The Theme of SXSW 2008 : Give.

On multiple accounts dwellers of the off-line world have inquired about my “Blogging”. The conversations are all very similar and awkward… almost always ending with something similar to “aren’t you afraid to give your ideas away like that?”.

Maggie Mason and Heather Armstrong said it best in their SXSW panel “You get what you give”. Perhaps some see it as the “secret” but I think it just makes sense, the internet is an ecosystem, a two-way street and it works best when you participate going in every direction.
Heather Armstrong and Maggie Mason

Giving surfaced as a clear theme throughout the panels at this year’s SXSW. Jim Coudal showed a clip from their Video Wall, touched on Swap Meat (which I hope to muster up the time to try and post about) and Layer Tennis, an online forum that they sponsor to match-up designers against each other for Photoshop debauchery. All of these sites serve as vehicles for giving and taking in the creative community.Moby at SXSW

Moby very candidly explained MobyGratis, a site where he gives away free music to independent film makers. I learned that it is a real pain in the ass to license music if you make a film, and he hopes to relieve some of that stress where he can. While I didn’t know much about Moby before SXSW, I am now a big fan of him (as a person)… completely uninhibited to put himself out there.

Heather Armstrong gives the most personal experiences of her life to her online community, from recounting getting fired from her job to blogging while at the Hospital suffering from postpartum depression. Heather explained that sharing the most intimate parts of her life has brought her support from well-wishers and notoriety that allows her to modestly support her family from online advertising. Winning several well-deserved bloggies and being considered the 5th most powerful blog in the world by some, Heather has earned it by giving.

I asked a developer once why he used open source software and he said “because it is free”. That guy did not get it. The web is making sharing easier than ever. Leverage it, embrace it, and give.

Check out all of my pics from SXSW 2008 here.


  1. — March 20, 2008

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  4. — March 23, 2008