SXSW Second Day Reflections

h3. Sink or Swim: The Five Most Important Startup Decisions

_Michael Lopp (Apple), Evan Williams (Odeo), Joshua Schachter (del.icio.us), Joel Spolsky (Fog Creek Software), Cabel Sasser (Panic Software)_

Some good points, including:

# Avoid “sink or swim” decisions.
# Are free sodas necessary for software development?
# _Lots_ of new logos (and thus, new businesses) out there right now
# Some of the panelists took VC funding; some refuse to do so.
# Investors don’t seem to mind if 8/10 of their investments fail, as long as two of them go big. And fast. So they urge more risks. However, the entrepreneurs tend to want less risk of failure, at the possible risk of slower growth.

Then all the panelists answered “Why did you say no to Google?” (And Joshua explained why he said yes to Yahoo!)

h3. Smaller, Faster, Lighter

_Eric Hellweg (Harvard Business Review), Gray McCord (M3 Design), Renuka Rayasam (Business Reporter, Austin American-Statesman), William Bull (frogdesign), Andrew Horwitz (Seagate Technology)_

h3. Keynote Conversation

_Heather Armstrong (dooce.com), Jason Kottke (kottke.org)_

* Hmm. Heather seems to be very popular, but I just find it hard to relate to her. Charming and eloquent (and loquacious!), but ….
* Her best line was, “I have to _live_ the content, before I can write it.”
* Jason seemed nervous.

h3. DIY: Now More Than Ever

_Mike Hudack (blip.tv), Lynda Keeler (Delight Network), Matt Mullenweg (WordPress), Gina Trapani (Lifehacker), Ted Rheingold (Dogster)_

* Matt’s discussion of WordPress and open-source software was fascinating.

h3. Holistic Web Design: Finding the Creative Balance in Multi-Disciplined Teams

_Garrett Dimon, Shaun Inman (haveamint.com), Jason Santa Maria (Happy Cog Studios), Carl Sieber (fd2s Inc), Eris Stassi_

* *Best session yet.* This all-star team described how they worked together on a proposed redesign of the “Plazes”:http://plazes.com/ site.
* They had clearly done a lot of work.
* Their discussion of how they approached the project, collaborated, the challenges of the current site, and design decisions were tremendously educational.
* They also described a new cross-functionalism: each team member could intelligently describe all of the others’ roles, decisions and reasons. Yes, even in a “holistic” way.

The “slides/mockups”:http://www.someguynamedcarl.com/plazes/ are available.