#XOXOfest 2016: Independent Creatives Inspired, Shared, Connected

on (ttk.me b/4jG1) using BBEdit

Inspired, once again. This was the fifth XOXO Conference & Festival (my fourth, having missed last year).

There’s too much about XOXO 2016 to fit into one "XOXO 2016" blog post. So much that there’s no way I’d finish if I tried.

Outdoors on the last day of XOXO Festival 2016

4-ish days of:

Independent creatives giving moving, inspiring, vulnerable talks, showing their films with subsequent Q&A, performing live podcast shows (with audience participation!).

Games, board games, video games, VR demos. And then everything person-to-person interactive. All the running into friends from past XOXOs (or dConstructs, or classic SXSWi), meetups putting IRL faces to Slack aliases.

Friends connecting friends, making new friends, instantly bonding over particular creative passions, Slack channel inside jokes, rare future optimists, or morning rooftop yoga under a cloud-spotted blue sky.

The walks between SE Portland venues. The wildly varying daily temperatures, sunny days hotter than predicted highs, cool windy nights colder than predicted lows. The attempts to be kind and minimally intrusive to local homeless.

More conversations about challenging and vulnerable topics than small talk. Relating on shared losses. Tears. Hugs, lots of hugs.

Something different happens when you put that many independent creatives in the same place, and curate & iterate for five years. New connections, between people, between ideas, the energy and exhaustion from both. A sense of a safer place.

I have so many learnings from all the above, and emergent patterns of which swimming in my head that I’m having trouble sifting and untangling. Strengths of creative partners and partnerships. Uncountable struggles. The disconnects between attention, popularity, money. The hope, support, and understanding instead of judgment.

I'm hoping to write at least a few single-ish topic posts just to get something(s) posted before the energies fade and memories start to blur.