Mar 17

Morrissey on stage

Morrissey on stage

Originally uploaded by RachelC.

According to the blurb…”In what could best be described as a once in a lifetime experience, Morrissey will be interviewed by Rolling Stone’s David Fricke for a SXSW Interview on Thursday, March 16, 1:15 PM – 2:30 PM at the South By Southwest Music Conference, followed by a performance later that evening at the Austin Music Hall, presented by the BBC Radio.”

So sitting here waiting for the arrival of the star guest. No problem with getting power in this case…very few people carrying laptops and of those that do, most appear to be press.

My view isn’t the best in the world..but it’ll do. Again we go with the no flash photography…(the first 5 minutes or so were accompanied by the constant whirring of cameras from both professionals and amateurs. However, not sure how many wil turn up to be found on the web..for the beastie boys, only found one photo on Flickr

.And the reason for turning up? He has a new record…

(throughout, Q= David Fricke and A=Morrissey..this is a sort of transcribed version of the interview, so only worth reading if you are a Morrissey fan)

Q: the new record..the last song, the first lines..why is he ‘finally born’ after 23 years..
A: it takes people a long time to learn things in their life,,I’m now seeing joyful things in life, which I didn’t in the past (maybe you noticed) the last year has been an eyeopener

A: what eyeopeners
Q: politically the world is ridiculous..but a lot of beautiful things…in nature…and nature calms you down

Q: how are you different form 83
A: hope to god different.,..look back it’s quite shocking
Q: what’s shocking
A: everyone changes..
Q: are you writing with more honesty?
A: always honest, always brutally honest..
Q: were there moments when singing..did you think you were too honest, putting too much of you out there
A: yes..sometimes thought was too much..,but was not going to stop me, ..did not want to be what I was, wanted to mean something to people who listened,,that is quite difficult in music..artists are not encouraged to be themselves..I was discouraged..
Q: you enjoyed the artifice of it?
A:not really much choice,,this or nothing…had to be this way..if I horrified people, made people vomit, that is a confirmation of something, a reaction and with most music don’t get reaction
A: most people thing that to make music is enough,,but it is not..when bad music you get really angry..there’s too many people making music

Q: there’s self referential lyrics…for a lot of other song writers not the same…in the new songs referenc to satisfation and completion?
A: completion? if that was the case then TV/radio would not have been invented. I feel I’m a social writer who likes to think everything is true..if feel you are a writer by compulsion than have to write everything

Q: when you wrote Reel around the Fountain it was banned by BBC and the tabloids had a field day…you were being honest..
A: when press wrote about it in england, I was amused, that they cared..most of what press wrote is ludicrous..was horrified at the inference

Q: were your declarations of celibacy too open
A: only said it twice…but still here discussing it. it was me for a while and then it wasn’t everyone goes through dry spells!

Q: what drove you to announce publically
A: it’s the way it had to be..never been showbiz driven..whay I’ve never been on the cover of Rolling Stone (pointed look at interviewer) as I am too real…it’s generally considered that public cannot cope with reality…which is crap as they you think that?
Q: the notion that there is too much truth and we should not know things is crime..the notion that we should not see the body bags from Iraq..their service, what ever you think, their sacrifice should be noticed,,,war is upsetting – get used to it

Q: the new record producer..why try and work with someone who was working with new wave revival..
A: most modern groups do go back..can’t see any groups who are doing things new..most groups think if they reproduce then that is good enough…with Jeff thought the sound of the the album (Killers) was good. but it was pity it did not work out…
Q: what about tony visconti (3 days notice)
A: jeff was into that also…with tony..the album was made in rome..he’s intalian, hugely talented, a great person, and everyone was happy.
Q: what does a producer do for you?
A: they are very busy people…they bring everything together…you take a song here and they can take it there…they bring something, the sound is brighter, the voice is brighter, a great producer is an asset
Q: have you had producers trying to change lines and songs
A: No one should be that silly
Q : but producers who do?
A: those who allow it should not be making music in the first need to now what you are doing
Q: how many changes do you do?
A: nothing..once finished (Written), little will change

Q: I’ve a suspicion that you start with titles..the titles get your attention and give you a way in…but are they your way in
A: more people will see title than hear the song -so has to be just as interesting..people buy songs ‘cos of the title..yes I do start with titles and it leads everything else

Q: do you need colaborators?
A: yes, as not a musician…don’t want to be a musican and don’t want to play a instrument…want to be simply naked before the are a cop out…a way of avoiding the audience,,if you sing you have to look at people..if you have a guitar and you block everyone then you may as well be behind a tree. No man is an need a printer
A: did you try instrument
A:yes..tried drums,..but who wants to be a rock musician

Q: how did you work with Johnny Marr
A: it was the music first, then the melody and vocal words. we worked together and discussed
Q: a lot of the guitar stuff was evocative, not a lot of effects, hi quality..straight forward
A: he was very melodic, very prolific, played guitar in a strange way, people could not reproduce..he was talented and had a great melancholy..he always beleived he was happy ….talent is the ingredient, can’t buy it

Q: was there something that johnny needed from you to be a complete team
A: yes..we each had lots of influences…pulled together to get something original. you don’t copy, but think that the way people do it is the way to be we bought different stuff. I liked cheap british stuff…johnny liked a lot of folk stuff

Q: is there something about the way you wrote with johnny that you lost when the smiths went?
A: there was a time that was right, it was very fruitful, it was a fantastic journet and then it ended, thankfully, and that’s that. At the time i felt it should have continued but he wanted it to end..
Q: did you feel forced to go on your own…he was the only person you wrote with?
A; well there was someone else, but Johnny was the beginning but that is dim and distant past
Q: why go back to the smiths songs?
A: I avoided due to the split…then i thought I was being silly by avoiding them.
Q: whats the highest amount of money offered to reform
A: 5million dollars…for a festival this year. Is that high or low?
Q: did you give it half a thought?
A: no cos money does not come in to it…when you start doing things for money something terrible happens to you

Q: what was it aobut the New york Dolls?
A: i thought they were incredibly…funny, witty, rebellious, eveything a group should be and the US press ignored them which made me like them more
Q: what was it?
A: I saw the glamour…could not see anywhere else in US groups…I thought they were everything

Q: as you grew up..what elements made you want to be involved in music..
A: first record was marianne faithful come and stay with us…
Q: what was it about pop celebrity that made you dream it was possible
A: perhaps cos thought nothing else was poss that this was the only route..he got convinced that you could make pop music and noisy music that could be intelligent. the peope that aren’t listening should not be catered for..should be ignored..assume everyone is intelligent and see how the world changes

Q: you saw Bowie in 72..what was the impact
A: he played at a garden centre, 300 people turned up…it was pretty shocking..the music was fantatstic, the glamour aspect was wondeful..people forget how drab it was..but bowie was going somewhere must have been life threatening as he walked around like that…people were going on about the ormond brothers etc..but to see an incredible creature like bowie..
Q:but you expressed disillusion said he was only relevant by accident..
A: but that was an indirect quote…but that can be said about any rock star and absolutely about him… it ended and he has made lots of albums that aren’t fantastic..but he changed everything..and that is good as most people don’t do things
Q: but that could be said about you..the chance of meeting Marr
A: agree,,that is true
Q: how valuable is the quality of accidnet
A: but that applies to everythng in life..does anyone know where they will be next week

Q: when did you start writing lyrics
A: when 6..righteous’ve lost that loving feeling..would hide under table and tantrum until certain records were bought for me

Q: who were writing for?
A: nobody at all, just me

Q: do you remember the first song that you felt there was confirmation that you could do it?
A: yes hand in glove…no questions about it…so strong

Q: now making records in a bis that consumes celebrity rather than music (American Idol)
A: nothing to do with me (protests)…everyone know it is crap but peope do like it..the very last thing these people are is an’s a modern talent show and i feel sympathy for contestants..the very game of ridculing is a game…too much…
Q: has celebrity become less special?
A: it’s meaningless…the people who are celebrated are celebrated for being known..not for enriching the world..they live in a complete fantasy land

Q: you made 3 videos for new recod which are kind of take-off of the Eurovision Song Contest
A: when a child In was amazed by Eurrovision as a contest of songs and amazed at construction of songs. Now it does not interest me…but as a 10 yearold would watch closely…listen to the construction..
Q: what resonated from songs and winners (Waterloo for example)
A: there are many I and nasty, cost a pound,,made by people who wre probably executed the next day!
Q:is it annoying to compete in this atmostphere
A: annoying as trying to present thoughtful music and surrounded by people who are not and people who are rewarded for being mundane,…if you try and do good you are dare you try and enlighten us..if you try to be thoughtful you are cross examined and have to explain why not simple…find it unfair..all know it’s unfair..but that is life

Q: You were interviewed by a result of comments about bush during the tour…and special branch in UK on saying it should have been bush the day reagan died
A: when made the comment on stage all the crowd cheered and they weren’t was quite scary..the people could kill was frightening

Q: how were you called in?
A: they pick you up in a public place, humiliate you..shout at you,you should go with them to save face
Q: what were they asking
A: they were sounding me out to see if a threat..just checking if was the UK if speak out about the gov they knight you and you shut up…it was different here.

Q: in first Rolling Stone interview…you suggested that Thatcher was so evil that she should be do reconcile Meat is Murder with assassination…that is an extreme statement
A: Thatcher was a destructive force..celebrated at Falklands losses..disgusting behaviour..the only political leaders that I admire are those that can solve political situations without bloodshed..Thatcher was aggresive and enjoyed it
Q: any US politicians?
A: don’t really know many as they are have to go to Europe to find out what is happening in US as the US does not really tell you anything…sees no-one in politics that speak to me..

Q: are you stateless, rootless
A: feel I live nowhere..which is handy…cyberspace
Q ;how do you describe you politics
A: I’m opposed to anything barbaric..which is considered weird..don’t cheer about what you can to oppose barbarism and cruelty is all you can do.

Q: what do you thing about what passes for british rock celebrity (pete docherty..)
A: when people mention his name they talk about his fuck ups…it’s his life..I think people maul over him and hopes he expires and will feel dissapointed if he does not expire
Q: how did you cope with the whims of the press – ups and downs
A: it is personal and you can’t think it is not cos it is…if you can rationalise it and you can read into things..most dreadful thngs where written by people who wanted to be involved in something and cos I don’t get involved they wanted to get revenge..never simply the fact that someone does not just like your album,..I can take it

Mar 16

SXSW – Beastie Boys Audience Interview

The final panel of today is an interview with the Beasties boys. Queuing was mandatory, but the attendance appears to be the same as the Bruce Sterling monologue on Tuesday.

Whilst knowing a fair bit of their music, I’ve never been a fan enough to work out who was who…so I took just general notes about the conversation. I found it interesting that they did not really say too much in this interview…they entertained for sure, they made the audience laugh. But as none of these questions were prescreened (live from the audience) they had to skip over things, either because they had no desire to answer or could not for legal/sponsorship reasons. I guess for similar reason, photography by the audience was limited to a little bit at the start and end.

Despite that it was an entertaining hour…here’s some of the notes that I took during the talk. One of the key reasons for the interview was the release of a concert documentary – “Awesome: I Fuckin’ Shot That!” They had given out 50 cameras to fans at a concert and thentook a year to edit all the footage together and release it.

Q: they have released 30 a capella tracks for people to remix; they let 50 fans shoot their do they feel as artists if people take their music. They have broken ground..hopes it will come the norm..will other people do this?
A: it’s a tough make the’s your thing…and people can put their spin on it..but they still need the money!
it’s cool having people doing their thing with your thing.

Q: did you run into obstacles to create the finished product (the movie)
A: sample clearance was a bitch…the DJ was throwing in all kinds of beats when live which were not on the recordings…and they had to figure out what it was..and then get clearance.

Q:After the Anthology…what was the inspriation for Solid Gold Hits…you had already done the Anthology…why do it twice…
A: Can’t give the answer (aside…the label made them do it) but we preferred the Anthology as how it was meant to be put together

Q: are you going to be running another label
A: I hope not…
Q: how was the deal with EMI
A: it was good to work with friends and get stuff they liked out there. But trying to reconcile and have it be a business was not so fun.
Q: any mistakes to learn from?
A: keep it small and keep it simple

Q: so much footage…how long to edit
A: took a year. they screening here only was in stereo..not the full surround sound…so you did not get the full experience

Q: do you have a professional opinion on the sound quality on MP3s
A: we’re not professional…mp3 are useful…sometimes people want good stuff, othertimes no

Q: do they find it difficult to produce from scratch…or easier to sampling
A: smapling is easier to do, but legally a problem
Q: is it still worth it
A: yes, it is how we grew up… like using samples and it makes it all come together. certain grooves and sounds – you can try all day, but samples often have a certain magic.

Q: read in remix that they were using Reason…what are your thoughts about using software instead of instruments/boards etc
A:e ach have their own sound…Reason gives convenience..but all the others have charateristics…
Q: which one is the most inspiring
A: good when on airplane…good for travelling and moving. right thing at right time. now anyone with laptop can do it.

Q: how pleased are you with the result of the movie..would they do something better/different?
A: told people start shooting earlier..give people more tapes and batteries to extend..(the support act were not in it).
expecation that the support was in. it would have been good to give the cameras before the show…

Mar 15


Yesterday, posters appeared around the conference centre announcing that music passes were all fitted with RFID tags. And that you would be scanned going to events..and that the information could be collated and used to send you approprite marketing materials. This was news to me..I could not remember seeing that anywhere in the sign up process. It is all done in the name of protecting you and your experience tp prevent forgery. Mmm…where have I heard that argument before.

Mar 15

Ted Cohen Interview

Deidre and Ted

Originally uploaded by RachelC.

The first session of the day was an interview with Ted Cohen, SVP Digital Dev & Distribution, EMI Music,(pictured here with Deidre at a party the other night). Peter Kafka from Forbes carried out the interview; I’m not sure of his background, but to me he certainly started off his questioning very agressively, seemlingly holding something against the big record companies as repesented by EMI and Ted. There were challenges about declining record sales, increase of single track downloads, old business models, impact in indi lables and working with online models. Throughout, Ted held his ground and ensured he got the mesage across that he thinks things were changing.

Update: Peter has updated me on this:”i covered entertainment and other topics for forbes mag for 8 years; now i edit’s media and tech coverage. if i seemed aggressive it’s just because i knowthat ted is an articulate speaker who can get his point across and wanted to provoke him into doing so; hopefully that worked.” I agree here – he did get his point across well and the questions asked did provoke good responses

Key points I took out of it were:

  • EMI believes it has got better at understanding the users and offering them alternatives. It’s not just the record sale anymore.
  • the digital market allows far more artists shelf space than could happen in meatspace alone.
  • EMi is in a transition – the change to digital cannot happen overnight
  • they may be selling smaller quantities of more artists (like an indi label) but still have more to offer in their expertise and experience in developing the artist. They are getting better at spending moeny inteligently to support this.
  • he thinks the digital music could be improved by intereoperability in itunes. There are better devices than the ipod, it’s just that itunes has 80% of the market.
  • he’s optimistic in hoping that this is the year that subscription takes off, that the systems will work together, that you can have cross platform playlists etc.
  • they are always examining opportunties to increase avaialability for things like podcasts. There are a new set of ground rules and he is keen to ensure there is an appropriate compensation. Good for things like music discovery and new artists.
  • he’s excited about the opportunities with over the air music, mobile development etc

A very switched on guy, working to make the most of the digital space. halfway through he pulled out a bag of gadgets, all new offerings in portable devices that will let you play music and video.

Mar 15

SXSW on Tuesday

My first panel today was on VIdeo Blog Business Models. From the beginning this panel was far more of a conversation than a presentation. Well moderated, it explored the various business models that could be used. These ranged from in video advertisements, adsense, through to subscription. No common best model emerged; the key thigs wre knowing your audience. The challenge appears to be selling these type of ads, as there is a lack of understanding within the companies and agencies approached to provide ads. Even with high numbers (rocketboom gets between 2-300k downloads) the opportunity was difficult to explain. For large scale video, the business has not yet solidified its model. A single site may be able to support hosting with Adsense or local sponsorship, larger providers of hosting need to have a far more robust model to ensure they can provide the infrastructure needed.

There was a vigrous discussion about ads and their placement. Rocketboom, where they have creative control over the ads, have placed them at the end. There was some challenge from the audience that maybe the ads should be at the beginning as well, otherwise people may just not watch them. As people are used to watching ads throughout TV programmes, then the audience would accept it. Here I disagree – I’d rather pay subscription (eg licence fee) with no ads or watch via tivo and skip them.

A final discussion related to building brands. An important aspect of video blogs or any element that is looking for advertising, is to build credibility and a brand. The panel were asked how they are doing it. The answers ranged from offer a specific type of content, always give a great user experience, know the audience and listen to them and participate and converse with the audience.

Next up was a geek lunch. Here, Brian Oberkirch, Jon Lebkowsky and Evelyn Rodriguez talked about their experiences with Hurricane Katrina and the Asian tsunmi and how they used blogs, wikis and online communities to assist in the locating of missing people, supporting survivors and getting the story out. Less of a discussion than the previous one, it was a fascinatiing insight into the challenges faced.

A quick diversion into the Secret Sex lives of video games gave me far more information than I ever needed to know about the various online games that support sexual activity. The last session with Bruce Sterling ended up being standing room only as he gave a monologue about globalisation, spimes and poetry.

So that was the last day of the SXSW Interactive. The conference and the evening activities made for a an exhausting time. I’m staying for the music festival now, which is just as packed, if not more so. The music regstration started today and it looks like a far different crowd – the clothes are far cooler for a start. And I think the wireless will be slightly less temperamental as the number of laptops may reduce.

I picked up the swag bag for the music. Still lots of paper, but more CDs and a few more goodies. As the photo shows, the expectation of the sponsors is different for the music festival. As well as the tape (for which I have no tape player) you get a lighter with an inbuilt bottle opener, a condom and an hangover survival pack.

Mar 14

SXSW On Monday

Monday was another quiet day when it came to panels – I keep leaving early. The key one I wanted to watch I got pulle dout of due to a call, but it sounded entertaining from later reports – the Future of Darknets. The position on the panels were entrenched – there’ll never be agreement, these sessions are made for the arguments. I crept in at the end to hear the MPAA rep (Kori Bernards) state the industry position that DRM was there to help the consumer and prevent piracy. Which of course it blatently does nothing of the sort. And whilst arguments are framed in these words, working towards a common solution becomes impossible. DRM does nothing to help the consumer – it reduces the value of the content I own, it means it does less than it did before. And the pirates have the time, money and incentive to break DRM with ease, so nothing happening there.

Maybe some of the panellists should have been listening to the keynote chat between Craig Newmark and Jimmy Wales. There was a lot of talk about communities of trust and how most people want and will do the right thing. Studies have indicated that people who download buy the products in greater volumes; give people something that is easy to do, that is felt to be priced right, they want to do the right thing. But remove the trust, push the price, then that will drive people away.

I appreciate Newmark’s philosophy – set up and infranstructure and get out of the way. This came out loud and clear when it came to questions. A number of people wanted to step up and thank Craig for the support post Katrina. His response – they did a couple of things (like set up a Baton Rouge site) but in general, all they did was keep the servers running and get out of the way – the site is user run.

There was some talk about the policing and service methods on both Craigslist and Wikipedia. There are always bad apples, but the number them have not necessarily increased as the sites have become more popular, despite the number of journalists ringing up to wanting to build that story. The percentage has decreased as more ‘good’ people come on board. Working closely with ISPs help, which is one of the few impacts the eBay share buy has had – access to a team of people who do nothing but talk and work with ISPs to police the sites.

And the source of arguments and flame wars between groups is similar on both sites. It’s not necessarily driven by politics, but is between reasonable people and jerks, which exist in all parts of the spectrum. However, the pet fanatics seem to take up a lot of customer service time on both sites!

Inthe afternoon I went along to the ‘selling big ideas t big clients’, at least for a while. It was more like a run through of the agency successes instead of insights into the process – and I’ve been to far too many agency pitches. The last session of the day was packed – on what people are doing onthe web, and it had good potential, but turned more into a run down of numbers(difficult to do in 10 mins) and questions about techniques. Hopefully the presenations will be put up somewhere on the web as there appears to be soem good comparisons between the SXSW audience and the general population which display the gap between the people who talk about the web and what people generally do.

One more day of interactive to go!

Mar 13

Womens; Visibility, Value Add and Tagging

A few random things learnt today…that you have to blag your way into every bar when they ask for ID. I have a reluctance to carry around my passport, but so far the line “I’m English, I don’t have picture ID” seems to work as managed to get into the bars OK so far.

Another observation is the decline of the wristwatch. Only a minority of people seem to wear them. So far reasons dicussed are the every present mobile phone, the use of the laptop to tell the time or the fact that typing whilst wearing one is a problem, But with this reduction, it means that my usual method of looking at everyone else’s watch to confirm the time does not work here very well.

Yesterday was a quiet day for me and panels. I ended up only going to one formal one, about women and visibility. This is a conversation that is not new ont he web or anywhere else, and it is not going to be sorted by any single panel, although their did seem to be a few questions in the mix aksing a strightforward ‘what is the secret’. The general consensus from the panel was that you need to work at being visible – there is no secret, you have to get out and make yourself visible, you have to put in time and effort and commit do following whatever strategy you desire.

At one point the audience was asked how many of them considered themselves visible? Very few hands were raised at this – but what does that question mean. A number of people in the room had not heard of any of the panel, who were, presumably, picked because they had visibility. I’ve got between 30-40 subscribers (one day I may switch to feedburner to get actual numbers…) – how visible does that make me? So what is the question? Are people looking for visibility within the general internet population, within their own specialist area, within their peer group whether that be split by expertise, gender or specialist subject. There’s no one question, just as their is no one answer. One solution proposed by Liz Henry was a more formalised method of identification, of classification , so it makes it easier to find people. Some apprehension was expressed at giving out such information, with some preferring the anomynity that the web gives. Should we more offline perceptions onto the web? It’s too late for that, they’re already there. If they weren’t, these questions would not be there. T

The web is the most equal of spaces – use follows population in general – 50% of users are women, 50% of bloggers are women. I don;t know if the question is just being asked in the tech/conference area, where there is a real offworld bias that reflects online – do other blogging communities as the same question?

At lunchtime, I went along to a geek lunch. Apparently a new departure for SXSW, there were focused lunch discussions, with this one being on ‘Who owns the creative’ The owners of the conversation (as much as it could be owned) were Jane Wells and Chris Messina. Eight of us had an interesting discussion about creative, IP and moving into open source discussion. There were some nightmare tales of companies who want to own you and everything you do 24*7. My previous company used to do this, but stopped about 10 years ago – i think it was partly tied into the job for life environment. But this does not happen any more, so the contractual clause was dropped. But it appears to be live and well in the IT companies.

This conversation finally chrystallised a thought that I’d been dwelling on following an interview I evesdropped on with Piers last week. He was asked how he could make money if all his thinking and trnedspotting is put on the blog for anyone to see. It is the same for open-source software – Simon Phillips definitely had a point about propietry software slowy dying except for specialised situations. ANd it is becoming the same for some content/creative in a way. My thoughts are that is not the information, the open source software of the raw creative elements that will necessary make people money going forward, but the value they can add to it. So for trend spotting and strategising – everyone has access to the same information, the expertise you pay for is what they do with it and what they turn it in to, not for some mysterious source of private info that you;re not sure before the fact whether it can be turned into something useful as all previous work is hidden and sioloed. For open-source, it’s not the software itself but the value that can be added from packaging up, supporting it, making it do something special for the client. For creative it can be making things that people drive poeple to want them and use them. There are examples of bands and artists that make their living solely from web based creative. But that won’t work for all, this is not a model that can be ubiquitous.

The final conversation of the day was all arounnd tagging. This late night natter ended up being podcast and videod by the side of the road (it was the quietest place that could be found) by Eric Skiff and Christopher St John..

We were talking about 3 kinds of tags – personal, group and fixed and how they can be applied both internal and external webs. .

The latter is the typical taxonomy, topdown fixed categories. FOund in document management systems, where documents or information have a metadata assigned to them based on the design principles. Little room for movement, they are fixed. Information canb only be sorted in certain ways, that are either agreed witht he community, or, more likely, imposed by the system owners. I see this only being useful when the information collected can be predicted and has a level of permanance. When you know waht you are going to get, there are unlikely to be excpetions and the data needs to be kept for a while – the community here needs to be closed with little dissent allowed. ANy changes would come through a process.

At the other end of the spectrum are the personal tags. the ones that are only applicable to one person, that mean something that would not easily be recognised by others. These can be extremely ephemeral, or permanent, but they are not really designed for more than one persons use. Blog and photo tags fall into this category, but it can also be how a person organises and names files (either physical or data).

In the middle are the emergent group tags. These often start off as individual tags, but through a process of being shared and examined, a group consensus can emerge (or can be suggested). An example is here at SXSW where there are a number of different tags being used on Flickr to record events. SXSW, SXSWi, SXSWi2006, SXSWi06 etc etc. My behaviour, and the behaviour of others I’ve spoken to, is to adjsut their tags to meet the group norm. Taking a look at the most popular tags on flickr allows you to adjust your own. But you don’t have to – what this is demonstrating is group behaviour where you want your stuff to be noticed. If you were only interested in tagging your own stuff for your own study, then you would stick to the ones that you would wnat. By looking at the group norm and adjusting to that, you are asking to be part of a group and, more inportantly, asking for attention as part of that group.

Into this middle category I see group mandated tags falling – things like barcampaustin, or interactiveplaypen which the group behind the lego pits here are asking people to use for pictures of the lego. These requests ask you to join the group, to share your work, to allow a multiple perspective of the event to evolve.

One otehr aspect I see from these level of tags is related to level of permanance of information. Exploring options for internal intranets, I can see blogs, wikis and document management systems falling a spectrum. Data and information becomes more fixed and loglived as you proceed through the spectrum of tools. A blog may be for the moment, to look at current events and discussions that are happening in the environmen – a personal perspective even though it invites conversationst. The information would always be there, but may onoy be relevant for a moment. Wikis are more of a resource for group knowledge; can be built on and flexed, change with time, but still a record of the group knowledge of the time. And DMS is for fixed stuff, that changes slowly, that is legal or policy driven, or needs to be mandated top down to be used by all the community at any one time (eg annual planning documents etc).

Both the information and the tags associated with the info can move up and down this ladder. On the web, much of this is emergent behaviour – it is self -policed (and then we hit standards bodies). In a business environment the same model can be applied – the lower levels are self policied and you only need officialdom as you het the fixed stuff. But having gardeners to direc the process, to help emergent tags and make sure the taxonomy can reflect such stuff is a critical role.

Enough of yesterday – need to go now and think of today.

Mar 13

After Party


Originally uploaded by RachelC.

Arriving at Club De Ville for the after party for the web awarrds, we all got given glowsticks …which break if you twist them too far. And then give great photo opportunities.

Mar 12

SXSW – First Day Review

The first day is over and what have I learnt?

  • that I should stop goign to blogging panels as I’m not picking up anything new. The better converasations on that topic are one on one.
  • how the term AJAX was derived – and something that the coiner Jesse thought was a small concept rapidly took over his life.
  • that whilst AJAX may be cool, there are still a lot of problems with usability and accessibility – but the answers are being made up on the fly; there is never a master plan
  • that AJAX is the obvious next step but not the obvious last step in the evolution of the web as an application platform. There’s a lot more to come and quickly
  • if entrepeneurs want to become businesspeople, their key skill is to learn quickly
  • the curious will inherit the earth (Jim Coudal)
  • do things on the side, respect the constraints and believe that less is more. (Jason Fried)
  • One opinion of functional specs: “they are illusions of agreement. Everyone understands something different. They build the interfaces first and then drive reactions to it to get agreement and agree on real stuff. Little cost to add something to a func spec, but adding a new feature to a product gives you pain, so you assess and challenge. A func spec is a yes doc.”
  • the wisdom of crowds is difficult to achieve but there are three key things – you need aggregation of judgement, diversity of opinion and experience and independence of choice. (James Surowiecki)

    Interestingly, the best panel I saw all day was the Barcamp on on open source. Insights from such diverse compnaies such as Sun, WordPress and Flock.

    I’ve removed the notes taken from yesterday’s sessions and probably won’t put more up until the end when I can do some editing. Now onto Day 2

Mar 11

SXSW First Day

The first day of the conference and things are starting to heat up. Well, at least the weather is. Temperatures are up in the 80s and the sun is out – meaning i got sunburnt in my wanders around the town yesterday. Loads of photos to put up when I get a decent connection. Meanwhile, the first set of panels have finished and the feelings are mixed – a number of panels did not appear to be what was expected.

The town is buzzing; walking around last night going around to a few of the parties, the definite feel was like the Edinburgh Festival (according to Ewan). If I get the opportunity (which means power) I’ll liveblog the sessions I attend.

Mar 10


Sometimes you get lucky. Somehow I managed to get an upgrade on the flight fron SFO to Austin, so got a nice seat with plenty of legroom and no-one next to me in Economy Plus. Then I arrived at the hotel at the perfect time and managed to get an upgrade to a suite for the week. Plenty of room. Now I’m sitting by the river, sipping a marguerita watching thousands of bats venture out for the night from under the bridge next to the hotel. (which is one of the stranger visitor attractions here)