Hackernoon logoLong Lines, Big Crowds, and Information Galore by@scottiegardonio

Long Lines, Big Crowds, and Information Galore

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Scottie Gardonio Hacker Noon profile picture

@scottiegardonioScottie Gardonio

Owner/Art Director/Designer

Though I initially intended to write a blog near the end of each day, I am realizing time restraints don’t agree with my goals. Instead, I will be posting one corresponding from the previous day.

As day two of the trip progresses, which is day one of the conference for me, I find myself in awe. The amount of knowledge collected together in this southern downtown is, quite simply, staggering.

Before we get into all of that, though, I’m sure you’re looking for an update on the foot situation. I’m happy to report that my feet swelled so little it was barely noticeable. I will provide no pictures as proof, but there will be more interesting photos below.

Let’s start with the morning. My co-workers and I arrived at the convention center after some much-needed sleep. The travel from the day before was exhausting, and last night none of us wanted to venture away from our pillowy hotel rooms to make a trip downtown. Believe me, at dinner, we each tried to come up with a solid reason as to why we could skip getting our badges that night and instead get them this morning. Of course, we all knew better, and we made the trip. When we walked into the badge room, all we saw were stanchions creating a maze through which today’s attendees would navigate for their ability to attend the sessions. While it was near empty when we were there, the sheer size and complexity of the maze left little to the imagination in the way of the crowd that would follow in the morning.

This morning, we arrive, and we all want to see the crowd we’d avoided. After all, the energy expelled in order for us to get the badges the night before, after what was around sixteen hours of travel, required a payoff. And, payoff it was. The street was bare at fifteen minutes to conference start; we figured we were early. Upon entering the convention center, however, well… jaw-dropping hardly describes it. The room we’d expected to see full went unseen. The line of fellow attendees stretched as far as the eye could see. So, we walked to find the end — out of curiosity — but it went further still. No wonder there was no one outside. Clearly, every human in existence was inside this building.

Satisfied with our previous evening’s choice, we wandered through different buildings and streets to get our bearings.

I’m a sucker for any circular or tubular space. This installation, within the convention center, has a beautifully powerful message.
Looking, you can see a single shoe within one of the hanging pieces.

Once the time came, we (Amanda, Dan, Jane, and I) split off into four different directions in order to attend our first sessions.

This is where my first South By Southwest (SXSW) disappointment reared its ugly face. A good four interesting design-related sessions were all scheduled at the same time. I’d have to pick just one. I will say, after getting to my first, I realized the brilliance behind this scheduling. There’s simply no way to get all the design nerds into one room. So, when you get booted from one due to capacity, other options may still be viable.

I chose “It’s Not Ready Yet: The Perfectionist’s Struggle,” and the inspiring Adobe Creative Resident Christine Herrin did not disappoint!

In my daily work life, I speak very little with other designers. And, while I would hardly downplay the wonderful creativity and encouragement that comes from the relationships I have with my co-workers, I was in love with being around a giant group of individuals who spoke “my language.”

As an in-house designer, my own inner dialogue relating to my creative process can be isolating. Do all designers have as much self-doubt as I do? Turns out it’s pretty common. And Christine illustrated it in a true designer fashion.

Yup, that’s how I feel most days on most projects. And, while simply reading that graphic seems like a bit of a downer, the images gave way to a room full of laughter. After all — when that’s your inner dialogue — it’s best to find the humor in it.

As Christine continued to speak, I began to really ask myself about my own design process. Ever seen one of those old time pinball arcade games? You know, the ones where your goal is to rack up points by whacking a ball around a littany of obstacles — a very energetic and often violent process.

I think that’s the best way to sum up my own creative thinking: new ideas bouncing around at lightning speed until the inevitable finalization.

Christine articulated her way of determining where the pitfalls in her own process may hinder productivity in the quest for perfectionism. Listening to the journey she took, it was easy for me to start identifying my own successes and opportunities.

Over thinking… yeah, I may have some space to work on that one.

I’d never thought of fear having influence over my creativity.

Moving on from there, more sessions, meetups and once-in-a-lifetime conversations consumed my day. While I learned a lot in the areas surrounding my career field, I learned some random newbie-SXSW things, as well:

  • It is VERY important to be VERY specific about where you will be when trying to meet up with a person. (This goes out to Lisa Fitzpatrick of UMD’s Viz lab — sorry, didn’t mean to be standing four feet away from you for twenty minutes while texting you to figure out if we were at the same place.)
  • If you’re going to write a blog, your time is best spent doing this as you stand in the long lines hoping to get into your next session.
  • Do not put too much confidence in your bag. Just because something fits, doesn’t mean its weight can be supported. (It was a nice bag; we had a good ride.)
  • I have a strange obsession with bulleted lists.
  • Do not Snap while riding an escalator, no matter how productive that may seem.
  • Do not try to get into the press room. Even if it’s accidental, they don’t like that.

Conference day-two is already very promising. Stay tuned until tomorrow — there may even be another foot picture in it for you.

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