Episode 28: Hugs and Kisses from Portland: Andy Baio and Andy McMillan on XOXO


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Andy Baio and Andy McMillan had the simultaneous idea for an arts-and-technology conference, and the synchronistic good fortune to wind up in the same city at the same bar with the same friend who connected them to talk. The result was XOXO, an event that tore the top of my head right off and led directly to creating this podcast. Hundreds of attendees and tens of thousands of video watchers describe a similar enlightenment about realizing what’s currently possible — without cynicism, snark, irony, nor greed. Andy and Andy talk about the first XOXO in 2012, and preview the second outing that’s coming in September 2013. (For more, see my photos from 2012 and read an article I wrote for BoingBoing about the event.)

Tickets for 2013 will be on sale soon; go to the Web site and sign up for the mailing list to get notified as soon as they are available.

On Twitter: Andy Baio, Andy McMillan, and XOXO, as well as the hashtag #xoxofest, still in use.

Show notes

Kind of Bloop was an 8-bit chiptune music tribute to Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue. A transformative bit of cover art based on a picture by Jay Maisel raised the photographer’s ire (or that of his agents). Andy settled rather than pursue a lawsuit that most thought he could win, but would cost him a pile.

Neven Mrgan is one the founders of Panic Software, a company so modest it doesn’t have an about page. (Neven’s wife, Christa, wrote a terrific essay for us at The Magazine on her time working at Yosemite, and illustrated a review of Dog 1.0.)

Valleywag thinks the world is a terrible place. TechCrunch says “meh” to Kickstarter in to 2009. XOXO sold its tickets through a Kickstarter campaign.

Williamsburg hipster stereotype should have played out by now. Portlandia is a TV show, not a mirror of Portland, but it does convey some truths.

Portland has about 700 food trucks which gather together like whales in pods. Seattle, much larger, has about 50 now due to a lack of desire to rock the boat. Sadly, Andy’s remark about multiple zine stores in Portland is out of date — the stores have closed, says Yelp!

The Yale Union was a Portland laundry (no connection to the university), and is now a contemproary art center. It’s a magnificent building. Andy’s Build 2013 conference will be the last. Sam Adams, former mayor of Portland, opened the XOXO event, was very funny, and plays the mayor’s aide in a recurring role in Portlandia. He’s now the head of the City Club of Portland, a non-profit policy wonk group.

The portable bathrooms were wonderful. They looked like this. Air-conditioned, cleaned, better than most indoor bathrooms at heavy-use facilities. The Oregon Convention Center is soulless and convenient. The historic Morrison Bridge was near the Yale Union.

Other conferences that seem to have a similar vibe to XOXO include Çingleton in Montréal, Webstock in New Zealand, Paul and Storm’s JoCo Cruise Crazy with Jonathan Coulton on the sea, and MaxFunCon in California.

Kickstarter founder Perry Chen explains how the company was funded as a result of his desire to sell tickets for an event without fronting the money or charging people until a goal had been met.

Stripe (not a sponsor! unprovoked recommendation!) has a magnificent system designed for charging credits that optimized for how developers work. Everything is easy in their system. Dumb pipes and smart pipes are about networks that carry all traffic equally and ones designed to promote the business of the network operator. It applies in all electronic commerce in which “flooding” the pipe is a better strategy for a dumb pipe and enables more innovation at the ends.

Musicians have re-recorded their own work under compulsory license when they don’t have access to their recordings. Compulsory license allows them to make record already-recorded songs using the same lyrics and music and pay a small fee per recording. Suzanne Vega did it to have her own back catalog that she could sell. Def Leppard did it, and so did Everclear.

What is Marco Arment working on?!?!

The electron bumping problem. My baker friend in Seattle with the problem of too much success.