Pick Me!

A weblog by Laura Moncur


SXSWi 2009: Kathy Sierra Change Your World in 50 Minutes

Filed under: Utah Geeks — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Last March I went to SXSWi 2009. I posted the notes from two of the days, but conference exhaustion got in the way of me posting the notes from the last three days. After much delay, here they are.

Change Your World in 50 Minutes: Making Breakthroughs Happen – Room A

Monday, March 16th
3:30 pm – 4:30 pm

Gain real-world ideas for markedly improved productivity from an industry expert and passionate speaker who always inspires SXSW audiences.

SXSWi 2009: Kathy Sierra Change Your World in 50 Minutes by LauraMoncur from Flickr

Kathy Sierra CreatingPassionateUsers

There is a big Fucking wall. You have to do something drastic.

Incremental = you get into an arms race

marketing, whuffie, viral arms race

How to get past that wall without incremental steps.

Breakthroughs and your USERS need to make breakthroughs.

The Kicking Ass Chart and the Suck Threshold

How to get that middle user past the the amateur level. Being better is better.

WOM Word of Mouth is VS. WOO Word of Obvious

People will notice when they are kicking butt. WOO can trump WOM.

What’s stopping us from kicking ass?

Are your users stuck in P mode? SLR cameras can do a lot of things, but I don’t know how to do it.

People are so scared of upgrading because they don’t want to suck again.

Anyone can compete with this. You don’t even have to change your product. You just need to help them use your product better.

How to know someone: 1) iPod Playlist and… 2) Flight vs. Invisibility

What superpower do we give our users?

Quotations Page: We make them smart and funnier

Picture the superpower on the suit.Auto-correct spelling man is NOT a superpower.

Would it work on a superhero action figure?

Twitter didn’t look like a superpower, but it is.

People don’t want to increase their productivity.

  1. Think about what you would put on your suit.

  2. Superset Game What bigger thing are we all a part of? It might be more interesting. What cooler thing is my thing a part of? It’s not the cooking appliances, it’s the cooking that people do with them.

If you blog about your company, that’s not the coolest thing you can talk about. They want to hear about how your product will make them kick ass.

It takes 10,000 hours to be amazingly good. To shrink it, Learn the patterns and shortcuts. Shorten the duration. Can you shorten the years. There ARE shortcuts.

She shortened her time for riding, by using her saddle at her computer desk.

  1. Deliberate Practice

It can’t be 1000 of time, but REAL practice. Lots of years isn’t necessarily an indicator of performance.

80% of your time, work on your STRENGTHS. Working on your weaknesses sucks,

A lot of us are in domains that don’t expect us to practice. When programmers practice, it’s usually called an alpha.

The first hits that come up might not work anymore. When your are organizing information, put a sell by date. Sift the milk.

  1. Make the right things easy and the wrong things hard. It sounds so simple. Make it easier for users to have a breakthrough than to stay where they are.

Is your treadmill in the corner gathering cobwebs? You don’t use it because it’s in the corner. Take all your chairs out of the living room and put treadmill there and you WILL exercise.

  1. Get better gear (and offer it). Help them justify it.Find make offer higher-end gear that bumps them to a new level. Recommend other company’s gear if you need to.

  2. Think Clueless We lost our tech jobs in the first bubble. We had an idea for a book, and O’Reilley said that they couldn’t do it. Now, we’ve sold 750,000 books because we were STUPID. They wanted books that were 100% brain friendly.

  3. Total Immersion Jams 16 hours over two days vs. 16 hours over two months. If you do something once a week, you may never improve, but if you do it over a couple of days, you’ll get better.

Ad Lib Game Development Society

Always Be Closing

The goal was not to be good, but to actually get something gone.

The surest way to guarantee nothing interesting happens is to assume you know exactly how to do it.

Give yourself a jam every weekend or so. Look at the jam model.

  1. Change your perspective Don’t make a better X, make a better user of X.

When we focus on what we do, that’s not the most important thing. It is what will make your person better. Don’t make a better book, make a better programmer.

  1. What movie are your users in? Hero’s journey. What role do you play in their lives. Your company is to your user as BLANK is to Frodo.

What movie do they want to be in?

The smallest quote ensmarttens the largest man!

and don’t forget the soundtrack

  1. Don’t ask your users If you want incremental improvements, ask your users. If you want to make a breakthrough, ignore them.

Hugh MacLeod Ignore Everybody

Ask OTHER people’s users: What is the bigger experience

  1. Be brave

Fear occurs… Risk aversion

The only times I’ve been brave is when I was too stupid to know that I was brave.Don’t shy away from doing something challenging.

We can solve EVERYHTING with ease of use

  1. Rethink Deadness

Re-examine the dead pool. Faster horses is $40 Billion industry now, even after Henry Ford declared them dead.

14, Change the EQ: Add NEW sliders to the changers.Installation: skateboard shoe store AND art gallery.


Sierra Sliders Add your own labels.

Gary added love action figures you’re allowed to like this. He talked about wine from the heart. I think wine is fun. Have you DRANK any of it? He would go to a serious wine tastings and was completely convinced that there was a huge lack of wine self esteem in America.

New slider to add for Quotations: Teach them how to quote. So and so said, “the quote” in “date”

If user A can out do user B, then you have something good.

Passive aggressive notes

Literally blog

The blog of unnecessary quotes.

  1. Be amazed

Everything is amazing now and now one is happy. Everybody on every plane should be going OMG! You’re sitting in a chair in the SKY!


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