I woke up that first morning in Texas. I wasn’t sure what I was in for… except that I knew great things were bound to happen. Holy crap – did I just hang out with my #usguys crew last night??? Sam, Jackie, Nick, Anne and crew had three dimentions…weird. Was that Nate Riggs that I ran into at that party? He knows all the guys I know back home… Now, I have to catch a cab to meet up with my StartupBus team and decide if we want to press forward with what we are doing or take some time to go talk to some media types… I just keep hearing David Byrne in the back of my head.
The morning plan was simple, I was supposed to wake-up and ride to the convention center with a friend. That friend never showed up… whoops. No big, there’s a shuttle and cabs aplenty. By this point, I have spent the last three days making adjustments, building a company on a bus, and realized that something incredible was starting to happen… I barely noticed the altered plans as a hiccup. It probably didn’t hurt that I may have still been a little tipsy from all the welcome to SXSW parties the night before… I was just happy to wake up and know that I was staying in the same city for a few days.
Now, please believe me when I say that the ENTIRE reason the next 5 days are a blur is NOT due to excessive partying. Although, that didn’t help much either. There is no way that I can explain the level of energy, excitement, and all-out badassery that is SXSW. There are myriad posts out right now giving the blow-by-blow of SXSW action, so I will not try to top those here, although Sean Lux did a great job here. At every turn there is someone that you have wanted to meet to discuss a project, or an old friend that you haven’t seen forever, or that guy that you talk to all the time on Twitter… in my case, I got to meet face-to-face with so many people that I have only known on-line in 140 characters or less. This worried me a bit… would I be able to communicate in long-form with these people? Will there be lots of hash-tag jokes and other weirdness?
The next few days are a rush of awesomeness. Working on our business, Story.Set.Go., meeting people, taking meetings to work on other projects, hanging out with the legends of great social media on Team C-bus… the list goes on. I could bore you to tears with details, but what I really took away was a great lesson from Sam P. Learning to be present to what is really going on in each moment. In the midst of the chaos, awesomeness and excitement everywhere, it took Sam to grab my attention long enough for me to realize that when everything is going 10,000 MPH there is still time engage in a real connection with those around you.
It has been said of the greatest atheletes, the “game slows down for them”. That is to say that they see more and process more than you or I do in a split second of time. The same thing happens when we truly connect on a real level with those around us. The game moves slower. People and their motivations and needs become a bit more apparent. At least for me, the big lesson is that I can’t afford to NOT take the time to make real connections with people. Connecting is what the human brain is made to do. Connecting on a real level and learning to see past everything we put in the way of real relationships is something that few are actually capable of doing. After SXSW, I know I am not there – but I am working on it…
And actually, it turns out some hash-tag jokes can be funny. #snickerdoodles. That is all.