One Way and Two Way Doors

A framework for how you can make better decisions faster

DEV.BIZ.OPS

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Sometimes you just do not know what to expect. Case in point with SxSW where I was the week before. If you do not know, SxSW is a conference hosted every March based in Austin. It started as a music festival in 1987, then added film and tech programs. This was where Twitter famously got its first big exposure back in 2007.

Hanging out at the Capital Factory in Austin, Texas
Hanging out at the Capital Factory in Austin, Texas

I was on the fence about going though. In my role as a startup advocate, I need to allocate my time wisely in order to connect with as many entrepreneurs and founders as possible. Would it be busy like years before COVID shut it down? Was it going to be worth my time to attend? If I did go, would there be anyone worth meeting?

Even at a reduced size, the value of being at SxSW in person was definitely worth it. While the talks themselves were interesting, it was the interactions I had and the random collisions of people I met during the week. Even if just a tiny fraction of the follow-ups SxSW amount to anything, it would have been worth the trip.

Dinner with founders & investors at SxSW hosted by MediaTech Ventures & AWS
Dinner with founders & investors at SxSW hosted by MediaTech Ventures & AWS

It could also have been a complete waste of time. I am a believer in the power of serendipity though. While I certainly have plans, I do my best not to overplan or overthink. I let the flow of the event dictate where I spent my time. When others provided suggestions of things to do, my instincts were to follow and I was well rewarded for taking the leap.

So this begs the question, how do my instincts help me to make better decisions?

In the context above, attending a conference and bouncing to different places is low stakes. I am not really risking a whole lot if I walk into a place and the scene isn’t working for me. Even the winning moments, like getting into a party where Run from Run DMC was DJing, was fun but not life-changing.

These same instincts, mine internal divining rod, to find where the action is also helps me in my personal and professional life. Whether it is career choices, project assignments, or places to move, all were built on a simple premise. Just make a decision, or as Nike would say…

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DEV.BIZ.OPS

Thoughts on developers, digital transformation, startups, community building & engineering culture. Author is Mark Birch @ AWS 👉 https://twitter.com/marksbirch