This topic is especially close to my heart this year due to my experience last year of being targeted for a massive online harassment campaign by hate groups after speaking out about sexual harassment at a tech conference. As an introvert, I’ve been most comfortable operating behind the scenes to create positive change and opportunities for underrepresented groups in technology but I’ve come to understand that speaking out is a powerful tool for change and healing.
Join us for this core conversation on how to be a supportive ally, how to recognize and reinforce good ally behavior and the impact of activating bystanders to speak up and say something.
What: Building The Bridge To Equality With Allies When: Sunday March 9th, 2014 at 11am Where: Austin Convention Center, room 5ABC
This panel seeks to provide practical strategies to help attendees become respectful allies to marginalized groups of people and expand the understanding of intersectional diversity.
Every year thousands of people experience discrimination at school, work and in their communities because they don’t fit into the neat, little box of being straight, White and male.
For example, 43 percent of LGBTQ people have experienced discrimination or harassment in the workplace and the numbers are similar for Blacks, Latinos and women.
In the aftermath of the Trayvon Martin case, many people felt upset, powerless and angry. However, both online and off, people are finding ways to organize and connect to demand justice. We no longer have to stand by and become silent partners to the problem, we can be part of the solution.
Attend this session to learn how you can make an impact in your community, schools and workplace through active leadership as an ally.
This took my breath away! There were over 100 entries into the contest. They selected 11 winners I applied at the tail end of the contest but thanks to my desire to be successful and your help, I won! Now there are other prizes they’re awarding as well but I really wanted to get some one-on-one time to get help and direction with my new startup!
Wow! I had such an amazing time this year thanks to the support of my friends and Twitterfam! I’ll be writing more about this but let’s move onto the photos.
This conference is a big deal. It includes music, film and interactive which means that everyone in entertainment, the creative arts and the tech space pay attention and attend.
In the last few years, there have been complaints that SXSW becoming too commercialized with ads and sponsors but I really liked how Erica Mauter put it that you have to show up to make a difference. And show up people did! I heard attendance this year was well over 15,000 with some reports putting the number near 19,000. Whatever the case, there were people everywhere, all the time but the conference was well run, well organized and extremely fun! I truly felt like I got the full “SXSW Experience” this time around.
This year, I spent more time talking to less people. There were many introductions made by friends to new people, which I liked. It completely removed the introverted discomfort I feel when looking out onto a very large room of people I don’t know. I actually can say now that I like networking!
The friends and Twitter folks I hung with this year were all about building, growing and success. They were also about having fun! While I did tweet at #SXSW, much of my time was spent using a group created in Beluga by Wayne Sutton to provide a real time discussion area for Brown people at SXSW. It was truly an amazing experience to have access to this private sort of Twitter as a backchannel to communicate with a specific group of people about a specific event who were all in Austin. No need for hashtags!
I didn’t use Foursquare very much but on my last few days in Austin, I did sign up for Gowalla and loved their hoodie t-shirt! (see shirt below). I spent a lot of time chatting, laughing and doing serious networking to get the word out on my technology training at Freshworkshops.
Normally I would say I’m not a party person but SXSW makes it all feel so different! The Mashable party this year again was at Buffalo Billiards and I had an excellent time! The TechSet party wasn’t so hot but I did meet some good people to know. I loved the WebInk party on the roof of the W hotel and afterwards went down to the lounge with @catpoetry and had more great conversations before heading to the 24 diner for delicious hamburgers!
I am coming to realize you can do dedicated networking where you’re on a “mission” to meet certain people and be at certain parties or you can go the route of serendipity. I’ve never been comfortable with the first so this time I embraced the serendipity that I would find myself in the right conversations that were aligned with my goals and dreams. If I found otherwise, I would politely excuse myself to find a more satisfying convo. And it worked!
I’ll be writing a blog post about my experience drinking at conferences, inspired by @violetblue. I had several friends at SXSW who don’t drink at all plus I had the opportunity get advice from others on how they handle drinking at events.
So the biggest tech thing to happen at SXSW this year was the announcement of the iPad2. Apple rented a local store space about half a mile away from the Austin Convention Center and opened for business. There were lines and the store quickly ran out of several of the lower capacity models. Folks I knew like Terrance Gains (@brothatech), Cheryl Contee (@ch3ryl) and Joselin Mane (@joselinmane) all bought iPad2’s at SXSW. More on this later.
The other big flavors at SXSW in tech were mobile, startups, QR codes, green technology and anything to do with gaming. Blog posts coming.
The rapid charging stations this year were amazing! My Nexus S went from 3% to 35% in just 20 minutes. Bring those back next year!
My Session: What The Government Can Learn From Amazon
I did my presentation which was part of the Future 15 and touched on the frustrations of US citizens who are asked to provided identity papers everywhere they go yet it’s a huge hassle to get said documents. I offered several solutions the government could implement to reduce waiting time at the DMV, centralize identity documents and provide tracking options to citizens. I will cover the content in separate blog post.
My slides rocked since I used Sliderocket (Thanks Tara!).
Self constructive criticism > I wasn’t happy with my style. I know now that I’m going to need to revisit the idea I tweeted about last year of going in for stand-up comedy classes. Managing my content, the slides and being in touch with a large audience throws me off a bit and my normal enthusiastic, bubbly, smiling self is replaced by a more factual, serious version. Doh!
Oh my goodness did I have a good time! This was truly the first conference where I had to face myself head on and ask, “What do you want to get out of this?”. I fully committed to having a memorable experience, spending time with people who I felt good to be around, make solid networking contacts for my business and focus on feeling good in the moment. Because of this goal, I truly felt good and it showed! I decided before leaving I would dress in a way that I felt comfortable but also in a way that flattered my figure.
Not only did I get compliments every single day from both men and women on my hair or overall appearance, I felt radiant! So thank you my awesome friends who have encouraged me to blossom!
I have spent so many years hiding behind baggy clothes and glasses that I didn’t know how to be beautiful. Thankfully friends like Afrobella, Luvvie and Denise have helped me find that beauty and tweak it. They’ve overclocked my appearance! lol! These are a few photos where I’m having fun and enjoying how I look (even though I still feel a bit uncomfortable uploading them and posting them, I’m doing it anyway!).
I went around to say hello to folks I knew like Techsmith and Sliderocket. Cotton candy is always high on my list now that tech companies have caught on us geeks love that stuff and I made at least 3 trips to the Animoto booth. It was across from the Automattic booth which you may know as the parent company of WordPress. I talked with a few exhibitors about their products and services. More later as this is supposed to be a photo blog post!
I love good food and there was plenty of it at SXSW. It seemed everywhere you turned there was free food or delicious food begging to be eaten. There was also the very suspect “street meat” from vendors on 6th street offering things like bacon smothered hotdogs until late into the night. I had at least 3 burgers while in Austin, sushi, apple pie, pistachio cheescake, grilled cheese with tomato & basil soup, steak (free dinner rocks!) and breakfast nearly every morning (thanks Jay!). I am a food lover to the nth power!
Bluey ended up coming along for the trip! Her heart didn’t explode from the altitude in the airplane, she didn’t get crushed in the couch and she didn’t freak out so this was a very good experience to show me how I’m going to need to accept that she’s doing okay after being diagnosed with congestive heart failure and I can return to focusing on my career and life goals. It was awesome having her along and each day I’m feeling less worried about her health. Yay Bluester!