XOXO notes

Andy McMillan:

I couldn't speak at all this morning because I was screaming at @pamplemoose so much last night

Andy Baio:

in one of the games I tried to express my love to one of the characters and accidentally farted instead

Andy McMillan:

65% of you may not know this, but there are goats - welcome to Portland @belmontgoats

Kevin Kelly's talk on Youtube

Kevin Kelly:

when you're giving a presentation, they always tell you not to say more than 3 things. I'm going to tell you 30 things

when i was young I found a book in the library called the Golden Book of Chemistry - it told me how to make Chlorine

when I was in middle school I made a rip off of Dali's painting of melted clocks, but I had a working clock in mine

When I travelled through asia it was like going back in time to the 15th century - in Kashmir, Srinagar - that has gone

I had all these slides and there was no way to make a photo book then, but eventually I did http://asiagrace.com/

sometimes I make useful stuff like a bed, but I tend to make weird + useless things—a robot made from a year's packaging

in the 60s we did things like making a geodesic dome in the desert, which is now a thing, apparently

Stewart Brand self-published the Whole Earth Catalog, which was all user-submitted content - it was the web in print

The Whole Earth Catalog took 30 people a year, Cool Tools I did with 2 of us

I only needed 3 copies of Cool Tools, but it got to #15 on Amazon and sold 42,000 copies

every new technology creates new ways to succeed - we will have more than mainstreet publishing and self publishing

we have mayflies whose success is measured in days and bristlecone pines who measure it in 5000 years—different success

there is a Cambrian explosion of technology, creating more possibilities

The more possibilities, the more successes are unique.

when everyone was a farmer, all successes looked very similar; now there are so many different twisty paths to success

Paul Graham's definition of a startup is one that grows very fast: startups are like pigeons. We need birds of paradise

The greatest failures are due to success. The Innovators Dilemma explains how new successes come from the outside

Startups are in the high risk domain because they have no choice - they don't have the money for the safe domains

There's a trade-off between Optimization and Discovery; between Knowledge and Imagination; between Answers and Questions

If you had 1000 true fans who buys everything you do, you could have a living - now people are doing this

the next 10,000 startups will be AI in the cloud added to X, for lots of X

Technology allows you to define your own success

Andy Baio:

our next speaker started a product whose motto is "It's nice to be nice" because @ginatrapani is so very nice

Gina Trapani:

somebody told me I should open with a joke, but I'm opening with 9-11

In 2001 I was working at a startup in lower manhattan, standing at spring street and hudson

A former coworker of mine had got a job at the World Trade Center, and he turned up shaking as his alarm hadn't gone off

watching all those people die that day made me obsessed with time, and that it will run out on all of us

every day a version of us dies, as each change makes a new version of us

I became obsessed with documenting every part of my life because it felt like it might disappear any day

I felt like I might die doing something stupid like upgrading an operating system

so I started Lifehacker in 2004 to optimise everything in life, from buttering your toast with a cheese slicer

the bit of the tagline that wasn't on Lifehacker was "optimise your life because you are going to die"

Lifehacker was like XOXO - anti-snark, optimistic and it came from me being scared for my life

Someday, somehow your worst moments are going to feed your best work

Michael Barish says every relationship goes through a Good Thing, a Rut, and a Transition

A rut isn't abad thing, it's comfortable and familiar. Ruts are sticky, it's hard to pull yourself out of them

Even if you have a dream job like I did, you start to coast. I spent so much time saving time I had no time for myself

my mother always says "a lady knows when it is time to leave the dance"

You have to drift for a while and maybe you take some weird detours - I wrote a book about Google Wave

I'm still obsessed with time, not so much losing time and wasting time, but making the time I spend worthwhile

Louis CK says we have all volunteered for data entry jobs for facebook and twitter [ummm…]

getting married and having a baby were moments in my life made better by being on twitter with you

the time we spend on social networks can be trivial or meaningful. Twitter+Facebook analyse our data, but we should too

my site thinkup.com tries its best to find the meaningful things that happen on social networks

part of our job as makers is to tell the story of things we make

How do we build a better web? Get in touch with me! [join us at indiewebcamp.com Gina]

Golan Levin:

most of my work is creating tools for others - I have been writing code to make art

this is an 8 foot tall robot that is on top of an art museum that is a cross between 1984 and sesame street

one of my projects is adaptors between all construction kits -lego, tinker toys, stickle bricks

This is a metaphor for corporate silos - the work we have to do to make them interoperate #indieweb

Pablo Garcia:

I'm trained as an architect, and have a long relationship with mechanical drawing machines

I modified a CNC router to have pen and draw pictures of historic drawing machines

I made a morphed skull illusion that shows up in reflective cylinders, and made 100s and left them around town

Golan Levin:

we're both educators, and both interested in media technology and its history

we have a lot of art students who think realistic drawing is great art - even though it is obsoleted by cameras

David Hockney's book Secret Knowledge says that the old masters used optical tools like the camera lucida

Pablo Garcia:

I bought vintage camera lucidas and started drawing things with them

Golan Levin:

camera lucida's haven't been manufactured in 300 years so they are pricy on ebay. So we decided to make a new one

a camera lucida is a prism on a stick. The stick is the easy part, but the prisms aren't made that size now

we needed to make 500 prisms so we did kickstarter to find 500 people who wanted 1. We found 15,000

a MOOC that pwned Kickstarter in order to reimagine commerce and education - we used updates to deliver art history lectures

in this parallel universe, kickstarter backers are students and their pledges are tuition fees

we also looked at kickstarter as a performance piece - product as provocation

Pablo Garcia:

the 3rd way to think of this is the search for Dan Winkler, who has done a neolucida drawing every day for a year

Dan Winckler is the peak of participation opposite the long tail - https://www.flickr.com/photos/danwinckler/

we asked china what gooseneck lengths they had lying around; they said they'd make them to order - China doesn't have shelves

Golan Levin:

here are the 10 men and women who worked with us for 2 weeks to make the neolucidas - 12 hours a day, 2 weeks $1.50/hr

one of our workers made 1000 neolucidas a day. I tried and could not keep up

Pablo Garcia:

what we learned in China is that all of our stuff is hand-made, even if it looks lie it isn't

Golan Levin:

every thing we have - every single thing - has handprints on it of the people who made it for us in China

Kevin Kelly:

Kaia Dekker (@quince) wants moveable type for sandals so you can leave messages in your footprints

Andy Baio:

Bandcamp is a way for independent musicians to sell their music directly


we are a distributed company - we used to use irc for everything but now we switched to slack

even though Sean and I sit in the same office, we talk to each other through Slack

I realised I can go for a week without talking to people, and now I'm talking to a thousand of you

listening to a song 10000 times whil;e an ad sells you toothpaste isn't a way to support and artist

paying subscriptions to a large company partly owned by other large companies doesn't tends to get much money to artists

Fans have given $81 million to artists through bandcamp, $2.9M in the last 30 days

@zoecello published her earnings last yeat 92% came from sales and 8% from streaming

@zoecello's sales were 34% through bandcamp, 15% Amazon and 51% iTunes last year

back in 2007 there was a band I really liked and they left their label, and their site didn't load

the band site din't work well and I had to get the music emailed to me by the lead singer

The services in 2007 for musicians were essentially a sharecropping - you gave them your content and they owned it

we raised a tiny amount of VC - stuck between the seat covers of the VC's Tesla kind of money

we worked in the public library for the first 4 years of the startup

we became profitable in 2012 - we were keen to be a sustainable business

If I was hoping for musicians to sustain themselves from my service I needed to do that myself too

Thom Yorke called subscription streaming the last sad fart of a dying corpse

as user numbers go up for subscription streaming services, losses grow higher too

shifting all our music consumption to subscription based streaming loses something important - the record collection

I used to browse my friends CD collections and discover music from them

Everyone having everything looks a lot like everyone having nothing

your kids are never going to look through your summer 2014 playlist

Streaming services can be good for discovery but the best way to support a musician is to directly give them money

a collection of tracks that people spend money on is important

there have been 11 million transactions on Bandcamp

fans pay more than the artist's asking price 50% of the time, and have given up to 100x

about half of the notes left for artists are saying they are sorry not to be able to give more

I saw @dickc at a conference, described bandcamp to him and he backed away while I was talking and turned to someone else

People want to support the artists they love, but they don't know what to do to do so

Andy Baio:

Rachel Binx is a data visualiser from Brooklyn New york

rachel binx:

thank you for having me at 'cho-cho' - I'm using the Basque X there

My day job is data visualisation, but you may know me from meshyou - turning places into 3d dobjects

we originally though of it as a data visualisation project - location traces from @foursquare

the other idea is gifpop - lenticular printing of animated gifs

there is a lot of amazing work being done in the gif medium these days

when you give to the internet, the internet gives back

we like making physical things out of stuff on the internet

normally at this point I'd show you a photo of me coding as a child, but that isn't true I learned to code 5 years ago

I made earrings from bottle tops and tried to sell them as a hip local artist and made maybe $25

I learned that earnestness isn't enough- you have to understand the business

I took photos for a friend, and he cropped of the watermarks, put them up and never spoke again

This happens too often. "Fuck you, pay me" isn't just a cute use of profanity, it matters.

I went to Stamem and got to go to conferences and say "yes I do both design and code" (picture of unicorn)

if you're like me, interests turn into fascinations and then into projects. My success is from a refusal to focus

the projects are drawing connections between different interests so that you can show them to people

I wrote a slide saying "Life pro tip: do everything all the time" - I'm getting into vague life advice

when it works its great to be a freelancer, but when it sucks it really sucks

I had my first public failure last year - I tried to start a conference called ThingConf for small biz

I thought "great, now I can write a medium post on failure"

failing on the internet is like crying in public

this is a screenshot of my net income in 2013 - it's nicely symmetric negative income

Andy Baio:

our next speaker has recorded a song every day for over 2000 days so far - Jonathan Mann

Jonathan Mann:

my grandma and I were really close, and she passed away about a year ago.

everyone else in my family is normal, but only my grandma is a weirdo like me

my grandma got her masters in Psychology in 1946 and worked as a psychoanalyst in NY until 1966 when my grandpa died

my grandma moved to Big Sur in 1966 and joined the Esalen Institute and became a hippie and travelled the world

my grandma loved to dance - she would dance all the time; she danced at a classical music concert in an NY park

Song a Day started with this thing called Fun A Day—make one piece of art for every day in January 2009. I didn't stop

I have now written 2,082 songs, one a day. I realised that I felt good when I made something

a lot of days my favourite songs come out when I feel have nothing, and then it appears

lets visit some more of my viraly viral things

song #77 I wrote about Paul Krugman - it was on Huffington Post and got to play it on Rachel Maddow

I did a jingle for Bing and won $500. @parislemon said it was terrible, so I made a song about him.

I wrote a song called "if you don't want an iPhone 4 don't buy it"

Apple rang me up. I don't know how they got my number, but they are Apple…

Steve Jobs walked out into the antennagate press conference to my song.

My ex and I posted a song about us breaking up, which went crazy viral

I wrote a song about needing a roommate

I set Ruth Bader Ginsberg's dissent in the Hobby Lobby case to music

some days there is a huge viral wave, but most days it's like a quiet day fishing - I catch a song, and put it back

sometimes it feels like the gaping maw of the internet is there and I have to keep feeding it songs

sometimes I'll post a song that's a whatever song to me, and someone says "this is just what I needed today"

Day 355 I got food poisoning, and it was 3am and I hadn't made a song, so I got in the bath and sang

I've contemplated stopping; my 2000th song was around the day my son was born, but I wrote another song

on the day that my grandma died I wrote a song

My grandma had her casket made about 10 years before she died and kept it on her lawn. She would lie in it.

I had written grandma a song for her birthday every year, so I wrote another one when she was in the hospice

Andy Baio:

Some of the content of this next talk is very disturbing. I've been trying to get Anita for 2 years

Anita wades through so much abuse daily - there were even threats to her for coming here

Anita Sarkeesian's talk on YouTube

Anita Sarkeesian:

I run an educational nonprofit called Feminist frequency, and host a series of essays on women in video games

the video game industry is going through a huge change - women are making more game

although the industry used to mainly cater to young men, and that is changing for good

I have been made a folk demon by angry men as responsible for the change in the industry

somehow they think that attacking me will stop the changes happening in the gaming industry

I have had a campaign of threats of rape and murder and graphic pornography

I want to cover some more subtle ways I get harrassed

impersonation is a tactic to attack me - fake accounts saying I was buying $1000 shoes - stereotypic misogyny

a fake quote attributing me saying Mirrors Edge controls were too hard for women

fake quotes become part of an information cascade - creating justification for further and extreme abuse

There are also a series of conspiracy theories about me that are delusional

"Anita bleached her skin to appear more white"

there is one man on youtube who has made hundreds of rants about me, some over 4 hours long

I am supposed to have used neurolingusitic programming to brainwash people

there are no blipvets in my videos that change people's brains, though my rhetoric can do that

4channers like to impersonate me to troll each other into further abuse. I've never posted there. You shouldn't either

when I posted some of the death threats I received, I was accused of faking them by people making more threats

these conspiracy theories and hoaxes build on themselves with each new harassment

the paranoia about feminists taking over video games is fueled by a deep distrust of women

when women receive harassment and abuse we are blamed for it,

one of the most radical things you can do is actually believe women when they tell you about their experiences

Andy Baio:

John Gruber wrote about Apple when they were still an underdog

John Gruber:

I assume that most of you have heard of Daring Fireball [lots of hands up] I also made Markdown in 2004 [cheers]

I write about design, technology, sometimes I try to be funny, but what I write about most and best, is about Apple

I wrote about Apple Computer - they're not even called that any more, they're Apple, Inc - a watch company

it is probable that Apple made more profit over this weekend than they did in all of 2006

the landscape of the independent web has changed since 2002

I thought I was too late when I started blogging in 2002 - there were so many great blogs then

Andy Baio, Dooce, Zeldman, textism were influences on Daring Fireball. Jason Kottke started his blog in 1978

It wasn't too late in 2002. It's never too late. There was such a great chasm between the independent web and commercial web

big commercial sites had big ugly CMS's that generated really ugly code.

sites made by individuals writing under their own name had great source code that loaded fast #indieweb

we had this opportunity - we were delivering higher quality work - higher production quality output

it was nicer to read kottke.org than the professional publications

Anyone remember MacWeek? it was printed on big glossy paper and the size of the Daily news. I loved MacWeek

you could not buy MacWeek - you had to fill out a form like a job applications to get a copy. I lied 3 or 4 times

I think what gave me up was that the address was always a dorm room.

How could one person on his own even vaguely compete with MacWeek?

Samuel Johnson said "No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money" - the web turned that on its head

right from the get-go when I started Daring Fireball, I wanted to figure out a way to make it my full time work

in 2004 I started tinkering to see what sticks - I tried adsense when it came out.

I had one good month with adsense - I made an analogy with mens hairpieces and graphic design

mens hairpieces look bad because they say "i'm paying lots fo money, I want more hair" - just like graphic design

I started selling t-shirts for $29 and memberships for $19 - the t-shirt let me help them part with the money

at the time I had an RSS feed that was excerpt only - the shitty kind of RSS feed

I use an ad network called The Deck - they don't work on RSS feeds, just on the web.

I made the full content feed a bonus for the members. I made a 10 char random string for each user's url

I said "please don't share the full content URL" - it mostly worked people din't seem to share it

circa 2006 people started using online aggregators like bloglines and when you searched for daring fireball you got them

Bloglines made a sane assumption that the URLs were public, and it looked like I was bad at designing URLs

Daring Fireball was a really nice hobby, but it was nowhere near my fulltime salary.

I realised I had to put the fulltime effort in to get the revenue for the fulltime money

I announced on the site in public that I was going full time, I told people this was the time to sign up, and got $30-40k

by the end of 2006 income crept up until it got to about our outgoings, and then it stuck

in 2007 one company made a decision that made daring fireball a success -Google - they made Google Reader

Google reader did not grasp password authenticated feeds, which I had switched to

I got daily letters asking how to get password authenticated feeds in Google Reader

I realised that with password authenticated feeds Google Reader would have to fetch each one individually

so to make Daring Fireball work in Google Reader I made the feed free. Putting ads in would be worthless

so instead of adsense I sold my own ads as sponsored feeds - a post thanking them once a week

I raised the price steadily over the years, and thanks to Google Reader I finally found a business model that worked

the readers lie ethe sponsors - I reject ones that don't fit my audience

there is a villain in this story and it is CPM - Cost Per iMpression -they can't even make the acronym right

the problem with CPM is that there is no way to value one form of content over another

I put a long article in sometimes, and I put it in the page and you can scroll down, because browsers work like that

a 2000 word piece is one impression, so is a cat gif

breaking long essays into pages has a "click for next page" link which my dyslexia reads as "close this tab"

this CPM driven pagination is disrespectful - it messes up the work. And it hasn't even worked

I thought that web publications would figure out something better than CPM like I did, but instead they made CPM work

things like buzzfeed and words like "listicle" make CPM work but at the cost of the web itself

I know what I'm going to do in the future. I'm going to write Daring Fireball until I fucking die

I thought that when I burst through and Heather Armstong did and Kottke did, more would join us

when I started having a web design background was important, but then anyone could do it

I hoped that each writer, under their own name, with their own site could work, but it hasn't really happened #indieweb

the crowd sourcing things are starting to work - kickstarter doesn't work for ongoing things but Patreon does

selling one ad a week and making it a scarce resource is a better idea than the CPM nonsense.

Know when to be stubborn. I never considered CPM, or selling the site.

Know when to be flexible - I gave up the paid feed thing that I was attached to

Prioritize quality over money. Apple's first priority is quality products; the 2nd priority is make enough money from them

Priority order matters. You can often make more money by valuing what you make more.

I just realised I spent 45 minutes paraphrasing the great philosopher king Kenny Rogers - Know when to hold 'em…

Jonathan Mann:

"you gotta know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away, know when to run"