How I found out about XOXO
Many years back, I somehow stumbled upon Waxy.org. I actually can date it to 2011 because I remember the blog post I saw was a link to the House of Cosbys. A comedy sketch created by a relatively unknown Justin Roiland that, for a variety of reasons, hasn’t really aged well, but… was still packed with sparks of brilliance.
Anyhow, Waxy.org was a blog that managed to stand the test of time, and at some point I caught wind that the owner of the blog, Andy Baio, was running a conference. I was on the fence about going in 2016, but was living in NYC and had a hard time justifying the flight to Portland just for a conference.
Then, after the conf was over, I saw some amazing talks from 2016 and started kicking myself. My favorite was a talk by Jenn Schiffer. Also a fan of the talk by David Reese. Started looking back in the history and found this fascinating and sometimes bizarre gem as well by Justin Hall.
Anyhow, now that I live in Seattle, when the announcement for the 2018 conference popped up, I decided to go.
So on Thursday I left for work early to drive down to PDX to catch the conference.
It was by far the best conference I’ve ever attended. All the conf-goers were super into what they did, and when you spoke with them they tended to be into what they were doing primarily because they found it interesting and they were genuinely curious people, who were also super kind and nurturing to weird ways of thinking.
Speaking of weird ways of thinking, I spent my time sharing what I was curious about, my VR camera, which I brought along with my VR photo viewer:
With this setup, I could take a VR photo, and then pull out this VR headset out of my pocket and let people see themselves in this VR standard. And what’s so amazing about this VR standard is that you can see what just occurred, in 3d, and at full scale. Something about this whole ritual felt like the processing and waiting for a Polaroid, which was a nice feel.
I took photos of some of the really amazing and interesting people I had a chance to meet. And recently I’ve discovered that a great way to get a glimmer of the 3D-ness of these photos if you don’t have a VR headset is if I make gifs that wiggle between the two different lenses of the camera. Here are those gif representations:
If you do have a Google Cardboard (currently only $3 over at Best Buy), you can peep the original, full-scale 3d photos in this album. To view:
Install “Google Photos” onto your phone
Click on the 360 icon on your phone when looking at the photo
Click on the Cardboard icon in the lower right corner of the image
Load your phone into your cardboard
Back to how cool XOXO was. I got to dance w/ some very cool people, too! Portland has really REALLY stepped up it’s game in the dance scene over the last few years, and I saw some locals get down at a funk night while I was there. I also got to share my dance and enjoy the dancing of others at the conference, both at the funk night as well as at the party the last night of the conference, where there was a big dance circle.
Now, I usually dislike dancing with strangers. It’s often lots of awkwardness and pretension. But the dance party at the closing night of XOXO felt like we were at a wedding or something, just people who were genuinely happy having a good time and sharing and creating. I still quite don’t understand how it was such a great environment, and I’ll be scratching my head for a while tryin to figure that out.
Anyhow, I’ll keep gushing about this conference for a few months, I’m sure. My wife rolls her eyes now when I bring up XOXO because I talk about it so much. As in, apparently it’s recently become my new “one time at band camp” moment.