Space: The Final Frontier

Like so many in my generation, I grew up watching the launch of NASA’s Space Shuttles. For years, we would gather in lunch rooms and classrooms to celebrate the triumph of American science ingenuity as we rocketed into space.

I remember watching in awe as those massive shuttles fired into space. I was memerized by the adventure and wonder of it all. Nothing seemed out of our reach even when we faced catestrophic consequences for our exploration.

To this day, I block off time in each of my classes to remember — even if just briefly — the sacrifice the men and women of our planet have made in order to help humanity slip “the surly bonds of earth.”

Today, NASA’s budget has been gutten and much of the important work about the foundations of our universe done through basic science research has been shipped overseas. America is no longer the leader in the race to understand our place in the universe or in the journey to join our cosmic family among the stars.

The wonderful things about science, though, is that it continues even when we don’t. Like a river flowing around rocks, the hunt for answers continues despite the agenda of those who would attempt to thwart it.

Today is one of those days when our ambition has won out against those who would attempt to stop science. SpaceX, a private company headed by Elon Musk, the founder of PayPal and Telsa Motors, launched the first commercial rocket transport to the International Space Station. If all goes well, a company spokesman said, Americans will once again be flying into outer space in less than four years.

SXSW Interactive, a Recap

I’m just back from South by Southwest, a 10-day interactive, music, and film conference and festival in Austin, Texas. I’ll get into more detail later, but I’m giving several conference recaps to various constituencies. As I work through my round-up, I’ll be adding to my notes and blog here.

A brief overview of South by Southwest

Companies from the finals of Accelerator that I thought were cool.

News-Related Technologies:

Social Media + Social Networking:

  • Thirst Labs: Uses natural language to grok meaning from status updates and social data
  • Hoot.Me: A Facebook application for developing student-led tutoring sessions

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A South by Southwest Guide to Surviving the Nerdpocalypse (2012 Edition)

*A note of introduction and hello to all who arrived from the SXSW Interactive website. They asked me a few questions, I answered, and they published this far-too-kind blurb. The lesson: Always make friends with the organizers! Enjoy the read.*

Greetings Earthlings.

Last year, I wrote a handy little survival guide for attendees of Austin’s South by Southwest Interactive Conference and Festival Week.

I did it mostly because after 18 years of attending, people oftentimes asked me how to navigate the conference. It’s a hard question to answer because the Interactive conference is so personal despite the reality that there are 12,000 lunatics wandering the streets Tweeting about the Naked Cowboy.

Instead of answering each question individually like a good human, though, I posted some advice and included a map of non-SXSW related venues that I go to each year.

A funny thing happened on the way to the Coliseum. The 2011 SXSWestians made my little post the most read of any of my personal writings so I guess that means you got a bit of value of this whole “blogging” thing.

With that in mind, I thought I’d update my Guide with the understanding that absolutely everything I said in 2011 is without question still 100 percent true: comfortable shoes, water, morning runs, sleep, avoid your friends, plugs, high fives, dinners, lunches, screen burn, avoid parties, and be respectful.

But I did leave a few things out…

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SXSW: A Recap

In the next few weeks, I’ll be giving presentations that recap what happened this year at South by Southwest.

I’ve asked my friends (and the awesome folks at SXSW) to help me gather links and ideas. Here’s what we’ve assembled so far: SXSW 2011 Mind Map.

What do you think? What did we miss?

Once we’ve completed this, I’ll be making this available as a downloadable, interactive PDF that you can take with you.

A South by Southwest Guide to Surviving the Nerdpocalypse

Greetings Earthlings:

Nearly twenty years ago, I attended my first South by Southwest conference. At this point in my life, I have no idea about the specifics. I couldn’t tell you what I did and whom I met. All I know is the experience changed my life for the better.

I loved the conference – and the city – so much that I moved there in 1995. (And again in 2002 after I left Wired.) In the ensuing years, I returned to the conference every year. I returned for Music, then for Interactive, and finally for Film. Now, I return for them all.

I have done this conference as press, as an attendee, as a panelist, as a moderator, as an emcee, and always as a nerd. These days I do some panel vetting as part of the Advisory Board, I evangelize about the conference and I’ll be emcee’ing the Accelerator for the third year.

I tell you all of this narcissistic pabulum as a way to convince you that what I’m about to tell you has some merit or weight to it. Of course, this being SXSW Interactive you are more than willing to – well – interact with this content however you’d like. (And I know you will my Nerdikins.)

What I’d like to offer you is my SXSW Guide to Surviving the Nerdpocalypse (and my handy dandy map to all things Not-SXSW related in Austin that you must do):

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Scenes from TedXCincy

A huge thanks to the photographers roaming the grounds during the TedXCincy event. You can check out the entire group here. Here are a few shots of my stalking the stage:

My opening discussion about how story 3.0: Telling Stories


The beginning of my discussion about the ideas of Vannevar Bush and JCR Licklider, which give us the outline for how modern stories can – and will – be told.

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So New: In Which Dale Herigstad Speaks at Ball State (31 of 90)

On Tuesday night, Dale Herigstad came to Ball State University as part of the Letterman Speaker Series. (Here he’s decked out in his best Neo-Preacher Future Man outfit, which rocked.)

The series, which brought in Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, is one of the coolest parts of my job.

As it turns out, Herigstad – the chief creative officer of Schematic – is friends with Katz, my friend from Sheffield, England who is staying with me this week. So we – along with the dean and associate dean of my college – grabbed a bite to ea at Amazing Joe’s before his presentation.

Herigstad is on the cutting edge of interface design. Which may sound a bit dull. Except interface design is pretty much at the heart of everything in a digital, networked age. (Check out Keiichi Matsuda’s website to see exactly what I’m talking about.)

So, you know, just another night in Muncie, Indiana.

TedxCincy (Addendum)

It’s always weird to do the vanity search after giving a talk.

It’s also particularly hard for me because that moment before feedback comes is awful. I have a creative mind convinced that I’m quite bad at what I do. Which means I’m always – always – expecting the worst. My head is like a Stephen King short story.

Per my usual, I wait a day after my talks to go check out what people said about me in the social sphere. This morning as I sit here in my hotel, I’m feeling very humbled by the kind words you’ve all posted about my talk “Telling Stories on the World.”

If I’ve missed any Tweets or blogs, please post them in the comments. And thank you all so much for the kind words. Really…wow:

Brad King recommends checking out Sean Stewart’s Cathy’s Book. #TEDxCincy — @andreamccorkle

Brad King’s talk atTEDx was fantastic. — @beckcomm

#TEDxCincy brad king, opportunity to have books interact with social media. Require going to web to fully understand the book — @GeoffZoeckler

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So New: In Which I Officially – and Formally – Leave Media and Technology Behind(24 of 90)


Tomorrow I will give a talk in the Aronoff Center for the Arts about a topic I know very little about.

This is a new experience for me. New in the sense that I haven’t really had this feeling in years. I’ve spent the better part of the last 15 years working with emerging media and journalism, a field that’s roughly 15 years old. (And I’ve been on the Internet since 1985…which is the kind of math I don’t much care to do.)

I’ve been about as expert-y in the field as one can be since the time this was a field that people talked about.

I couldn’t tell you the day I became one of those experts. I can only tell you that I am one. (Whether you chose to believe that or not is inconsequential to the reality of my premise.) At least I am for one last day.


Because tomorrow – Wednesday, Oct 6, 2010 – I’m going to reboot my world, and I’m going to do it in front of 1,000 people. No more news and technology. I know about as much on this topic as you can functionally know. I’ve built my legacy and it’s time to move on, to let the next generation of news and technologists do what they will.

For me, the next phase of my career is strictly storytelling: building transmedia stories that use fiction and non-fiction while blending real life and cyberspace. That teach, that immerse and that persist all around.

Go big or go home because failure is an option, I tell my students. And I’m going to live that particular mantra tomorrow sometime around 10:30 am.

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