Monthly Archives: March 2010

My SXSW Day 2: Make it Bigger

Today in SXSW there is a big thing that grabs almost everyone’s attention (and wifi bandwidth): Twitter CEO Evan Williams interview. The main hall is packed, the other room for live broadcast is packed, even in front of  TV screens at the hallway is packed. Everyone is eager to know what he’s going to say, what new services Twitter will provide, and what’s next for Twitter.

Later at night, my friends and I talk about the interview, our conclusion is:  They need to change the guy who interviews Evan. Many of us don’t think he does a good job. He’s not too bad, in my opinion, but he really needs to come up with other words that replaces “interesting”. The level of “interesting”ness is just way too much.

For the past two days, I really experienced “Texas size”. Every meal is sooo big, even sweet tea cup is like one-foot tall. Burgers are big, tacos are big, even salads are too big for me to finish it. Way too big.

Also, thanks to David’s referral, I was interviewed by Zadi Diaz in SXSW. Zadi is a great interviewer, making people feel at ease, especially to people like me that are mostly afraid of camera and not photogenic. If you are interested in hearing my voice and me in motion. Here is the clip.

(I don’t know why I cannot embed the video here today, sorry)

My SXSW Day 1: A Good Beginning

My panel is the first one of the day, starting at 9:30am. Originally we think it won’t be big attendance, so when I walk into our room before start, “damn” is the only word I have in mind. The room is big, with at least 200 chairs there. I think it is going to be embarrassing, especially with the daylight saving time effect, many people may arrive in 10:30 and find out the panel already ends.

Fortunately, it’s not the case.

We (June Cohen from TED, Seth Bindernagel from Mozilla, and I) attract around 100 people in the end, and people are very interested in social translation. It’s too bad we only have an hour for the panel, as many people don’t have the chance to raise questions in their minds.

It’s a good start for me, since Global Voices seems to be new to many people, hopefully we will get some new readers, at least.

I also get the chance to meet other people I have exchanged emails or heard their names for a long time. It’s very nice to meet Boris Anthony, GV previous tech expert, because he left the position just when I joined the group.

Ethan Zuckerman, GV co-founder, happens to be in the venue. I meet him totally by surprise. In such a huge venue, I didn’t expect to run into him by any chance, but we meet. Just what a coincidence.

Although it takes me an hour with walk + bus to get to convention center, it’s worthy. I didn’t go to any parties in the evening, though, as I falls asleep really early.

Tomorrow will have more parties, I believe. 🙂

My SXSW Day 0: Delay and Delay

It’s a long day.

As I mentioned in the previous post, I am so glad to be invited to SXSW this year in Austin, Texas, USA. Originally according to my itinerary, I should fly Taipei->Tokyo->Houston->Austin, but it didn’t turn out that way.

The flight to Tokyo is delayed in the first place, which turns me into a sprinter in Narita Airport. Unfortunately, I am still five minutes late before they closed the boarding gate “on time”. I watch the plane leaving in front of me, gaspingly. Then airport staff “kindly” suggests me to sprint again, to see if the flight to San Francisco or New York will take me.

After kicked around between Gate N0.32 and Gate No.35, with enough running exercise, I was “luckily” put into flight to New York. Life really takes turns when it wants. So, my 10-hour flight to Houston is changed to 12.5-hour flight to Newark. Worst of all, it’s a center seat…

As we flies into New England area, the weather isn’t nice at all. The last 30 minutes is quite bumpy, and the lady one or two rows behind me starts to scream, LITERALLY. That triggers the baby three rows in front to me to start crying, LITERALLY. Good, very good.

That becomes my time visiting The Big Apple, seeing nothing but lots of people waiting in line for connection flight.

Delay comes into play again, this time somewhat in a good way.

Someone above definitely hears my begging sounds in mind, and makes the direct flight to Austin delayed for two hours or so (gladly just downpour, not blizzard). I fortunately get a seat on the flight, instead of flying to Houston. Three, four hours later, I finally lands on Austin airport, seeing my luggage already waiting for me there, “on time”.

Here  I am, after 8 hours later than schedule, I finally check in and unpack at the hotel at midnight on March 14th. “Good news” comes again. As daylight saving time starts to work from 2am on March 14th this year, which means I will lose another hour of sleeping time.

My SXSW session will be from 9:30am to 10:30am on March 14th. As our panel organizer wants us to meet at 8am, this story will get more and more interesting…

I’ll tell you whether I fall asleep during my panel tomorrow.

(Sorry if this post sounds disorganized, but that’s how my mind can only work now…)

Life Takes Turn as It Wants

“What are you working on online?” my mom asks. First of all, my mom is not online generation, let alone “born digital“, so you should at least admire her for saying the word “online”. Secondly, to be clear, she now uses computer and internet on weekdays, but only to check out stock prices. That’s why, to her, having a son working as freelancer (= insecurity) and working online (= intangible) can be one of the most confusing concepts to accept.

Ever since she knows I want to be a freelancing translator, she keeps encouraging me to translate at least a book, which is “more substantial”, in her own words. True, my translations can be around you all the time, on product instructions, in press releases, PowerPoint presentations, or even as a website, but you normally won’t see my name attached. We are invisible translators. I have shown to her my works on Global Voices, with my name on it, but it’s still not persuasive enough to her.

And now she is more confused. Why would someone invite her son to give talks for works he’s done online?

See me speak at SXSW 2010 (http://sxsw.com) Mom, it just happens. I wasn’t aware four years ago that my life and career will be deeply connected with internet. But now it is.

South by Southwest Festival came to me for the first time in my life in this post on GV by Juliana. At that time, it looked cool to me, but I didn’t expect to attend at all. After all, it’s in faraway Texas. It’s a long, long flight from Taiwan. (Yes, I know, the flight from Taiwan to Chile is even longer, but we’ll deal with that later.)

Not until one week ago.

That morning when I opened my inbox, I saw an invitation letter saying hi to me, so two weeks later, I will say hi to Austin, Texas.

Also fortunately, I have experience the painful US visa application last year, otherwise I won’t be able to travel with such a short notice. Phew..

Working online connects people in unexpected ways. My life indeed takes turn as it wants, especially since I start to work online. I really cannot say for certain where in the world I will visit this year, but the picture is getting better and better.

Another turn of my life from online work is coming soon. I’ll unveil when I can.

But now, at least we can enjoy SXSW Promotional Video: