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Weblog Entry

Ups and Downs

February 16, 2004

Being in business for yourself is a quirky thing. Events happening in your field which are mostly positive lead to excitement for future possibilities. More negative occurances lead to reflection, and consideration of what can be done to avoid the same happenings in your own work.

The New Media Innovation Centre, or NewMIC, was a high-concept research lab here in Vancouver, not many blocks away from me. Opened in late 2001, NewMIC set out to change the way humans interact with technology, and provide local businesses with facilities to do their own research and testing. Government-funded and non-profit, NewMIC was hailed as a visionary leader for the province, and indeed the country.

Dot-com hubris? Technological boom hype? Either way, they were stacked, and I mean stacked to the gills with the equipment and people to make it happen. I just got back from wandering through the maze of computers and office furniture being auctioned off tomorrow. Two short years later, the rose-coloured glasses have come off, and the funding dried up. NewMIC is no more. (Those hunting for bargains can head to 600-515 West Hastings, in Harbour Centre. Hurry though, viewing is today and the auction happens tomorrow.)

SXSW Interactive 2004 runs from March 12th to 16th in Austin, TX. That’s less than a month away, and I hear hotels are booking fast. From all accounts, SXSW is the conference to be at for those working on the web. I followed most write-ups from last year’s event with great interest, wishing I would have gone. (Planning a wedding tends to keep one’s time and funds tied up.)

This year will be different. Reading through the speaker list is pretty incredible, and somehow I’m on there. On Monday, March 15th, Christopher Schmitt, Dan Cederholm, Douglas Bowman and I will be running a panel called “Hi-Fi Design with CSS”. Though I haven’t yet met two of my fellow panelists, we’ve been conspiring for a while now to bring together our presentation.

I’m equal parts excited and apprehensive about all of this. There are a lot of people I’ll be meeting for the first time who, in one way or another, I’ve been looking up to as mentors and muses for some time now. This is nerve-racking for anyone.

But I know what SXSW is all about, and I know the buzz for this year is surprisingly high (a sign of the rebounding economy, perhaps?), and I know that it’s going to be a hell of a time for me and everyone else there. I expect to come away full of new perspectives, new ideas, and a whole lot of hope for the future. I doubt I’ll be disappointed.