more random notes from Austin

#kebab was interesting in what it brought out in people when they were given the opportunity to run something themselves. It certainly showed the appetite, particularly among the British contingent to do something different – the only problem was that everyone wanted a different sort of different. It also showed up the difference between UK & US cultures – one I want to explore more, I think there’s something to do to try and build bridges.

The Texas Tuttle went well on Sunday , lots of people packed onto the stand and I got to meet some new people plus Justin Souter who I’d only chatted to on the phone before. Big thanks to Sam and Emily for making us so welcome and arranging the catering. Which reminds me that I need to give a special Tuttle merit badge to Dougald for courage in the face of US customs, risking a full body search by entering the States with PG Tips in his luggage.

The regional whuffie panel put an interesting perspective on coworking and social capital building as a means to raise the social capital of a city or location as well as to that of individuals. junto.org looks an interesting event. Tony Bacigalupo put together this list of links to all the people on the panel and their various activities and endeavours. I came out able to say the word whuffie without dying of embarrassment. The single most important thing I’ve got from attending SXSWi has been the inspiration and motivation to pick up the coworking element of Tuttle again and make sure that we’ve got something to talk about with these folks, this time next year.

Random notes from Austin

1. This is America, we’re really in America not just a strange city in England that I’ve never been to before. And America and Americans really are different from us.

2. I am too much of a mimic, I nearly said “y’all” non-ironically and last night at dinner I asked for the “check”

3. You can choose to be seen or not seen here, since the convention centre is so huge – you can hide – or you can easily sit on one of the thoroughfares and someone interesting will walk past.

4. More than ever we (I) can’t get away with trying to sell premium stuff at the cutting edge. What people want right now, especially is how social media can help people get stuff done, even more so when the stuff you’re getting done is selling.

5. It’s cold here, it was supposed to get a bit warmer, but my weather widget still says 45 degrees.

6. We saw a bat on it’s own circling a lampost near 6th Street. We haven’t seen the bats properly since Tuesday night, I think it might be too cold for them.

7. I had a full-size American meal last night and I found it difficult to walk back to the hotel unaided. I then slept particularly well.

8. It’s the complementary stuff that really works. I wrote yesterday: ” Our experience has been that the most powerful uses of the social web have come where the technology has been used to complement and enrich existing face to face engagements. ” and incidentally where real-life stuff has been layered onto the technology plays.

9. I’m now in my first panel and treating it like a podcast or radio, it’s kind of on in the background, occasionally my ears will prick up but mostly I’m just letting it wash over me.

Travel day

I’m in the USA for the first time – just had my first american breakfast (burp) which also included sightings of Linda Gray and Larry Hagman – you know that you’re in Texas when…

Before yesterday, I hadn’t been on a plane for more than 4 hours and never been on anything bigger than an airbus. So being on a 777 with individual movie screens made it not as awful as I’d imagined a 10 hour flight to be.

I watched Kung-Fu Panda which reminded me that there is no special ingredient. Then I listened for some random reason to one of Dave Winer’s earliest podcasts which reminded me that you don’t find out what your business model is by thinking and watching other people, you find it by doing what you love doing. And then I watched the new version of The Day The Earth Stood Still which reminded me that shit movies do still get made.

I don’t know how much blogging I’m going to do before SXSWi kicks off on Friday, right now, I’m enjoying being on holiday – we’re just going out now to explore.

Epsom Rat Poison

01032009990This is a public service request for Epsom & Ewell Borough Council and National Rail. This rat trap has come open behind the fence next to the footpath between the Ebbisham Centre and the Railway line. The bags with poison are marked as such, but that may not be obvious to smaller children or other animals who take a fancy to the pink sweetie-looking things in the bag.

How does this get sorted out, please?

UPDATE: So I tweeted about this and almost immediately got something back from Al Green saying to let the Network Rail helpline know. I misread this as the National Rail one, as I’m somehow unable to let go of the idea that it was their responsibility. I got something back from them quite quickly, saying, thanks, but it’s not our patch guv, talk to *Network* Rail. I left a message through their online form too and got a call from someone on Tuesday afternoon to say that they were sending someone along to have a look. Sure enough by Wednesday, all the traps had been removed. So now I’m looking forward to our little brown friends recolonizing, getting their yummy treats from Jimmy Spices bins and taking them back into the undergrowth to tuck in. So it seems to work, though it would have been quicker if I could learn to read properly.