is a blog about design, technology and culture written by Khoi Vinh, and has been more or less continuously published since December 2000 in New York City. Khoi is currently Vice President of User Experience at Wildcard and co-founder of Kidpost. Previously, Khoi was co-founder and CEO of Mixel (acquired by Etsy, Inc.), Design Director of The New York Times Online, and co-founder of the design studio Behavior, LLC. He is the author of “Ordering Disorder: Grid Principles for Web Design,” and was named one of Fast Company’s “fifty most influential designers in America.” Khoi lives in Crown Heights, Brooklyn with his wife and three children. Refer to the advertising and sponsorship page for inquiries.+
Last week, after attending SXSW in Austin, I flew to Minneapolis to give a talk at The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, as part of their amazing Insights series. The folks at the Walker are incredible; not just as designers and propagators of design culture, but also as hosts, I had a great time.
Let’s Go to the Videotape
A couple of days ago, they posted the video of my talk on their site at The Walker Channel for those who could not attend. You can find plenty of older, amazing talks there, as well, but here’s mine.
From my perspective the talk went well, but it would be disingenuous of me not to acknowledge some of the negative feedback I got: the talk came across as more of a product pitch for Mixel than some people expected. In retrospect, I should have been more aware of that possibility, but I have been so consumed with Mixel for the past eighteen-plus months that it didn’t occur to me to talk about any other subject. Aside from my family, Mixel is the central thrust of my waking life (and often a prominent feature of my sleeping life too, for that matter), and to me at least it’s then most interesting thing I’ve ever done.
I think there’s an interesting discussion to be had here about the tension between an audience’s expectations and what interests speakers (and as an aside, Y-Combinator’s Paul Graham posted a somewhat relevant essay about the tension between being a good writer and being a good speaker earlier this week). But one thing this has taught me is that an entrepreneur’s preoccupation with self can be alienating if left unchecked.+