shops to haunt.
Counting down. Six days to departure.
Finally, if you are coming, please be a pal and be a friendly face during my presentation:
Monday, March 15 3:30, Hilton Salon F, Sixth Floor
Category: Most Innovative Social Media Business
Drinks are on me, after the session. In fact, they will probably be literally on me, as I stumble out, seeking rest and relief, after the high-energy event.