SXSW: What We Learned from Billy Bob Thornton and Moby

Yesterday Jenn and I attended the SXSW Sessions: A Conversation with Billy Bob Thornton and A Conversation with Moby. We were interested in these sessions for obvious reasons (Oscar Winner! Grammy Nominee!) but also because we wanted to see what, if anything, they had to say about technology.

While Billy Bob did not specifically talk about technology, he did talk about innovation and the freedom to innovate. He spoke of Slingblade and how that was the last movie he made in which he had full control. That success doesn't equal freedom in the film industry. He talked about the community of consumers of film and media and how if we didn't crave the "crap" the media wouldn't produce it. That we should quit going to movies with the expectation of hating it...or critizing it....that we should be positive and we should be hopeful.

Moby talked briefly about his site http://moby.com and how his fans talk about everything from politics to abortion to (sometimes) his music. That the space is a place that conversation happens on all matters of life. And he also spoke of how he was perceived as being a militant in his earlier years and that now he wouldn't define himself that way because the world is a big place and militancy doesn't inspire change. When pressed by the interviewer Moby clarified that he thinks being militant equates with thinking you are 100% right, that militancy requires a certain level of narcissism, and that with age, you learn that solutions are messy and complicated and not perfect and that your narcissism should give way to more compassion and understanding of others.

So how do I tie this into the work of developers? The work of all of us at Sun? Throughout our time at SXSW Interactive, the theme of community has been paramount. Community drives innovation...community defines success...lack of community can signal your demise. I think of all the open source communities developers participate in and how whether newbie or expert, everyone is encouraged and given the freedom to innovate. That the community, for the most part, is supportive and positive, and that we do expect the best to come out of those communities and we look to the results with hopeful anticipation of the Next Big Thing (tm) that will make our work, our play, our lives better.

Let's stay positive.

-Heidi

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