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photo-1I had sworn I would never attend a conference again but I was at XOXO in Portland a few weeks ago and it was damn lovely. Lots of cool people and fun stuff, I’ll be going next year if they have it again.

Looks like all the talks are being posted on Youtube. Some favorites of mine were Jonathan Coulton’s, Cabal Sasser’s, Adrian Holovaty’s and Vi Hart’s. The first two made my eyes water a few times. I hear there were some great ones in the morning as well that I missed due to the previous evening’s party levels getting out of hand.

One of the most inspiring things during the event was seeing all these independent, do-it-yourself creative types struggling with the same issues I’ve struggled with: overwork, pressure, isolation, confidence, customer/fan issues, balancing business and creativity. When you do it all yourself you can go a little crazy, getting wrapped up in your own universe and forgetting your problems aren’t the worst problems ever invented. It’s a struggle for everyone and there’s something very comforting in that.

Posted on - October 16, 2013 [at] 3:17 pm by Brad
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I think I might be finished with nearly anything that happens in convention centers. I’m not sure I’ve ever had a good time in one. Do they happen? They’re so sterile they creep me out and make me want to run far away (to my sterile hotel room).

My panel was OK, though the discussion was just getting going when we ran out of time. I also felt it was a bit too focused on far-off scenarios rather than practical stuff that might help musicians. I have a hard time caring about anything I have to imagine 5-10 years into the future to get. Probably my issue, but there it is.

Once again Boston tried to hang onto me by laying down a giant storm on my way out. Last time it was snow that cancelled every flight but mine. This time it was wind that cancelled every flight but mine. It’s never cool when you see this much red on a departures screen when you walk up to your gate:

I got to fly in a 9-seat Cessna propeller airplane (the ninth seat is actually the co-pilot seat). I thought it would be scary especially with all the turbulence but I found it easy to accept the idea of dying after spending so many hours in an airport. Also it felt like being in a van in the sky. And whenever I was nervous the pilot was like three feet away from me so I could study his body language. “He’s not sweating and trying to secretly phone his kids, so I think this is just normal turbulence.”

I took this video of the landing:

Pretty sweet landing there. The other three I experienced weren’t quite as slick.

Posted on - May 3, 2011 [at] 7:43 pm by Brad
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I’m off to the Zap Your PRAM conference this weekend. It should be some awesome nerdy maritime fun and I’m really looking forward to it. Regular conferences have a little too much desperation going on and this one feels like it’ll be more of a bunch of like-minded (but not too like-minded) folks hanging out.

Matt Haughey from Metafilter was supposed to be going but I guess he’s not now which makes me sad. At least now I won’t have to drunkenly confess about how many ideas I’ve stolen from him. So I can tell that to Daniel Burka (Digg designer), and Cal Henderson (Flickr architect) instead.

I’m giving a presentation on Friday I’m maybe calling “A Brief History of a Song” where I tell the story of one of my songs — from the initial idea to its recording and release and to some of the crazy adventures it gets up to when it’s out of my hands. It’s been something that’s been on my mind for a while so I’m looking forward to getting it out. of my system.

Posted on - October 14, 2008 [at] 9:15 pm by Brad
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