Industry of Cool

Finding, analyzing and occasionally making cool things.

Resetting the social grounds.

SXSW is not for people who are prone to panic attacks. I am glad I’m not one of those people.

The sheer flood of information/opportunity/inspiration is almost deafening. I had lofty ambitions of steeping myself in it and surviving. I now realize that to do that would require I evolve some sort of gills that can siphon air from a stream of ones and zeroes. Not gonna happen.

Was out last night at the @laughingsquid tweet up: A first for me. There’s a different kind of social credential system at work here. You walk into a space knowing that something is going on, but not necessarily knowing who you are here to connect with. So you just hold up your iPhone and ask people “Hey, are you with the laughing squid thing?” And chances are that the answer is yes. And then you strike up a conversation. It’s so easy that the hardest thing is readusting your brain to the fact that people can connect so openly.

I’ve long held a theory/philosophy that people can connect with anyone – the barrier (or opportunity, depending on how you look at it) is what “grounds” you are comfortable claiming.

So what are “grounds”? Grounds are the bonds we share with other people. They are communities, shared interests, common experiences, etc. Right now, my “grounds” are that I’m a SXSW attendee, and there is a beautiful open understanding that all SXSW attendees are willing to connect earnestly.

But nothing is to say my “grounds” couldn’t be that I breathe air. If you breathe air, I should be perfectly comfortable approaching you with the same enthusiasm.

I generally (my less sober moments withstanding) don’t adopt that broad a view of my grounds. But people do. You know them. They are the ones in the center of the conversation. They are the lightning rods. They are the people who acknolwedge that rules and conventions are only ideas that haven’t been challenged yet.

There’s a lot of those people here. I look forward to joining them.

-Thank you for reading.

NOTE: The idea of “grounds” deserves some sort of graphic. Will work on that.


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