Last Week at The Walker

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.