on life, ambitions, and dreams


Posts Tagged ‘rant’

Dear SXSW PanelPicker Haters

haters gonna hate meme

This week the 2012 SXSW PanelPicker went live and the chaos of shameless self-promotion began.

The goal – for people who submitted panels – is to throw your panel to the masses and increase your 1 out of 3,155 chance of your SXSW Interactive panel actually getting selected for the main programming at the festival. And the goal, for all of those who didn’t submit a panel, is to chime in on the programming and have a voice in what they’ll pay money to go see in March.

Full disclosure – I submitted a panel to SXSW 2012 (the best one ever, of course!).

Haters gonna hate

Throughout the week there have been a number very open conversations online about how much people hate the entire SXSW process. And I’m talking hate in the deep down, I’m-gonna-unfollow-you, kind of hate. This whole panel picking process is a popularity contest. And how pathetic and obnoxious it is that people are asking others to vote and retweet the ask to vote for their panel? How horrible is it that SXSW is asking people to promote their festival when the majority of these people won’t even get chosen to speak?

It is sad, and I get where those haters are coming from.

On the one hand, festival organizers who ask their community to make a decision about their programming is a cop-out. (Isn’t that their job?) But, let’s be real here, how many other organizations ask us to do the exact same side-show ask-for-votes thing? How many times has popularity been the deciding factor between if you get something or not?

Things like the chance to win a charitable grant, industry awards, a job, and even (cringe) an internship.

Vote-for-me campaigns are everywhere and it’s all about tapping your network in the right kind of way in order to get them your friends to do what you want – vote and share that they voted for you, a lot.

Don’t hate the player, hate the game

SXSW panelpicker pie chartAccording to SXSW, this whole voting exercise only carries 30% of the weight for whether a panel is a go or a no-go. Here’s the history on the PanelPicker and why SXSW is letting the community (oh, hey, that’d be you and me) have a voice in the programming:

Over the years, many of the most compelling panels and presentations for the SXSW Interactive Festival have come directly from our community. This process was formalized in 2007 with the launch of the PanelPicker, an innovative online tool developed to enhance community participation in SXSW. The PanelPicker enables the community in two ways. First, it offers the community the opportunity to suggest programming ideas. Second, it allows the community the power to review, comment and vote for those ideas they most want to see become a part of the event.

SXSW is a “community-driven event.” As a member of this community, don’t you want to have a voice in the kind of panels and talks that get primary real estate on the stages in March? Don’t you want to help decide what talks are innovative and worth your time and the dollars you spend for your badge?

Don’t you want to say after that panel that sucks in March, “Well, I didn’t vote for him!”?

So, will you vote for my panel?

Vote for my SXSW idea 2012

I wouldn’t do this post justice if I didn’t ask for you to vote for my panel – Change Makers: How Nonprofits Create Change Online.  Here’s the description:

Through social media, nonprofits can launch a movement, create buzz around a cause, and build a community. But how do you make sure that members of your community aren’t slactivists who “like” your organization but don’t do anything to help you reach your mission? How do you convert those social “do-gooders” into helping you create change? Join us as we discuss how three organizations have figured out how to ignite their communities and leverage their online platforms to create change through volunteerism at VolunteerMatch, crowdsourced fundraising at GiveForward, and small-scale donations at Jolkona. Come ready to interact, discuss, and figure out how to convert your supporters into active change agents for good.

This panel will include Frank Barry of Blackbaud, Robert Rosenthal of VolunteerMatch, Cate Conroy of GiveForward, and yours truly of Jolkona. The idea of this panel is to show how you can turn social media awareness into action get your fans and followers to do something online. We will feature real-world examples of how we do leverage our online platforms to create change.

This panel in the “Greater Good” tract with 149 other submissions.

What do you think about vote-for-me campaigns?

For obvious reasons I cannot take a neutral stance on this subject. So if you are involved or not involved in the madness that is the 2012 SXSW PanelPicker, have participated in a “vote for me to win ______” contest or not, what do you think about crowdsourcing for conference programming or awards?

Is asking the community to vote a good idea or a bad idea?  Is it a smart programming choice by the organizers or are they just asking us to do their work for them?

First Draft Phobia

Superman in Metropolis, Illinois by James Jordan

Writers block is kryptonite for writers, but worse.

See, Clark Kent is lucky, at least the thing that defeats him is physical – if it exists near him, he can get rid of it (or more like someone else can get rid of it for him because he can’t touch it). For writer’s, it’s not like we can physically pick up “writer’s block” and put it in a lead chest. Though, wouldn’t that be terribly convenient?

Writer’s block comes from within, and not in the this-is-your-strength kind of thing but more like this-is-your-phantom-nightmare.

I would say that writer’s block is made up. It’s something that only lives and breathes within the confines of that person’s head.

Whenever I see someone on ask how another deals with writer’s block I want to laugh – because everybody is different.

For me, I don’t get writer’s block, I get afraid. Afraid that what is going to come pouring out of my brain, through my fingers, and into this gorgeous, white screen is going to be shit that even the best editor can’t decipher. And that the ideas I feel that I need to share are unique to me alone and me alone.

It’s a defense mechanism. It’s me shutting up instead of standing my ground and taking an active role in a conversation.

It’s me procrastinating, like I’m doing right now, from writing about something that truly moves and motivates me—something that can have more influence than I could have ever imagined or something that can move mountains, start a revolution, or solve world peace.

Because taking the first step is the scariest one to take.

Photo Credit: James Jordan

My Unfinished Business with Angie

Down with you!! J. Star

In CrossFit, the workout-of-the-day (WOD) is generally named after a person. They can be named after girls, heroes, and other guys in between. Sadly, the hero workouts are named after CrossFitters who serve in the military or armed forces and died in the line of duty. I haven’t found how the girls earn a WOD named after them (or which real-life ladies inspire the said workouts), but it’s my goal to someday have a WOD named “Laura.”

Anyway, if I am the hero of my CrossFit destiny, pushing myself against me and laying down personal records day in and day out, then I can’t be a true superhero without an archenemy. And mine goes by the name of Angie.

Angie is a body-weight workout and the worst 20 to 30 minutes of your life (or 10 minutes, if you’re that good).


100 pull-ups
100 push-ups
100 sit-ups
100 air squats

For time.

CrossFit Evolution – Angie from Lori Schwartzberg on Vimeo.

My history with Angie

Angie and I have played together three times over the past year, which is a lot since CrossFit programming is constantly varied.

1/8/10 4/11/10 7/26/10

ANGIE adjusted

50 ring dips, 50 jumping pull-ups
75 knee push-ups
100 sit-ups
100 squats


100 banded pull-ups
100 knee push-ups
100 sit-ups
100 squats


100 banded pull-ups
100 knee push-ups
100 sit-ups
100 squats

29:11 27:09 29:17

To set the context, April’s Angie was during the 40 WOD Challenge when I was going to CrossFit 3-days in a row, 1-day rest, 3-days on, 1-day rest, etc. I was at the height of my physical fitness for the year and was kicking some major muscle. In July, I just started a new job and was barely going twice a week. The thing that really pissed me off was I was busting out some killer pull-ups and rock-solid sit-ups. The push-ups, well, were a struggle. But two minutes slower? (more…)

Make No Excuses

The Recession is no excuse to drink bad wine

I read the brilliant Danielle LaPorte’s post on The Perils of Justifying Yourself this morning and it aligns with how I feel about excuses – they’re a waste of your time and your breath, so don’t make them. And why the hell do you have to justify the rationale of your actions to anyone except for yourself? What you do in your life is right for you and you alone.

As all writers know, actions speak a hell of a lot louder than words. If there is something I want to do, I will do it. I will not tell you how or why I’m going to do it. I just will.

The perils of justifying yourself to others

Once you make a decision and announce it, the first question people ask is “Why?” These people usually care about you and are curious about your life, which is generally why they ask for details that you don’t volunteer. The challenge is to not to make excuses for your actions to others. Not to get wooed into justifying yourself after you consciously decide not to justify your feelings to yourself.

Everything that Ms. LaPorte lists about the corrosive effects of over-justifying your feelings can be applied when asked to justify your actions to others. Just don’t do it. Yes, there are times when it makes sense, but most times just stand by what you feel and what you do. Be authentic.

I get it, I really do. People want to connect with people on a personal level. It’s why we all dig blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and developing relationships online. It’s why I blog, too, right? I want to connect with all of you and share my world with you. I want you to care, and I want to care about you. But there are times when asking “Why” or “What happened” is not appropriate because people are looking for you to justify your actions. Sometimes it is, what it is

Photo Credit: henry…