The reaction to our Twitter home page take over has been overwhelmingly positive. Thanks everyone for their feedback and comments. It was really fun working on it and seeing it in use in real time has sparked off lots of ideas about how we could use something similar as our permanent home page once we’re back home. Somehow we need to find a way of showing our social presence and network on the web, whilst combining the conversations around us.
My favourite tweet about our home page?
Ah, our avatars. Always a source of amusement (or horror) when a new set arrive from our amazing illustrator (Paul Davis). I’ve always felt that their style reflects the Made by Many way – sketching and creating things being a big part of who we are and how we work. However, to clarify, in real life none of us have fascinating skin conditions (@saradotdub), badger strips down out forehead (@bobbyc) or bolts sticking out of our neck (@malbonster).
The SXSW experience
After registration at 11 yesterday I spent the entire day with a goodie bag slung over my shoulder, just like many attendee. I think the first thing we all did was sit down and throw stuff away:
After getting rid of so much junk I was still left with a heavy bag of newspapers and directories to carry around. If we come next year I won’t bother picking up the bag at all – it’s just a hodge podge of sponsor messages that no one is interested in. Straight into the recycling bin. I just wish they hadn’t bothered to print it in the first place.
Sitting in a talk
Watching the rest of the conference crowd in a session is fascinating. We’re all geek boys, so everyone has an iPhone and/or a laptop. This constant connection to the digital world has taken over – no one sits and just listens. Everyone is tweeting, blogging, checking which session they’re going to next, checking which sessions they’re missing out on right now.
It must be a slightly threatening and interesting measure of engagement. No one was truly paying attention to me talking, but I did get a shed load of tweets!
Post match shake down
It sounds from much of Made by Many that we went to quite a varied mix of talks yesterday. Some good, some not so much… However, even the talks that didn’t hit it off became the start of a very interesting debate afterwards. Over a drink of course, this is Austin after all.
The “Passion vs Process” debate was particularly interesting. Some of the MxMers who went were a tad scathing:
The main crux seemed to be that people should focus their careers on their passion. However, no lee way was given for your skill level. Just because you’re passionate about something doesn’t mean that you’re any good at it. (And that certainly isn’t going to bring you happiness!)
This turned into an interesting post match talk about what passions some of us had followed and whether they had worked out or not. For example, one of the MxMers once went to a virtually deserted island to write a novel for 6 months. Others had started off their college years being amazing at sports, to a near pro level, but knew their passion, whilst strong, wasn’t enough to get them through to the final yard line.
At this point the conversation became a wider discussion about skill. Most fascinating of all was hearing @shanerichmond (first passion: music journalism, now the brilliant technology editor of the Daily Telegraph) talking about writer’s block. For him as a journalist it’s rarely an issue – if you’re writing a news story you have facts to report, if you’re writing an comment piece you have your opinion. You never ever start off with a blank page.
As a designer it struck me that at Made by Many we never start off with a blank page either. The way we work and our processes are nearly always intended to lay layer upon layer upon our ideas. That traditional moment of a designer firing up Photoshop for the first time on a project, sitting behind a white screen of empty pixels searching for something to start with rarely happens at MxM. By that stage in the project we have sketches and prototypes to work with. You have the information and service design in your hands – a framework (or in Shane’s case the facts or opinions) to work with.
Not so much a revelation, but fascinating to view our process from the perspective of another profession.