Extreme Gratitude, Austin Edition

Greetings from the capital of the Internet this week, also known as Austin, Texas. It’s a fun place with fun people.

In case you’re not familiar with this annual event, once a year everyone on the Internet moves down to Austin for an annual pilgrimage. Big companies give away free drinks at various parties. People talk on stages and bands play in what appears to be an unlimited number of bars.

Here is how I manage my time during this weekend: I “rent” a table at Jo’s Coffee Shop by buying one drink every hour. (It helps to switch to green tea after a few hours of coffee.)

I set up meetings in 45-minute blocks with friends old and new. Thus far I’ve seen the Great Communicatrix, Superstar Designer Reese Spykerman, Gretchen Rubin, Jonathan Fields, Valeria Maltoni, Jeffrey Tang, Emily Pearl, Adam Baker, Ramit Sethi, Naomi Dunford, Sarah Robinson, Jenny Blake, Johnny Truant, and Elizabeth Potts-Weinstein.

Last year I learned that you don’t need to buy a $500 ticket to SXSW to benefit from everyone being in the same place for a weekend. This time Adam gave me a free pass to the conference (what a guy!), but I confess I haven’t used it that much. Given the choice between talking with people at the coffee shop and listening to people talk from a stage, I usually choose the coffee shop.

Group Meetup

Last night our group took over a local diner for three hours of conversation. I wasn’t sure what the turnout would be like since every night has multiple parties going on, most of them sponsored by tech companies with free food and open bars. I’m not sponsored by Dell and didn’t hire a bartender to make martinis by the dozens, but dozens of people did indeed come out. As soon as I get the photos from our two volunteer photographers, I’ll post them up.

Monday morning I’m headed back to Portland for a couple of days before going out on a VERY BIG TRIP. It involves Central America, Eastern Europe, islands off the coast of Africa, a Chicago meetup, a talk in Pittsburgh, a 46-hour train ride with J.D. Roth, and the launch of the Empire Building Kit on my 32nd birthday in North Dakota. All on one trip! I love my crazy life, and I hope you love yours too.

Thanks for reading AONC and being a part of this adventure. See you soon…


Image: VI

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