I returned from SxSW on the 13th, tired but glad I had a chance to see this conference for myself after hearing about it for so many years. It is so large that it would more accurately be called several conferences in one. I spent most of my time in the Journalism and Online Content tract where I got to listen to a panel with David Carr and others talk about curation, and another panel about funding news startups and discussions about how to hire data visualization designer and programmers (Answer: you must go to them because they don’t see themselves as “journalists” – something I can relate to). I attended a 2-hour “unconference” about data-driven journalism at the Texas Tribune where I met people interested in building data tools that support data sharing and discussed best practices. I finally made it to a data-visualization panel in the Convention Center on my fourth day, which included academics and designers talking through their experiences. Overall, it was a good experience but overwhelming and I was glad to return home.
On my return, I launched my online web store. My first lesson in e-commerce: when a customer has technical difficulties with your shopping cart you are the tech support. Luckily, I was able to resolve the issue but it is one of the reasons I wanted to start with a simple shopping cart and one product to sell as I figure out the workflow for fulfilling orders. I also found out that printing mailing labels and attaching them to mailing tubes is not always straight forward when the label printer jams or the labels don’t fit. But I made some sales from my mailing list and now am setting up additional MailChimp and Google Ads words campaigns to test the market.