Brian Shaler

Occasionally Interesting

Gravity is for chumps

Posts Tagged ‘sxsw’

Send Phoenix to South by Southwest! (SXSW)

Please take a moment to support some of our local (Phoenix, AZ) tech heroes and heroine in their effort to become SXSW presenters/panelists. To help out, click the links below and rate them five stars. Registration is required, but it’s quick and painless. Also, if you have a second, leave a comment about any of them you find particularly interesting.

Biray Alsac
Reduce MySpace Between Waist & Thighs So Wiki Live Longer
http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/ideas/view/877
When NY Times covered blogger Om Malik’s heart attack, it was a wake-up call to Web 2.0 community about our lifestyle. Is being ‘plugged in’ destroying our health? We beg to differ. Consider using the internet for fitness! This panel will debate which next generation technologies are helpful in ‘exercising the web.’

James Archer
Brand Tribes: The Art of Creating a Community
http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/ideas/view/887
Learn how to promote your product or service using the concept of “brand tribes,” which smashes the old “Us vs. Theme” marketing mentality and replaces it with a consumer-driven branding framework. Learn how to create a cult following with specific, real-world examples and hands-on exercises.

James Archer
Out of the Bedroom and Into the Boardroom
http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/ideas/view/1342
You’ve enjoyed the home office life, but it’s time for your web design business to grow up and get serious. Discover the top ten truths that successful businesses have learned the hard way, including ideas on office space, employees, business partners, cash flow, and staying sane.

Francine Hardaway
Fire Your PR Firm: Brand it Yourself
http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/ideas/view/1259
Social Media Club interim board members will give advice and anecdotes about how PR and branding have changed because of social media and how, as an entrepreneur, you sre empowered. You can now market your own product or company better than any PR firm. And you should. This is for technical people, to teach them the DIY of social media as a branding tool. You would be surprised how many engineers don’t know this.

Derek Neighbors
Collaborative Development Environments
http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/ideas/view/885
The interactive industry has been exploring online/virutal social networks over the past few years, but are just now starting to delve into physical collaborative development environments. We will look at social group dynamics in a number of arenas including open studio space for architects, collaborative class room models, green dev houses, collaboration based musical acts and co-working interactive facilities. We will be inspecting how existing collaboration models can be used to help improve the interactive industry.

Brian Shaler
Distributed Computing: Let the Client do the Work
http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/ideas/view/1068
Traffic surges on the Internet can topple newly popular web services; it’s a common side-effect of success called “Growing Pains.” Web services can provide more functionality while consuming fewer server resources by distributing the workload to end-users’ computers using desktop applications and browser plug-ins.

Brian Shaler
Future of Video on the Internet: Interactive Experiences
http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/ideas/view/1065
Networks are getting faster, servers are getting more powerful, software is getting more advanced, digital video production hardware is getting more affordable. In 5-10 years, how will end-users be experiencing video content? The key is interactivity.

Pamela Slim
From Blog to Book Deal: How-To
http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/ideas/view/913
Is traditional publishing dead? Apparently not, as many bloggers are landing book deals that extend and enhance their online work. Learn the ins and outs from bloggers who have done it including how to shape a coherent book from tons of posts and involve your readers in your writing.

Joshua Strebel
FAIL As If Your Life Depends On It
http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/ideas/view/1754
It does. Last year we bankrupted your company on the whim of a Unicorn, this year we show you why failing in your startup/life/project is the first step in truly succeeding. FAIL early- FAIL often. Your success is measured as the sum of recoveries from near disaster.

Joshua Strebel
Fake It ‘Til You Make It
http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/ideas/view/950
You are a nobody – Become a somebody. A strong personal brand can create business opportunities, boost your income, and even make you interweb pseudo-famous. But where do you start? Learn how to cultivate a powerful personal brand online and offline and leverage it for your professional success.

Sally Strebel
5 Common Misperceptions of Technological Creativity
http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/ideas/view/1000
Drinking the creation koolaid can sometimes be deceiving. It’s like trying to acclimate your taste buds to dog crap. 5 successful panelists share with you the ways to get results rather than reaching into a risky over populated grab bag.

Sally Strebel
Climbing the Corporate Ladder in a Mini Skirt
http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/ideas/view/999
Powerful tech women share their secrets regarding kicking ass, moving up the ladder, dealing with jerks, and helping other girls reach the top.

Steve Swedler
How Social Networks Are Killing the Revolution
http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/ideas/view/1557
Social networking sites today do as much for real world action as paint on the walls does for the structural integrity of your home. Come discuss how we are creating a false majority-view mentality and how to overcome this to achieve large scale change in the world.

Sean Tierney
Miracle Grow for Communities: What Makes Them Thrive?
http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/ideas/view/1161
Why do some groups thrive while others sputter and die? We’ll explore the preconditions and ingredients that contribute to an engaged community, whether online or in person. You’ll learn core strategies and guerilla tactics to turn your anemic group into a flourishing community.

Some People Don’t Like Brian Shaler

Special thanks to Andrew Hyde, Brent Spore, Daniel Burka, Gary Vaynerchuk, Willo O’Brien, Jim Long, Justine Ezarik, Joshua Strebel, Ward Andrews, Marcus Nelson, Rob Sandie, Matt Mullenweg, and Thor Müller for not holding back!

Phoenix Presents a Strong Offering of Panels for SXSW 2008

There is a new Valley poised to get some attention at SXSW 2008 — that of Phoenix, Arizona. Some of the brightest people in Phoenix’s interactive scene have submitted panel ideas for next year’s conference. This is a highlight of five highly intelligent individuals from the Phoenix area (plus an opportunity for some shameless self-promotion, which will be kept to a minimum). I met each of them during the last 1-2 years, and have followed their work enough to know that they each deserve my wholehearted recommendation.

Let’s dig in — alphabetically by last name.

Note: Please support these individuals by VOTING at panelpicker.sxsw.com. Your vote counts. Support these ideas, support Phoenix’s budding technology community.

James Archer
Scope Creep and Other Villains

Description: Are you a web design superhero? Then you’d better know your villains — Scope Creep, Needy Client, The Write-Off, and the rest of the sinister crew — and the secrets of how to defeat them!


James is the Project Management & Marketing Mastermind behind Forty, a well-known web design and branding agency.

He spoke at SXSW 2007 with an excellent presentation about building and managing a successful web development firm. This time around, he is going to present a humorous side to client relations with stereotypical traits that have forever annoyed web developers of all shapes and sizes. Obviously, he is also going to cover the serious side of the topic by discussing how to effectively handle these situations in a way that benefits you and your clients.

David Koontz
A Better Gun to Shoot Your Eye Out With

Description: Introducing the idea of applying the ideas made famous by Ruby on Rails (convention over configuration, strong MVC, good plugin system) to the context of game engines via the Railgun engine.


David is someone that I have only met on occasion, but I know him through several of my colleagues. He is a talented developer and looks to be one of the next big names in Ruby circles. If you have any interest in Ruby whatsoever, hearing what he has to say about Ruby development should be a top priority.

Aaron Post
A Day at the Web Factory

Description: Show and build awareness of GTD concepts for web companies. Through demonstration of your average day at the office, you will be able to see common mistakes and faults with how you or your team works.


Aaron Post (now part of the Forty team) is very well-known in Phoenix web development circles. He is one of the key organizers for Refresh Phoenix, which is the best group I have found in the area to meet the rockstar designers and developers of the [Phx]Valley. I would like to see Aaron gain more recognition nationwide, and SXSW is one of the best places to make that happen.

In the description, Aaron notes “common mistakes and faults”. While they may be common to many web companies, I think most people probably do not realize that it is an issue they are having. This is definitely a panel I see being beneficial for any web company looking to grease the cogs of the company clock.

Aaron Post
Clients are From Mars & Designers are From Venus

Description: How many times have we working with a client, narrowed down the project scope and get a signed contract only to have the client say “Oh so that is a widget, then what did I just pay for?” Or a potential clients calls asking for just a basic web site, nothing fancy, how much?


This will be an interesting discussion about communication. Clients often misinterpret, miscommunicate, and misunderstand even the most trivial web design tasks. I am looking forward to hearing Aaron’s perspective on how to overcome these situations.

Brian Shaler
Converging Web & Client Applications: The Growing-Pain-Killer

Description: Traffic surges on the Internet can topple newly popular web services, a common side-effect of success called “Growing Pains.” With today’s technology, web services can provide more functionality and consume fewer server resources by distributing the workload. This is an overview of technologies available and strategies to use.


While mostly technical, this presentation will be very useful for non-technical individuals. Learn how to add functionality, improve service responsiveness, and save on hardware costs.

Brian Shaler
Internet Celebrity: An Entrepreneur’s Ace in the Hole

Description: Name recognition can make the difference between reaching your market and sinking into oblivion. Trust is important, but nothing is more valuable to a fledgling start-up than a kick-start audience. By building a brand around your name, you can shed additional exposure on your next big idea.


I will be presenting industry analysis as well as metrics from my own experiments. Fascinating stuff.

Kimbro Staken
A Developer’s Cookbook to Leveraging Virtualization

Description: Virtualization is a trend that’s reforming the landscape of hosting and ISP’s but developers may not be aware of the benefits for running desktop virtualized environments for testing and development. The snapshot capabilities afforded by virtualization is a deadly arrow that should be in the quiver of every developer nowadays. This panel explores the basic to intermediate level of usage.


Kimbro is the CEO of JumpBox, a company specializing in developing bundled virtualized software packages. The topic has been around for quite a while, but as more advanced virtualization technology becomes available, the conversation is rejuvenated. If you are a developer and don’t use virtualization, you should definitely attend this panel to see how you will benefit from it.

Joshua Strebel
Bankrupt Your Startup in Five Easy Steps

Description: This panel will use humor and wit to show HOW TO bankrupt a fledging company. Panelists will share their insight and knowledge of moving from the garage to the corner office by successfully navigating through the challenges of cash-flow, staffing, and biz marketing. Emphasis will be placed on missteps that could have (or did) sink the company.


Josh is the owner of one of the top web design firms in Arizona. He is an experienced entrepreneur, founding several web companies on the side of his core business. If you want to know what it takes to launch a business successfully, you will want to pay attention to Josh Strebel.

SXSW Bowling Technique

This is a video of me bowling at SXSW 2007 in Austin, TX. The video shows step-by-step the technique I’ve developed (though, I use that term loosely). First, you extend the ball forward, in front of you. Next, you lift it over your head. Then, you bring it behind you. At the release, you spin your arm around the ball (I recommend ‘palming’ the ball — don’t use the thumb hole). You should try to land the ball near the left edge of the lane, aiming at the right gutter. This will give it a more dramatic effect as it curves at the edge of the gutter and comes back to strike the pins. The most important part, though, is a good victory dance! Even if you don’t get a strike! (just don’t fall down..)