I recently (like yesterday) started a new gig, and as part of that we’re building out our already fantastic tech team. The official job descriptiony thingy is below, but if you have questions, grab me on Twitter (@jeremywright) or Skype (jeremy_wright)!
And, yes, I’ll have more info on the move, what it means, what we’re building as time goes on. For now, too much work to pause and blog (which is such a good thing). It is good to be back in the startup world!
BNOTIONS Hiring Junior and Senior Devs
BNOTIONS is a programming and development fraternity. We build the tools, technology, platforms, services and applications for agencies, clients and startups. We are always hiring talented developers as we are always growing and because there are occasionally casualties during our weekly live-streamed talent show, Harth Night Lite.
If you’re the kind of developer that scoffs at inefficient code, believes proper config files can be poetry and have made at least one saint tear up at your PHP or Ruby (or whatever!) then we should talk. Or battle. We could battle to the pain.
So what is life at BNOTIONS like? It’s like Shredder’s Lair from TMNT. Only with slightly fewer skateboards, slightly more monitors and roughly the same number of mutant turtles (of indeterminate age). We work hard, play harder and skype random links all.day.long.
WHAT’S OUR NOTION (GET IT? HAR HAR HAR) OF A GREAT DEV? - You gotz the kommunication skillz - You can focus on great code, with efficiency - You don’t need someone to manage your every minute (but wouldn’t mind a mentor) - You want to be part of a team that gives a damn - You don’t mind being a bit crazy
THE SKILLS WE B (SO FUNNY) LOOKING FOR - Total domination of the LAMP stack - Server-Side language skills (Ruby, PHP, Java, Python etc) - Mobile know-how an asset (iPhone, Android, Mobile Web, etc) - Familiarity with toolkits (JQuery, AMFPHP, etc) - Deep bromance with OSS products (WordPress, Kohana, Rails, etc) - A perversion for APIs (Twitter, Facebook, Google Maps, etc)
GETTING TO THE TOP OF OUR LIST - You get the social media thing - Flexibility - No ego, outside of knowing you’re the best developer you know (don’t worry, we’re all the best we know too!) - Based in Toronto or Kelowna (or willing to relocate)
So the iPad is out. Yay. I mean, no, really, this is my excited face. You can tell because my eyes are open.
Seriously, though, I had very low expectations for the iPad. Mostly because, well, I figured it’d just end up being a larger iPhone and an eBook reader all in one. And none of that sounded exciting. But part of me, a small part, was actually hoping that when Steve-O said it was the most important thing he’d evar done (remember this is the guy who invented moving to a different state to jump the donor list) that it’d actually, y’know, matter.
Now I’m hopeful that the iPad will a) get a new name but b) more importantly will pull an iPhone and be rawking by it’s 3rd iteration (cue Microsoft jokes).
However, right now? It barely even meets my expectations. Let’s review what Steve-O promised… that the iPad would be better than either an iPhone or a laptop at:
Browsing: While I’m no Flash fan (though I see it’s place, especially for educational and rich media stuff), not having Flash available in a browser is flat out bad for browsers. Sorry, but even if you think Flash is evil, ask yourself: if Microsoft had come out with an OS that didn’t support Flash would you be happy? I think not. WIN: Laptop.
Email: The physical keyboard is nice. But how is it better at email than a laptop? Sorry, poorer typing, less UI control? WIN: Laptop.
Photos: I’ll actually give this to the iPad. Everything about this is sexy. WIN: iPad.
Video: In what world is the iPad better at video? Cause it has fullscreen and you can carry it on your lap? But it doesnt’ have widescreen. And doesnt’ allow non-Youtube web-based video… and doesnt’ have decent external speakers. Or the ability to plug in decent USB headphones or… anything. WIN: Laptop.
Music: Music should be one of two things: highly portable, or high quality. The iPad is neither. Nevermind that Flash-based music services (like many podcast plugins for wordpress) simply won’t work. What’s the use-case for a larger iPod Touch that plays the same thing as the iPod touch, but where I can’t listen to the music while doing something else? Maybe if it was waterproof I could use it in the bath, but besides that… I got nuthin’. WIN: Laptop/iPhone.
Games: Games, like music, should be one of two things: highly portable or high quality. The iPad does neither. What it does do, which is interesting, is introduce true multi-touch gaming. This’ll bear watching. For now, though? WIN: Laptop/iPhone.
eBooks: Yeah, eBooks. Let’s give the iPad props. It is drop dead gorgeous for newspaper/magazine reading. I can totally see sitting on the couch reading the latest issue of Drop or something. Sexy. But books? Erm, no, I refuse to strain my eyes that way while reading for 6 hours (plus, can’t imagine how I’d prop this up while laying sideways in a readable fashion?). Props for beauty, but this is not an eReader, nevermind one for eBooks (Steve-O’s word). Nevermind that my Kindle? I leave it in my backpack loaded with books. If I don’t see it for 3 months, but then find myself on a plane? Pull it out and read. That’ll never happen with the iPad. WIN: KINDLE.
Fundamentally, I can’t really figure out a solid use-case for the iPad, outside of the ability to watch TV on a smaller and more portable screen… No multitasking. No USB. No video out. No phone calls. No Flash. No camera. No use.
Hell, even Hitler hates it:
It’s no secret to anyone that knows me that I’m not a huge Google fan. I’ve railed against their policies, tactics, AdSense, book scanning and dozens of other things the company has done. But, I rely on Google on a daily basis. Not because I want to, but because there is no better option. On a daily basis, I use the following apps:
- Gmail mobile
- Google Maps
- Google Calendar
- Google Calendar Sync
- Google Calendar Mobile
- Google Docs
Suffice to say that Google keeps me going on a daily basis. When Gmail goes down, I lose it (almost as much as when Twitter goes down, heh), so yeah Google keeps me going, keeps me in business, etc.
But the suite of Google apps, while powerful, simply suck when used in tandem. Why, for example:
- Can’t I get notifications of new emails when I’m in Google Calendar?
- Can’t I get reminders of upcoming appointments when in Gmail?
- Can’t I favourite/bookmark files (or have RECENT FILES) easily accessible from any app?
- Aren’t my Google Reader notifications easily visible from anywhere?
- Can’t I easily include files from Google docs as attachments in emails?
- … and oh, oh so many more (don’t even get me started on creating calendar items/todos from emails)…
I mean, seriously, yay (</sarcasm>)that we can FINALLY one-click access any app in the suite (well, most apps in the suite)… but, Google, that’s not enough.
And it’s certainly not enough for me to keep paying for this “suite” of applications.
Google, if you want me to pay, fix the stuff above.
In order to help Google along, and to hopefully generate some brainstorming on this subject, I’ve done up a quick mockup, borrowing heavily from Facebook‘s footer menu (which I use daily… in fact, it’s the only reason I use most areas of Facebook, because they’re so easily accessible).
And here it is… (click for fullsize version)
Something like this would:
- allow search from right within any app (which, since I’ve switched to Bing, would mean I’d use Google Search more often since it was so easy)
- lists several easy to access apps that I use on a regular basis, has favourite files or recent files
- notify you of unread emails (and preview them for easy processing such as deleting, marking as read, moving to folders, etc without leaving whatever app you were in)
- notify you (and allow you to to mark as read) items in Google Reader
- notify you of upcoming appointments
- allow you to use Google Chat from anywhere and get those notifications as well (though personally I’d probably turn those notifications off so I was more productive)… this would also save many of those “awww crap, I was talking to someone but clicked on Google Docs and now they’re gone” from Gmail’s chat UI.
Granted, I built this for me, so others might have other things they want. And, obviously if an appointment was upcoming there should be an alert of some kind that was a bit more intrusive (potentially making the window flash in the toolbar, generating a sound, having a toast, whatever).
Anyways, this seemed so obvious to me that I had to check with several friends to make sure this didn’t exist.
In addition, this kind of tie-in would make other features, such as the ability to attach Google Docs directly into Gmail emails easy, would hold your Google Profile information and would presumably allow for things like integration to Facebook and so forth. If this was built as a piece of downloadable software, it would also give Google huge data on your true browsing habits, the ability to index Facebook pages just for you, etc.
Dunno, maybe I’m off my rocker, maybe this does exist, but for me… I’d pay for this.3A00DD
This post is part of a series, head over to the SxSW Interactive Tips page to read all of the posts in this series (in intended order).
Just the Facts
Before we jump into the specifics of rawking out to, adjusting to and thriving in southby’s unique environment, let’s get some basic facts out of the way.
SxSW Interactive is held in Austin, TX from the 13th-17th of March, 2009. If you are new to the event, spend 10 minutes reading the official FAQ before you do *anything* else. You’ll find everyone from web celebrities to total newbies to PR people to politicians (no, really) at the event.
There are really 5 key parts to southby:
- The sessions: this is the actual conference itself
- The on-site social stuff: Guitar Hero competitions, blogger lounges, etc.
- The trade show: see companies and what’s up
- Screen Burn: the video game component
- The off-site social stuff: official or unofficial, this tends to involve drinking, media acces, music, dancing or some combination of all of the above. Oh, or bowling. Bowling is big ;-)
Most people tend to gravitate towards 2-3 parts of the show, since all 5 are a little bit much to take in. Hell, just the sessions are a little bit much to take in. Don’t believe me? Try and figure out what sessions to go to, when and where using the official schedule!
But more on navigating the intricacies of SxSW on Tuesday when we cover building the perfect schedule!
A tip from @fuzzz:
Bring lots of Advil and drink lots of water when you get home at 3am…
What SxSW Interactive IS
Per the above, for most people, southby is one part conference, one part networking and one part social. Striking the right balance is key to getting enough value out for you, your company and your career. Going to just the sessions will, I promise you, fry your brain. Going to just the social stuff and you’ll end up with the world’s worst hangover (and not in a good way), and spend all your time networking and you’ll not only be burnt out, but nobody’ll remember you since they spent much of their time at the social stuff.
Getting the most out of the event is really about balancing all three areas. Get some learning in via the sessions. Meet new people any way you possibly can. And have fun at the social stuff, because even the biggest web celebs are, and they won’t take you seriously if you arent’ able to have fun too (oxymoron? yeah, but then we’re all a bit moronic in this industry!).
So Southby is a conference, but it’s not your typical conference where you need to be in every session (since that’d be physically impossible even if you HAD managed to bypass the laws of quantum entanglement). Southby is a networking event, but it’s not your typical networking event where you just hand out cards. Southby is a social get together, but it’s not your typical one where you just get drunk and act like an ass (unless you can pull that off with class, in which case it’s cool).
Quick Tip from Alex Hillman
Throughout this series, I’ll be including great tips from folk. Have one? Email me (email@example.com) or tweet me (@jeremywright). Here’s @alexknowshtml‘s on conserving battery life (which is CRITICAL):
SXSW Battery Conservation So you’ve got a shiny iPhone, and you realize that without a swappable battery, you’re going to spend all day hunting outlets to charge it. First, make sure you carry a charger with you. Some other things to do to conserve power include:
- lower your screen brightness as much as possible; the backlight sucks a LOT of juice.
- kill the wifi/bluetooth. the wifi at SXSW usually sucks anyway. don’t bother.
- Try using twitter over SMS exclusively, and shut off vibration/audible notifications. Set up SMS notifications for only friends whose tweets you want to get. Believe it or not, SMS is the lowest power consumption per message compared to sitting and refreshing Mobile Safari, Twiterrific, or Tweetie. It’s a little harder to sort through, but your battery will last longer.
What SxSW Interactive ISN’T
Southby isn’t your typical networking event. Schmoozing is fake. Fake isn’t welcome. “Real” is welcome. You can, quite literally, walk up to the biggest folk in the industry (Guy Kawasaki, Robert Scoble, Kevin Rose, etc), say hi, say you love their work, ask questions and end up spending the entire day/night with them (not in that way, though that does sometimes happen too). Everyone’s chill, and the more chill you are, the more you’ll get along just fine.
Southby isn’t your opportunity to “spam” everyone about your company. You will get to talk about work. In due time. When asked “what do you do”, shorter is better. When asked “what’s new”, only answer what’s truly interesting, dont’ read out your entire product brochure (and for goodness sakes, don’t hand it out!).
Southby isn’t an excuse to just get drunk. Granted, you undoubtedly will (though it’s not a requirement), doing so should be done with a group, in the proper way and you should all leave as a group. Remember: it’s social, so if you’re going to get drunk, keep it social, keep it clean and remember: there are a lot of cameras around, and many of them are uploading to flickr or streaming live! Remember: what happens at southby goes on YouTube/Flickr/FaceBook/Qik/Ustream!
How about, when you want to go to the bathroom, go to the Marriott, as opposed to convention center. Less busy, more clean. :) heh.
How to Approach the Event
The single biggest thing to remember about southby is this:
You get out of SxSW what you put into it.
Fundamentally this means that you can’t just run around trying to get your pound of flesh. The more you help, help be social, help others find their way around and generally GIVE, the more folk will give back to you. It’s incredibly karmic, and by golly it really works. For some this will be about as natural as walking a penguin in Manhattan. But I promise: it works, and it’s worthwhile and it’ll work 1000x times better than your standard “schpiel and peal” approach to other conferences.
This also means that if you’re an introvert, you need to step out of your shell. Approach groups you don’t know and ask if you can join them (not cool at other events, this is expected at southby!). How do you do this? Easy:
Hey, this is my first southby and I don’t really know anyone, you guys mind if I tag along?
Trust me, as an introvert, I know how hard it can be, but it really does work. Cause either its their first southby, in which case they’ll want to meet new people… or it’s not, in which case they’ve done what you’re doing a dozen times and appreciate how hard it is. Unless it’s a private event or they are jackalopes, they’ll appreciate it and invite you along. If they don’t, the next group will. And while rejection is never easy, the truth is unless you started with your Twitter ID, they won’t remember you anyways ;-)
Don’t be afraid to not party all night. There’s nothing wrong with being functional in the morning. :)
Where to Find Stuff
A quick list of places to find out what’s going on, get tips, get info, meet people, etc:
- my.SxSW: Context, meet folk, just help plan. It’s hard to use, but very useful.
- Sched: The ultimate way to figure out what sessions you’re interested in, what parties are going on, etc.
- Facebook: More parties, and people.
- Upcoming: EVEN MORE parties, and people.
- Twitter: You might not like it, but there’s nothing better during southby. Add everyone you meet, add the connectors (@davidcrow, @accordionguy, @micah, @technosailor, @scobleizer, @jeremywright (yes I put myself, but I tweet events, so yeah), @jaygoldman, @briansolis, @stephagresta, @chrisheuer, @trishussey, etc). These people tweeet gatherings, events, etc.
- SxSW Twitter Wiki: Lots of Twitter folk on there. Lots of info. Have at it!
Quick Tips & More Reading
Here are some quick tips from a handful of folk:
- Attend the newbie panels (they really do help)
- Don’t overplan your itinerary, go with the flow!
- Don’t take pictures, participate in them
- Talk to everyone
- Don’t hero worship
- Have meaningful conversations, don’t be afraid to let them go on and on
- Invite folk for dinner/drinks. It works.
- Bring tonnes of business cards (ed: I recommend 500)
- Pack light: you’ll get free shit there
- Plan to not be in your hotel a tonne
- Sessions matter, but not that much
- Don’t try to go to every party
- Don’t lose shit
- Bring an extra pair of shoes (ed: I had to buy Aaron a pair one year after the downpour he mentions… one happens at EVERY southby)
- Get sleep
- Get a hotel near the convention center
And my quick tips to get you rolling:
- Drink an incredible amount of water. Like Vegas, it’s easy to forget to hydrate. And with the amount of walking you’ll do it’s critical
- Don’t be afraid to miss stuff. You can’t hit everything you want. Don’t even try. Going to 3 GREAT things per day is better than event hopping.
- RSVP for everything. But don’t be stressed about not showing up (nobody’ll be upset, unless it’s a dinner for 10 people and you’re the dude who didn’t show up so folk got stiffed with the extra gratuity)
- Leave your laptop at your hotel. Unless you’re liveblogging, your iPhone/Blackberry is enough. Or you can borrow someone’s laptop to check email. Someone said southby participants walk an average of 10 miles per day. Do you really want to lug your lappy around for 10 miles * 5 days? No, I didn’t think so.
- Eat. You can’t really eat too much. Between the heat, the walking, the drinking, the socializing, etc, you’ll burn your calories. Eat whenever you can.
- Join random conversations. Join random groups. Join ad hoc conversations.
- Core Conversations. These, seriously, are the best sessions to go to. Skip a session everytime to go to these.
- If you meet someone, and they’re speaking, go to their session. Then grab them afterwards and give them feedback. They’ll appreciate it.
- If you get invited to a smaller gathering, go to it.
- Use Twitter. Even if you never use it again, use it during SxSW.
Basically, be smart, be prepared, be flexible, be friendly and be smart. SxSW rawks. If you let it rawk you.
Remember: if you have tips, stories, thoughts, questions, comment, email (firstname.lastname@example.org), twitter (@jeremywright) and I’ll include them/answer them!
Tomorrow we’ll cover the SxSW Interactive Survival Guide.
Related articles by Zemanta
- Heading to Texas next week for SXSWi (thatcanadiangirl.co.uk)
- SXSW Interactive Weekly Roundup [SXSW] (austinist.com)
- SXSW ’09: Updates (beingpeterkim.com)
- ScreenBurn at SXSW and our Interactive Badge Giveaway [SXSW] (austinist.com)
SxSW (pronounced “South by Southwest” or “southby” for short) starts up this week. Friday is the Interactive component (which is huge to those of us who attend it, but inconsequential to those who go to Music or Film). And if this is your first time going, you’re probably halfway between shitting yourself and completely confused. Let’s fix that, shall we?Image via Wikipedia
This will be my fifth southby, and given that there are a tonne of new folk going to the Interactive component (my part of the show), and that a bunch of those folk are (understandably) overwhelmed, I thought I’d jot down some of my thoughts.
However, since my thoughts are free (and worth every penny), I’ve decided to include other people’s thoughts in here as well. So what will happen is for the next 5 days (til Thursday, SxSWi begins Friday) I’ll writeup my thoughts, interspersed with quick tips from readers, friends and experts in the space. Then, during the conference, I’ll have daily thoughts from veterans I know and respect.
Because the reality is that while southby (Interactive, but I’m sick of repeating that, so it’s now officially assumed) is one conference, there are about a dozen different ways to experience it. It is trade show, conference, networking, party time, fantastic music, ability to meet new friends, private time with old friends, exclusive access to new tech, a swagfest, a babefest, a geekfest…Sadly, it is not (in my experience) an orgy, an Evanescence concert or a lovesick puppy chasing you around ;-)
The Agenda (ish)
Here’s what you can expect from this series:
- Sunday: The basics, the tools, the structure, what you can expect. In essence, if you’re feeling lost, this should get you found.
- Monday: The survival guide. First and foremost how to have a good time, how to adapt and how to get the most value possible.
- Tuesday: Building the perfect schedule (or lack thereof). The SxSW schedule is completely over the top. You can feel totally overwhelmed. Let’s help you make sense of it and figure out (now) what kind of conference you want.
- Wednesday: The social side of SxSW. It’s a social conference, with its own rules. They’re different than you’re probably used to, but learning them will exponentially increase the value you get out of the event.
- Thursday: For SxSW non-n00bs: if this isn’t your first one, how to get the most out of it, and how to get a different southby than you’ve ever had.
Want to Contribute?Image by Laughing Squid via Flickr
I’m looking for 4 kinds of contributions during the series:
- Short little ones that aren’t specific to any one area (where to find power, best bathrooms, best food, worst food, etc)
- 50-100 word “how to get the most out of sxsw” submissions, that cover your personal experiences (like what happened when you couldn’t get into Mix at Six, but how you still had a FAB night, probably by going outside your comfort zone)
- A story. Any story. About why you loved SxSW and the value you got.
- A full-length feature post for during the event to help people spread their wings a little bit.
Feel free to send any of these to me via email at email@example.com. Or to tweet short ones to me @jeremywright. Or to leave a comment on any post. You’ll, obviously, get attribution, a link, etc.Some quick related reading, while you wait for my genius to descend upon you like a lovesick dove:
- Out the Other’s Guide to SXSW On the Cheap (Part 1) (outtheother.typepad.com)
- Going to SXSW? What’s Your Communication Plan? (centernetworks.com)
- Tips for South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) from a local (socialmediatoday.com)
- Crash Course on SXSW (technosailor.com)