One of my favorite sessions at SXSW was from Eddie Huang. He’s brash, ambitious, doesn’t give a shit what you think….and really really smart. I originally went to his session because I’m a big fan of his web series Fresh Off The Boat on the VICE network. It’s part reality show, part hip-hop culture, part travelogue, and part cooking show. What I didn’t know about him was that in addition to opening Bauhaus in NYC, he’s also been a stand up comic, a lawyer, a TED fellow and a writer.
Eddie showed up to the session with two guys whom he met the previous night through Twitter – no, not two guys that work AT Twitter, but two guys he just met through Twitter. How? He ran out of weed of course (click the images to see how it all went down)…
It starts w/ Eddie sending out an SOS tweet letting the world know that they’ve just run out of weed at VICELAND and seeing if anyone could get the party started again. Within seconds that problem got solved. Great example of social media solving problems in real time, right?
And that’s how Eddie got his co-presenters.
Top Takeways from Eddie’s session:
- Brands start out as rebellious and that’s what is appealing…then they see what it is like to be accepted. They water it down and that’s when they lose it. Remember what you are about and don’t change it.
- We just want a blank slate to be creative. Eddie got two cameras and some money from VICE after being offered a show and then promptly dropped from a cooking channel. They wanted someone edgy-but turns out not THAT edgy. When big companies see what edgy is they get scared. They also wanted to control every part of the product: the blog, the book, the social media presence.
- You need someone in your life that makes YOU face YOU, and assess the parts that make you uncomfortable. Someone that makes you grapple with yourself.
- We like the Internet because of the stuff that is kept out of regular media. We like weirdos. We want to read about T. Boone Pickens arguing with Drake about a million vs a billion
- Whatever job you have, you are a writer. Always think in three acts, always think in the story arcs. Who are you? Use Venn diagrams to see where ideas intersect.
As I go through this list, I can’t help but see that Eddie Huang and Seth Godin are a lot alike. They’re speaking to very different audiences, and in VERY different tones – but the message is the same, especially as I just finished Seth’s latest book ‘The Icarus Deception’. Make Your Art. Pick Yourself. Stop Waiting For Permission. Be Awesome. Be Fearless. Be a Rebel. Follow Your Dreams. Start Now. Ship.