Photo of the interactive playpen at SXSW by Michael Femia. Something that Ryan Gantz and I dreamed up with festival director Hugh Forrest that’s been part of SXSW since 2006.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the word “why” lately, inspired by Catherine Caine’sGoddamn Radiant program that I’ve been making my way through for a new thing I’m working on. In the first part of her ebook, she talks about “why” and points to Simon Sinek’s “Start With Why.” “Why” is the most compelling part of anything I do in my personal and professional life.
Since February of last year I’ve worked at MIT Technology Review’s tech community arm, the MIT Enterprise Forum. When MIT Technology Review relaunched their brand with a new logo and design at EmTechMIT in October, they started to use the phrase “technologies that matter” to describe the company’s approach. This is awesome. There is a lot of technology coming to life every day — but how much of that really matters? I like that at MIT Technology Review, there’s a filter for what matters.
I’m attending my ninth South by Southwest Interactive Festival in a few days. I missed 2011 and 2012 which means I’m not likely at all prepared for the massive crowds that will be in Austin. When I first started going to SXSW back in 2001, it was spring break for web geeks attended by a couple hundred of my peers around the world. Ah yes, those were the days! But I’m still excited to be making my way down in 2013 — massive crowds and all. Festival director Hugh Forrest and his team have built something amazing and useful and fun over the years. I’m proud to be part of the advisory board. Everyone talks about the parties — and they are a lot of fun — especially if you enjoy standing in line. But this year, I’m going to make a better effort to attend sessions at the conference, see a few movies at SXSW Film and attend 20×2, a long-standing evening event at SXSW Interactive that has managed to maintain the community vibe of the early festival years.
While I’m at SXSW, I’m conducting short video interviews with company founders who are tech innovators. Everyone will tell the story about their work and why it matters. I’ve already rounded up several people to interview including Nataly Kogan, Chief Happiness Officer at Happier, a new Boston company who recently launched their Happier app in February. The videos will go up on the MIT Enterprise Forum’s global video website where Enterprise Forum chapters around the world share content.
If you are a founder of a technology company and you’ll be at SXSW Interactive with something to say about your work and why it matters, please get in touch with me to discuss my project! I will be conducting interviews March 9-13.
I love making playlists on Spotify. Here’s a new one that I’m adding to every now and then: A Life’s Soundtrack. After seeing Concrete Blonde last night at opening night for The Sinclair in Harvard Square, I was reminded yet again how better the world is with music. Cheesy, but goddamn true!
Marc Pinansky rocks and rolls. He rocks as the frontman for Boston rock band Township. Rolling is Marc’s singer/songwriter side which you can experience every Sunday night at Precinct in Union Square. (Update: This no longer happens at Precinct. Alas!)
I made what turned out to be a delicious roasted vegetable soup tonight. I didn’t use a recipe, but here’s what’s in the soup: lemongrass, leeks, onion, celery, carrots, roasted parsnip, roasted turnip, roasted potato, roasted oyster mushrooms, mint, cilantro and vegetable broth. The best part was the roasted oyster mushrooms. Delicious!
And every cooking adventure has a soundtrack, of course! Listen to the “Music While Cooking” playlist on Spotify.
Soozapalooza, an annual party I host featuring some of my favorite bands is almost here. This year the v3 installment is happening on my 39th birthday this Friday, January 20th at TT The Bear’s Place in Central Square, Cambridge. The night features three of my favorite bands: Good Night, States (from Pittsburgh), The Phil Aiken Army and Somerville Symphony Orkestar. After the bands, it’s karaoke time with The People’s Karaoke.
If you follow me on Twitter and/or we’re friends on Facebook, then you already know how much I LOVE Pittsburgh’s Good Night, States. L-O-V-E. They performed at the first Soozapalooza in 2010 and I’m more than just a little excited that they’re back this year. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. The music below is from the band’s earlier releases. They’ll be performing music from their new, not-yet-released album at Soozapalooza.
The Phil Aiken Army
Phil Aiken released his first EP recently with The Phil Aiken Army and a full-length album is in the works. If you want to hear supercharged pop songs with an all-star cast of players, you definitely need to be at Soozapalooza on Friday to see The Phil Aiken Army. Oh, snap — more A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!
Phil Aiken and friends covering “The Shape I’m In” at the Cover Up
Somerville Symphony Orkestar
There’s no better way to start a party than with the all-original Eastern European punk funk band from the Slavic heart of Greater Boston — also known as Somerville Symphony Orkestar. The band describes it better than I could: The SSO spectacle is a carnivalized punk show that turns its audiences into equal parts mosh-pit and horah. Complex six-piece arrangements reign in the chaos only to explode in shuddering “fun-gasm” after “fun-gasm.”
Don’t be surprised if Penelope the elephant makes an appearance during Somerville Symphony Orkestar’s performance.
Now in its seventeenth year, Science Club for Girls (SCFG) has established an excellent reputation as a nonprofit organization with expertise in girls-specific programming in underserved communities. SCFG was recognized with one of six national MetLife AfterSchool Innovator Awards in Fall 2010 for the design and impact of our Science Clubs and CELLS program. We are also the recipient the Nonprofit of the Year award by Cambridge Chamber of Commerce in 2009.
Currently, SCFG provides free, hands-on science and engineering programs to over 1,000 girls in five cities in eastern Massachusetts (Cambridge, Lawrence, Boston, Newton and Fitchburg), and in Pokuase, Ghana.
About the Catalyst Awards:
The Catalyst Awards recognize individuals who are strategic, innovative and effective in promoting diversity in science, technology and engineering; who are skilled and dedicated to effecting change from a systems level down to a personal level to help individuals and groups realize their dreams; and embody those qualities that inspire the best in us: a sense of justice, dedication to excellence, and genuine engagement.
Governor Deval Patrick at NAEP education symposium.
Sooz photography provided event photography services for the National Assessment Governing Board’s symposium on October 24, 2011 at the Westin Waterfront in Boston. View the photo gallery to see more photographs from the event.
About the event:
The NAEP 12th Grade Preparedness Commission is currently hosting a series of symposia across the country to discuss how The Nation’s Report Card can serve as this critical indicator. The Boston symposium, the second of the series, will convene regional leaders in government, education, business, and civil rights to obtain local perspectives on the utility of the NAEP initiative and its relevance for Massachusetts.
After calling it quits several months ago to move on to new music projects, Hey Mama reunited for a couple “Bring It Back Home” shows in Burlington, VT and Boston in early October 2011. See the concert photos I shot of Hey Mama and their old-school country rock and roll friends Girls Guns & Glory on Exploit Boston!
Spotify has become my favorite music listening service. I love how easy it is to make and share music playlists.
Here are a few of my music playlists. If you’re on Spotify, click the subscribe button to save the playlist so you can come back to it later. This is especially handy for playlists that are updated more than once including my Boston Rocks! playlist.
I’ve spent the past month (aka my first month after job layoff) rethinking and remodeling my consulting business and my website projects. It’s as if it was Spring cleaning in July/August! Late last night I saw a tweet by Chris Anderson (you know, that long tail guy) that was retweeted 3093030 times. (OK, maybe only 30303.) I don’t think there could have been a better thing to read at that very moment. In fact, I plan to read it every morning before I dig into the day’s work for the foreseeable future.
In crazy times, put your head down & build something cool. Ignore the noise & follow your nose. If it matters to you, it matters.
One of the projects I’ve done some rethinking and remodeling for is Solo Boston. It’s an idea that has had a few different project names over the years since 1999. It seems like this name just might stick! If you work on your own in the Boston area as a freelancer, free agent or consultant — join us. The monthly lunch I hosted for many years is coming back to life in September. The motto of Solo Boston is “solo but not alone.” Indeed!