Fairfield Four at SXSW

March 22, 2015:  The topic today is the user experience at SXSW 2015 – not what you’re likely to anticipate from the title above. That experience on the whole was one not to be missed, but there were areas that fell short, left people wanting something better, and are ripe for technology-based innovation for the 2016 edition.

pediatric medicine competition at SXSW 2015 with Mark Cuban

March 17, 2015: As promised last week, here’s my report on the 2015 edition of SXSW Interactive. There is considerable press coverage of every aspect of this event, but I’m going to provide some personal observations after nine very long days and late evenings, including the unofficial run-up  events, individual meetings with welcome visitors, and UTE Week (E=entrepreneurship) activities on the UT Austin campus prior to the official start of SXSW, which was Friday the 13th.

Pilot straps on oxygen mask

March 8, 2015:  As I write this essay just prior to the opening of SXSW, I’m going through the usual routine of adding new meetings or events to my calendar between the 10th through the 18th at the rate of about 2 or 3 per hour. These are all external to the 1000+ offerings of SXSW itself but are natural results of the visits of people I know or should know and with whom there are likely to be interesting conversations. Even Governor Abbott just invited me to the Mansion.

Ricky Steele Heart of Networking presentation We Work Austin 2-24-15

March 1, 2015: The company Enola Labs where I’m the advisory board lead has just moved into the new We Work facility in Austin and provided me a spot there. I’m also fully equipped at my home office and have another desk on the UT campus. But, in truth, I am fully functional just about anywhere I have my iPhone 6+ with me.

two roads diverge

February 22, 2015: The Longhorn Startup program Thursday gave me two contrasting views of “choices” in startup and scaling ventures.

Donald Rumsfeld press conference

February 15, 2015: TechDrawl is not a news organization; I try my best each week to convey with stories and a bit of humor some principles of value to the entrepreneurs and investors that comprise my audience. But, almost all my posts are inspired by something that has happened during the preceding week, whether newsworthy in the traditional sense or just a reminder of a topic worth covering.

rehearsal for Carmen

February 8, 2015: Not many artists have the gift to sing a cappella the National Anthem with the power and grace that Idina Menzel delivered at the Super Bowl. Nor can many carry off a halftime show with all the stagecraft and charisma of Katy Perry. We’ve all become accustomed to “production values” of that caliber in live shows, television, and film. This year even the football game itself was super.

Snake oil and other choices

Super Bowl Sunday, 2015: We’ve all heard variations of the aphorism “fast, good or cheap – pick any two.” If you are in the business of providing a professional service to consumers or to other businesses, this generally holds true. Customers who absolutely must have something done right and done quickly are in no position to quibble over price. Those who have no sense of urgency can stay at the back of the line and save some money by letting work get completed whenever.  And, obviously if you don’t really care about quality, you can go to Jack’s for fast and cheap.

medicine bottle with gibberish

January 25, 2015: Last month I was sitting with a friend who was judging her assigned category of the SXSW Accelerator applications. In the midst of other work myself, I heard her read aloud a paragraph that I thought was on an application, and I immediately said “that’s just gibberish.” She then pointed out she was reading the official category definition, to which I said: “Oops, I wrote that myself.” Guilty.

Augusta National postcard

January 17, 2015: If you read the NYT on your iPad, you see every day the “Most Emailed” page, which is a good barometer of the articles that have captured the interest of readers. One that was prominent on that list this past week referred to a study by psychologist Arthur Aron, who tested the utility of a 36-question survey to determine if two people could intentionally select each other as partners and not leave their futures in the hands of Cupid.

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