Monday, June 12, 2017

It's a Trill Thang

I sat down with the introspective, funny, and incredibly interesting Arturo Bustamante of Trill City Kings. Lots of jewels here! We discussed philosophy on culture, the artists resistance, productivity, Trill City trademarked parties, Texas culture and so much more. Check them out on IG @trillcity comment and let us know what you think below 
listen to the full interview here -40 mins

Monday, May 29, 2017

Respect The Shooter

#STAYimperial Podcast. Discussing the young creative and entrepreneurial hustle in Austin, Tx and Beyond.
Episode 2 IE sat down with Xavier Anthony, ATX photographer. We Talk working towards greatness, mastering your skill, being war ready, mentors, and building a voice. Xavier's passes along some good times for working and aspiring photographers. Check out his work on IG @xavieranthonyphotography and the upcoming work with @allouttx
Liste to the full interview - 27 mins

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Imperial Journal: Evolving, Hacking Productivity, Enjoy The Journey

I'm starting this blog as a way to document the things I'm learning and working on as I personal evolve along with Imperial Eloquence. More importantly, this is a way to share ideas with the world that can be more clearly deconstructed as I expose them, break them down, and hopefully build conversations around.
The past week I turned 29, the last year of my 20's and although I'm lucky to be here at this point the "MORE Monster" in me thinks I'm not where I should be at 29. This can be good from an motivating perspective but if fueled by ego or standards that aren't true to myself it can be detrimental. In light of my "old age" I've began to work on systems of simplifying my life goals and documenting them to build my reality in order to thrive, overcome, and reach greatness. The following is the study I've taken on this week and the resources that ignited these realizations.
Rewire Yourself
As I've started to look into the rewiring of your personal reality, or how Dr. Joe Dispenza coined it- the way you think, the way you feel, the way you act creates your personality overtime- I've recognized some pattern in my thinking. THIS IS HUGE, because we can neurally change thought patterns since we are the only creatures that can think of the thoughts we are having (metacognition). This made me think of greats: Joan of Arc, Mandela, Jay-Z, MLK Jr; people who came from situations that almost guaranteed their failure but they thrived. And how did they do that? According to new science on neural plasticity, the brain's ability to restructure itself, we can make the conscious effort of changing the language of the mind; thoughts, along with the language of the body, feelings, simultaneously to create the reality we want. This clears up the bullshit of the woo-wooism of the law of attraction that entices people to think they can attain with feel-goods only and shallow Instagram posts. Instead we can evolve by changing the habit of who we are by practicing the process of feeling and foreshadowing, when we do this with emotion and practice we open up and connect new neural pathways in our brain. This is a tool to heal any trauma or realize any mindset, which can be the key to unlocking your greatness. I believe mindset is a big part, if not the whole, solution to the success/happiness equation. 
In short Joan of Arc, Jay-Z, Martin Luther King Jr all lived the reality they wanted before it became physical reality and they made it their personal reality and so can you. Its not easy, but it is possible and it has helped me in evolving my distracted brain into a thinking brain which in turn has brought me greater joy and understanding. This is due to the fact that as we learn something new we create a pathway of new neural receptors that open up the opportunity to create a new reality. And if you want to look deep into a rabbit hole of interesting information I recommend pairing Dr. Joe Dispenzas' work with some research into quantum physics/quantum reality and how it relates to Newtonian laws. 
Super Human Mode
This tied in with the ideas discussed by Aubrey Marcus on his recent interview with Jamie Wheal, co-author of "Stealing Fire". Now, I've heard numerous interview since the book came out and found this one as the most informative and meaningful. The idea of "Stealing Fire" relates to the  Greek myth of Prometheus, who stole fire from the Gods and gave it to men as a Godly power. "Stealing Fire" covers altered states of consciousness also know as ecstasis and the healing and godly force that these states can bring us. The description of a state of ecstasis has one or more of the following traits: a)selflessness b)timelessness c)effortlessness d)richness of experiences. Lets name a few examples of what this can look like; a Yogi achieving a sense of transcendence, the basketball players who connect and communicate with exact timeliness, the raver who attains an insight into a solution during a concert, the runners' high that bolsters additional energy and puts the athlete "in the zone", the Navy seals team that can read micro expressions in a dark room to surgical degrees, the zone that an artist can put himself into while creating a painting, the musician who is in the pocket within a jam session, etc. 
Mammals have searched for ways to increase their conscious level for centuries, either subconsciously or consciously. Whether through illicit drugs, live EDM shows and Festivals, Yoga, Alcohol, Meditation and other substances and behaviors that chemically change the brain make up, we've hungered for a state that is not just intoxicating but can be downright transformative. Many animals who live around psychedelic plants such as Iboga, Ayahuasca, and psychedelic mushrooms digest these plants and trip out, theres a fascinating phenomenon of dolphins who lightly nibble on puffer fish to get its toxins out and float around in a "rotation" type circle. Similarly the rockstar on heroin, artist on codeine and xans, and wall street billionaire on cocaine are achieving altered consciousness often to a detriment. Most of these states at the evolutionary level don't really serve us, they don't increase our chances of a mating, or ability to gain resources, per say and some can even be dangerous. Dolphins can become easy targets for Killer Whales and other predators above them in the food chain, but they still puff puff the puffer's magic potion. Understanding that we, as American's, subconsciously spend over $4 trillion dollars on altered state of consciousness is almost unbelievable; yet the fact that these states are recognized in various cultures to be just as real, or more so, than awakened consciousness, its clear to me the dire need to personally comprehend and implement a practice and ritual to use this information to my advantage. Hopefully 10X my quality of life, success, and enlightenment.
My key takeaway is that my experience in trying to tap into altered states with either psychedelics, sex, meditation, yoga, or partying - can be calculated, planned and used to go into healing, learning, collaboration, and growth that can be incredibly accelerated. I can also avoid getting lost in living for those moments of "being high" only. The integration of these practices comes with a practiced discipline, this means after the day on mushrooms or the weekend at a music festival, we put down in writing the homework given for us to do. We might also want to fast or abstain from other distractive practices to work on what the altered state gave us in form of a vision, realization, or conversation. Then, we must find a way to create a dialog on ideas as well as putting in the sweat and effort to advance them.
For me this has been clarifying what I can do with the resources I have now, in order to increase my quality of life, happiness and contribution to the world. A month ago, through an altered state, I realized that the overthinking that I was making kept me from taking action, mostly from fear of the ideas not working out- without even trying them. As I walked a pathway in a busy park I realized that getting from one side of the park to the other is a set of corrections in direction. I wouldnt take it personally if a dog crossed my path and I had to go around it and correct my route, similarly any idea that is thought out to an extent still needs to be acted on and any "failure" or lack of attaining my goal from it, is actually information and data for me to use to strategize and correct my direction. I eliminate wasted time worrying or judging by instead analyzing and acting to the best of my ability and as soon as possible. I saw that in my business and life, being overtly focused on the errors and taking them personally kept me from taking any steps forward because I already imagined some catastrophe. I had the homework to assign time and meet the deadline to strategize, cut out excess business, and put to work the strategy on how to improve my life and business by collecting data instead of worrying about failure. 
By setting up a purposeful practice of going into the altered state and coming back out with a task and guidance we can use "The fire of the Gods" in a manner that serves us and our goals, whatever they may be. Also the discipline of practicing abstinence from your altered states shows you how restless you can be without it(similar to fasting from food) can allow you to frame a practice of that activity or substance in a way that serves you. We want to prevent our practice from being just an escape that makes you feel like you're gaining but all you're doing is becoming dependent on that state. My observation is that the anxiety or any hardship you feel after an experience can be offset to serve you by integrating it with a practice into your life. Because its easy to think that what you experienced only exists in the memory of what you did but the reality is that if you act on and consciously look at the feedback given to you after a rave, an ayahuasca ceremony, a pleasure session, yoga or any mindfulness practice, you can free yourself of the need to only live in that state and progress by strategizing and building a body of work with the tools you have.
Building your body of work is necessary to developing mastery, contributing, and finding joy. A body of work can be figuring out how to make that idea you've had in your head real, building that business, creating the future, finishing the artwork, unpacking the personal luggage and doing it in a tangible way. Because going from the altered conscious and back to "reality" is necessary in order for the muse (the creative part of your soul) to transfer the data to the real world. This also requires your conscious mind and body to do the reps necessary, the reps only you can do. As much it can be a prison to believe that this reality is the only one, its necessary to create a tangible and realistic body of work to evolve and express yourself. I know I can personally spend too much time with over educating, and paralysis disguised as healing but the real healing comes with a two part recipe, one part altered state with a purpose and plan and second part as integrating that work into the real world with real risk and real potential to grow. Because the part of you that creates and grows never needs healing. (Pressfield, War of Art. Audible). The War of Art says there is a proper place for true healing but often times the juice we can spend on creating and building a body of work can be wasted on the idea of healing a part that never requires healing in the first place. 
Essentially, altered states of consciousness can help us get the information and tap into consciousness at various levels; chemically, mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. We can use that info to strategize and can tap into other levels of ecstasis while we do the work or in between the work and the rituals. This can help us transform our lives, health, and future if purposely applied.
 Rich20 Something
The following was the most insightful information as it came with great clarity into how to move forward with life and business mindsets and practices. It also tied the ideas of the other resources with a similar tone. Daniel Dipiazza, founder of business coaching site that helps millenniums become entrepreneurs, gave a clear plan for mindsets and discussed how to set your self up mentally as well as strategically for success.
First point was how ambition doesn't entitle you to succeed, having some drive and a strong will is not all you need to become a success in business. You have to know and master the entrepreneurial stuff that is not sexy, such as but not limited to: finding a skill set, finding and understanding your market, targeting your offerings, productize offer, scaling up strategy, and other things that the bromides don't tell you. The actual work you put in as entrepreneur in the market place takes timing, meaning the hours you put in behind close doors that nobody shares on Instagram, is what the journey is mostly made of. You must do a lot of work, consistently and often times the results you see won't come until much much later. Entrepreneurship is also very much the opposite of the quick validation and gratification world we live in. Finding a way to keep your journey enjoyable comes with a mindset, unaffected by the social media likes, comments, constant feed updates, and comparison thats can keep us from getting any real place.
Second, the time that you put in and the time that you "strike it rich" is also something to keep in mind. I believe that with a growth mindset there are always opportunities out there but often times it requires patience and the development of a skill set which can only come with timing and effort. Give the time some time while you continue your work and hone in mastery in a manner that keeps fuel in your tank. This comes with a mindset to run your own race, again, with all the input and insight into others' lives that we get from social media and other sources today, it can be hard not to compare yourself. The need to do so probably has something to do with our evolutionary mind/survival mechanism. I think you must train the need to compare and hone it in so it serves you, you can do this by 1) Always having a goal and clarifying it 2) Seeing others' success with gratitude. Now, you may say, "yea yeah I know be happy for others and don't hate, I get it", but I want to clarify this mindset because although I doubt you're a "hater" I found it useful to look at other's success with emotionally linking appreciation as best as I could to the fact that opulence, wealth, influence (or anything I want that others have) exists. When noticing people who are succeeding in areas I want to succeed in as well, telling myself something like: "lead the way and set the table and Ill come with my recipe for all to enjoy after". This way I am free of the need to compare and can also inspire gratitude in my mind, which will help with focus on my mission and almost guarantees success. Most importantly it will build an air that others in your field and yourself are colleagues and all who play a part are contributors to the culture. This is an abundance mindset and the frequencies at which it vibrates adds, where the lack and jealousy, by definition, subtract in the form of resources, energy, and accomplishment.
Everyone knows that when you strain a muscle it tears down and regrows which adds strength and healthy mass to the body. People also know that doing something thats hard and seeing it through to the end makes you stronger in other ways. This interview Daniel really clarified how and way this works, he explained that the point of frustration is where most people give up, thats the rep or emotional challenge that makes you want to give up, but if you understand and accept the frustration that comes at that point and see what is really going you'll push through it a lot easier. Whether there's a business solution you can't realize, a life problem that seems to be weighing you down, a personal illness, a skateboard trick you can't land, a creative project thats not coming out quiet as you envisioned it, the frustration thats felt there is threshold. If you look at whats happening under the surface of the frustration the hardship is not only bearable its understandable. The discomfort is the brains lack of understanding with why we're feeling this pain and its trying to keep you safe, but the trick is to rewire the evolutionary part of your brain that says "pushing through that set of exercises again is going to make you too tired to run from the sabertooth tiger". When you push beyond that frustration and do enough of the thing that hurts, the thing thats hard, the thing you don't want to think about thats actually good for you- you chemically rewire a part of the brain that once reset is good for life. For example as Daniel is learning Brazilian Jiu jitsu the number of times that he has his ass beat and keeps going and trains and gets frustratingly stuck in the same bind his brain is permanently restructuring a solution though it may be simultaneously telling him to not do this any more. By pushing beyond that voice in the brain and persevering you gain self-trust, this is the most important gain because with self-trust you are now chemically and mentally wired to believe in yourself to succeed in other areas of your life. With the same mindset done enough you begin to see why new skills live outside of our comfort zone. Yes, somethings you may have a natural disposition to be good at but like a lot of things those valuable gains are worth and often come with a struggle or frustration and that same pain is the catalyst that helps rewire your mind biologically to overcome and be greater at other things.
The reason most of us won't to push past that pain is because we are afraid of the mistakes we'll make. Framing mistakes as necessities instead of a deciding factor of our worth is the only way to attain greatness and be happy. Again, by understanding evolutionarily where the fear of mistakes come from can help to push past the blockage, we may internalize mistakes subconsciously as believing we are not good enough if we make a mistake and the minds evolutionary protective system is saying that if you mess up you will be chastised and kicked out of the tribe and the voice will say "if you do this you'll mess up and if you mess up you'll die after you're left out in the land without the tribe to survive". Training the brain to not stop you with this nonsense that served us as cavemen but now does more to impend us, is a skill that one must hone and this training of the mind makes the journey to success sustainable. By making mistakes you grow and rewire and prior to making the mistakes you train the mind to be ok with them which also boosts motivation since demotivation comes from tying your worth internally to an external result.
Freedom is gained by eliminating the external result from determining your internal worth, you do this by not having a set outcome in mind that says if you fail you aren't good enough and if you succeed you are good enough. Do more of the exercise that trains the mind to grow by making mistakes and don't have a set outcome in mind. Now, not having an outcome in mind is very different from not having a goal. Lets look at it with an analogy; if you're a frog and the goal is a destination on the other side of a pond, the path to get there are lily pads. If you make your goal: to perfectly land in the dead center of every lily pad on your way, the journey will be next to impossible. By being okay with making mistakes along the way (say, maybe fall off a lily pad, over or under shoot one) you will get there and as a result you may get better at perfectly landing on your lily pads by the end of your journey. What often happens is we overthink and fear the mistake of not perfectly landing on the center of that lily pad that we don't jump at all, never reaching our destination, or we overanalyze and with anxiety and self criticism add unnecessary pain that makes the journey harder or burns us out before we even get there.
Another way to understand is that by tying your internal identity based on what the external shows is a way to give control to things that will sway in any direction and your quality of life then becomes a slave to those outside things. Life is guaranteed to give you challenges and specially if you want to reach success or greatness, trouble will come.  The long game is the key, as a recent interviewee said, its not about how much you make but how long you can stay in the game that counts. As counter intuitive as it may be, letting go of needing the external validation of perfection will actually help you be happier and attain success. Despite what the instagram memes say success requires more than the hustle which is a trait of the ambition we mentioned at the beginning. Yes theres a time and a place to burn the midnight oil and hustle a-la Gary Vee, but even he will tell you its not about "no-sleep", its about what you are doing with the hours you spend awake after a good nights rest. What are you thinking, working on, doing, and feeling during these awake hours and this means you have to ground your internal framework in a manner that keeps you in a state of longevity by getting to know yourself and discovering and finding interest in you and your history with a clear manner which is independent of anything that is external. The side affects to this aside from your success an happiness is it may also make you a better person to be around because you are more fulfilled and this mindset subconsciously attracts abundance.
Most importantly, as you set your mind and body up for growth you have to begin to build a body of work. Before the internet and the democratization of entrepreneurship and music, 2Pac build a catalog of work that is still being released today. With whatever you have on your plate or in whatever way you can figure out a way to tangibly contribute a peace of you out there, create and build on a body of work, a portfolio to improve on and build mastery at. Then put it out and if you can, develop a message that provides value to the world. Its a content war out there so if you want your creation to be seen you then must work on placing it in as many spaces, again, with it being part of the lily main goal but not defining your worth on the attention you get. 
In summary, seeing your challenges with a positive attitude trains your brain to become the good coach and helps you instead of hindering you, whether its a workout routine or trying to solve a problem for a personal or business solution. This is integral to bouncing back as you face challenges which are guaranteed on the journey towards growth, entrepreneurship and life. Decide to be okay with mistakes and 'failures' by saying "I'm going to work until I'm better, I won't be perfect and don't need to be, but I'm greatful for the progress" you will enjoy the journey, trust in the time, and attain greatness. Give yourself the time to develop the talent and use as many tools and ideas like these to make it a joyful experience which will improve your chances of success. 
Psychocebernetics
The quote above comes from a powerful book which discusses the phenomenal power of the mind and goal setting. This particular chapter spoke on "purpose tremor" which is when you are threading a needle all of the sudden you become shaky but you can hold the thread perfectly still otherwise. This is due to being too careful to not make a mistake. Basically, you're giving too many fucks and its fucking you up.  When you have a fear of making errors the activity becomes highly anxiety stimulating. The root of stuttering is a person's fear to make an error and is a form of excessive negative feedback as they try too carefully to not make any speaking errors which results in inhibition and sabotages your performance. The answer here is a relaxation training where one develops the habit of letting go of excessive effort and almost a disassociation from the result, this can help you perform and be more effective. Know that you're human and to err is human, as the old saying go. By not trying to avoid "failures" , big or small, you save time, headache, and take action. Always be sure to take the action though to the best of your ability and use but don't overuse or anticipate in a detrimental way the feedback. Remember to just look at any "failure" or success as data. "Excessive carefulness and anxiety are close kin" (Maltz, 1976, pg 1960)
 
Thats my learning for last week and I may be sharing how Im applying theses ideas later on down the road. As of now this can provide a tracking and guideline as to methods and information to evolve, learn, and create the best version of you. I hope this will be helpful for anyone that reads it and I find it necessary to flesh out these ideas with conversation so I would love to hear your thoughts on these ideas or if this helped you at all. Ill be citing the sources as they pertain to the topics below, #STAYImperial 

Resources
Rewire Yourself or get the free audio/video with library card on Overdrive

Monday, May 15, 2017

Bape is NEVER on sale: AUSTIN'S Hype Appeal

Bape Austin Weird Hype Appeal Christian Figueroa

IE sat down with founder of Bape Austin Weird, Christian Figueroa, who at 20 found the go to destination for the coveted streetwear giant here in Austin. We talk being the plug, how he started, hustle of Instagram reselling, linking up with Migos, and business and life philosophy. Check them out at https://www.hypeappeal.com or on IG @bapeaustinweird comment and let us know what you think below 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Jesus walks, but Kanye flies above us all at Austin show

Jesus walks, but Kanye flies above us all at Austin show

 September 22, 2016 | by Eric Webb
Kanye West Saint Pablo Tour Austin, Tx
Photography by Luis Felipe Giraldo
We didn’t want no devils in this house Wednesday night.
Kanye West kept things heavenly in Austin during a one-and-a-half-hour Saint Pablo Tour stop at the Frank Erwin Center, where the rap superstar was a god. No, I’m not saying Yeezus is the Lord Almighty. (He might, though.) West has always flirted with the divine, as do plenty of major cultural figures. For this show, he stopped flirting and entered a fully committed relationship.
(And if you don’t agree that West is an significant cultural juggernaut, read no further and stop quoting that one episode of “South Park” as if you’re having some kind of original thought.)

From the opening praise service of “Father Stretch My Hands,” the evening with West was a study in visions and vices. The tour’s much-touted floating stage was as cool as you think it would be in person, with the rapper holding back none of his hyperactive bravado as he glided over the audience. General concern that he would slide off the edge hung in the air. It looked like a hip hop “Metropolis,” and West was throwing a Fritz Lang house party for the revelers down below
A little variety in stagecraft would have been nice, though. Even Superman lands for a sec every now and then.
Kanye Fans Saint Pablo Tour Austin, Tx Frank Erwin CenterKanye Merch Austin, TxKanye Fans Frank Erwin Center Saint Pablo Tour Austin
The crowd felt the spirit of worship, with no compunction about screaming “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex” with the conviction of a thousand snake emojis. West moved the audience to clamor beneath him with phones aloft as he laid down for “I Love Kanye”; he turned them into an Auto-Tuned gospel choir for the a capella homestretch of “Heartless.” As a performer, West lacks an athletic flow and pipes that get the job done without technology. Yet somehow, when he’s at full tilt, you believe a man can fly.
Kanye Fans TLOP Saint Pablo Tour Austin
Visually, the evening was lit like a hot shower seen through sunglasses during a power outage. West gave a shrouded, weirdly alien performance, cloaked in smoke and darkness from his magic carpet, his face never completely visible. Even the screen projection for the cheap seats gave the impression of an oil painting as seen during a mushroom trip. The aesthetic made West an unknowable mystery. It felt like peering behind the tabernacle curtain to see the Ark of the Covenant or gazing into a burning bush, and anyone with nostrils could tell there were a lot of burning bushes in the arena.
The hymnal was stacked. Cuts from living album “The Life of Pablo” reigned. And some cheeky cover-work at the top of the show — Yeezy just jumped over Jumpman, straight to “Pop Style” — led to a thrilling tour of Yeezy’s discography: a dark and murky “Mercy,” a searing “Black Skinhead,” a rapturous “N***** In Paris” with Jay Z’s entire verse preserved, a “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” that served a palpable burst of energy in both West and the crowd. “Blood On the Leaves” hit a somber note that could help but conjure this week’s headlines in your head. Dancing ‘Ye showed up for “Jesus Walks,” as did kneeling ‘Ye.
Kanye West Imperial Eloquence
Not to put too fine of a point on it, but West’s pre-“Yeezus” songs — you know, from before West was fully committed to capital-A Art — crackled with a clear-headed soul (samples notwithstanding) that his most recent work just doesn’t have. West tore into his lyrics and threw his body into the physical focus we’ve all in the “Otis” video. (But no, he didn’t do “Otis” at the show.) “Touch the Sky” was clearly the most explosive powder keg of the night, and the only number where even West couldn’t help but to command everyone to jump. That electricity didn’t seem like it could be matched, but “All of the Lights” gave it a run for its money, as did a truly joyful “Good Life” (Kanye grin!) and a “Stronger” that literally gained momentum from start to finish.
But hooky cuts from “Graduation” don’t quite round out the messianic metaphor. Kanye’s talk of visions coming to life and a palette of “Stranger Things”-like synths decorated his most religious experiences, like the heartbreaking prayer of “Only One” and the nightclub nativity of “Wolves.” West, who you can’t accuse of half-assing anything, danced with devilish red lasers for “Fade” before literally moving on his chariot of fire into a column of glowing white — an honest to ‘Ye ultralight beam for the song of the same name.
Luis Giraldo Photography Kanye West
As he dismounted the stage and walked out, West met the anemone-like arms of his disciples, walking the line of adulation straight out of the arena. All he needed to complete the picture was a donkey and some palm fronds. This was a God dream. This was a God dream, except that meant entirely different things for the performer and his fans.
Kanye West Saint Pablo Tour by Luis Felipe Giraldo-Rojas
Kanye West Austin, TxKanye West Mosh Pit
Saint Pablo Tour
Saint Pablo Tour StageKanye West FansKanye West by Luis Felipe

We have a limited number of original Saint Pablo Tour merchandise available for sale.
Austin, Tx Saint Pablo Tour was the 15th Stop of the U.S Leg of the Tour going on until Nov 1st, Kanye will be in Dallas tonight 9/22/16 at the American Airline Center, information on tickets and stops are available at www.kanyewest.com
Article appeared on Austin360 http://music.blog.austin360.com/2016/09/22/jesus-walks-but-kanye-flies-above-us-all-at-austin-show/
Photography by Luis Felipe Giraldo

Monday, March 28, 2016

Another one! SXSW 2016 with Dj Khaled, Fader Fort, Dreamville and More

The Madness of SXSW began March 11th as President Obama became the first sitting president to visit the festival of festival. SXSW is where technology, music, film, arts and all things new/legendary/exciting meet in our great State’s Capital. The Austin vibes were hectic, not uncommon during this fest, locals either made their way into the action for all the free booze, swag, music and prizes they could handle or stayed far away from the downtown scene. In this post we’ll give a run down of our experience as locals looking to immerse themselves in the stimulating experience with all the varied and exciting activities SXSW offers in an attempt to take away a key idea or two to build on.
Image via SXSW website
The festival is kicked of with the interactive portion, which primarily focuses on technology and education. As attendees poured in and out of conference halls and exhibition rooms the conversations and energy began to churn the machines of collaboration, new ideas, and reflection on the current state of the culture across various industries. We first find ourselves at the packed keynote for Gary Vaynerchuk (Expert on Marketing, Business, Social Media, and Trends). Gary allowed Q&A for the entirety of his time on stage and as the first question was posed on apathy versus empathy in business, the audience filled room anxiously awaited for his response. The questionee ended with the following "As a marketer I see that we are not just machines that go through the day in motions, we're trying to make life happen and have connections that fuel us-how did you start systematically applying empathy to your relationships?" Gary who jokes he has ego along with his empathy responded with a very insightful answer "Im one of the great salesmen because I've been applying empathy my whole life... If you understand what the other person is thinking and you are a true sales person, an operator, and business person, you can reverse engineer to get what you need to get." He admitted that this thinking can be used as a bad thing because of its power but in any interaction, business or non, really caring for someone else in return makes all parties involved enjoy showing empathy, be it business or non business. Image via GaryVee Instagram
The refreshing tone of the human element in business or while creating, as stated by Gary, was quite the appropriate way to begin a week where one would run into countless people from all fields and walks of life. The fact that "SXSWestees" might possibly collaborate, ink deals, or party with various characters and crews makes this a very useful mindset. With that, we were off to see the fashion folks at the Decoded house where guest were welcomed with key notes, beautiful people and drinks. Plenty of jewels were dropped by Frank & Oaks' as well Combat Gentlemens' CEOs, these two companies who's founders had quite the resume to prove their knowledge, spoke on meshing fashion and technology to better the end user experience . They touched on a making your website an interesting place to hangout at. Also mentioned was the challenges of fast fashion and how being a small company and owning the manufacturing process in the sense of doing all your CMT (cut making trim) and then taking it to the manufacturer can cut down cost and minimums all the while increasing quality and tackling a common manufacturing problem as it pertains to the latest styles for a smaller company. Also something we here at IE took to heart is the practice of pop ups being set up as more of a community event and not sales focused this is gold for uniting your tribe and building community around your customer. One impressive trick from Frank & Oak was to release new collections every month and working with the reality that seasons don't exist when you're providing fashion for the entire globe as its always shorts and jacket weather somewhere and this can work if you've tapped into your customers at that level. The quote we left with in mind was "Women like the pieces for the pieces sake, while men like the piece for the lifestyle it represents" 
Image via Pearson School of Design Blog
The Westin Hotel hosted a Fashion open hour on their third floor with a transcendental/modern recharge room where coffee and charging stations powered up cell phones and attendees alike. The panel here focused on the importance of knowing your customer. The question on the line was; had big retailers lost their ability to connect emotionally with their brands personality and customers? Talk on how Nike went from a strictly athletic, non fashion brand- to now allocating great time and money to building within the fashion world was a hot topic.   From here we wondered in on one of the 4 presentation rooms where we found Kendall Marie Warson and her project SensoryTT. Her display was selected by the Parsons School of Design, where she attends, to showcase her innovation here. The passionate graduate student designed her collections for the independence of people with visual impairments. Her jacket, Sensory (which is part of a larger collection), is designed with several adaptations to heighten the tactile and auditory awareness of wearers, allowing them to be more in touch with their surroundings. It includes a braille system that allows the wearer to identify the garment; cuffs and flaps that adjust up and down, and an embedded cane, that is used to detect objects in the path of a wearer; and large pockets that allow easy access. Fashion is a form of self-expression,” Warson says. “To not understand color and patterns, people with visual impairments lose so much independence. I want them to get that back and to feel a sense of empowerment.” via blogs.newschool.edu/news/2016/03/
Image via Pearson School of Design Blog
In traditional SXSW fashion we digested the info for the days great panels with a nice cold alcoholic beverage, courtesy of the open bar at SxStyle. We were of to  let the knowledge settle with stops at pop up lounges, showcases, and parties to boot.
Next morning we got the Zen like start we needed with some Virtual Reality meditation following a key note on Mapping out Emotion and how it relates to music. Eric Rodenbeck's team and the Dalai Lama worked to analyze the major moods which they paired into five categories Fear, Excitement, Sadness, Joy, and Disgust this also tinseled into Peter Swearegen Mappable Music maps which allows visual directories for music in form of game-like maps. The next amazing key note included friends of artist we admire, who are also play the key roles of A&R. The panel spoke on the "Future of A&R in Hip Hop" and had representatives form all-star acts like Jay-Z, J.Cole, Fabolous, Jene Aiko there was some great back and forth between these iconic leaders who helped manage and shape some of our favorites today. Legendary Rocnation's Lenny "Kodak Lens" Santiago spoke on making sure your artists wants it bad enough before you make the investment of repressing them. Ibrahim "Eebs" who manages J.Cole explained the sense of vision that artists who are multifaceted have, "If your artist can produce and rap, even if he's working with outside talent, it cuts the time and increases fluidity when creating new music or building on the artists' brand."  Jewels on jewels on jewels!
The next panels seemed to give us a guideline as to where we should focus our attention during South By's hectic happenings.  One comment in particular from Deigo Figueroa, who spoke on a panel about building brands within culture, struck a chord "Expose yourselfs to stuff that is outside of your daily sphere because that's where interesting ideas can come through your filters. If you're in music go see so weird tech stuff. If you're in tech go see some of the movie premiers." He set the audience off with something to act on knowing that many of these disciplines focus only on their craft or industry when they should be out there exploring outside sources of stimulations to add to their experience.
We made our way to the Sparks Capital one small business house later in the week. This hidden gem sits right on 6th Street between the daily ratchetness and downtown madness as an AirBnB rental which Capital One's hosted guests with drinks, food, and walls lined with story board drawing for their small business panels and networking. The presentation we saw was with the founder of Chubbies Shorts, Tom Montgomery, who explained how the brand "disrupted" the fashion industry. Chubbies created a strong relationship to their followers who were more than proud to show off their "Chubbies" via a lively and involved community of weekend warriors who related to the companies ideals. The take away here; brands should start a conversation with their audience in order to achieve an emotional reaction "If you can sit in front of a camera and talk for 5 minutes without boring your intended audience thats when you truly know them - you may hire a team to work on your business at this point. Otherwise go back to the drawing board".
Chubbies gained its momentum by starting controversy with its name and going by its own rules. The brand began after some friends, who were tired of the corporate suit and tie world, made some fun shorts as a brotherhood like stamp that they wore on the weekends. Their shorts would start conversations and they found a demand for people wanting to join in on the fun and weirdness of the shorts. Soon there after they began producing great, engaging, and funny content that became viral on social media and they grew into what Tom describes as a 2 part business; creating content and selling product. This simple prescription put things into perspective for us here at IE and the discussion drove it home with this quote: "As long as you give your community a reason to root for the underdog they will." The examples of how they made a hilarious MARIO CARTS video viral and the attention to detail was fascinating and insightful for the many entrepreneurs in the room.Image via Capital One Instagram
The next major stop was the famous Fader Fort. What the Fort seem to lack in activities it made up for in the quality of their first day exhibitors, from funny improve stage show with Cipher Sounds to Music making gloves and more, all on the house. On stage, before the music, we saw artist Yung Jake displaying his incredible emoji portrait skills. He asked an audience member to choose an icon and completed the image right before our eyes and concluded by emailing the art to the lucky attendee that requested the portrait. Next we headed to the juice bar and embroidery station where one could get a simple custom embroidery on SXSW branded bandanas and enjoy a delicious healthy smoothie. 
Now that we had downed our vitamins for the day we hit up the Fader open bar and strolled over to a virtual reality set up. We spoke with photographer Ruvan's who's work varies from National Geographics commissioned School Yearbook of Afghanistan Grade School to his project on display, "Unstitched" - a VR experience of a live photoshoot that takes the viewer into the middle of the fashion action. Ruvan also exhibited various print out portraits and encouraged guest to take one, as students of photography we gladly snatched out picture of choice, thanks Ruvan! Another cool new company making its debut at The Fader was Off Top app, it allows you to rap over beats submitted by various producers and makes networking easier between artists and producers in addition to offering a fun way for you wanna be rappers to give your flow a go and share with friends. The app has a super dope interface and is based here in Austin, Tx! 
Birds Barbershop hooking up free Fader designs.
Photography by Ruvan
Cipher Sounds at the T8 Gloves wearable Gestures as sound Technology.
Throughout the week we were blessed with the company of our friends Dj Bounz and OG. Checking out multiple showcases by the Texas Scratch League we were able to get reenergized with some local flavor and brainstorm our plans for SX and beyond. Be sure to check out the On Mindset podcast and the Risk Happy movement from these inspiring Austin locals we are proud to call our friends.
Now It would not be Austin and the SXSW full experience without some good food. Throughout the week we enjoyed the South Bites food truck extravaganza and were very impressed by Odd Duck's vegan sampler and the energy and delicious Asian Fusion from the Carolinas own Roti Rolls, definitely must tries if you get the chance. With a tummy full of food truck delicacies we wanted to get off our feet, lucky for us the Film portion of the festival was happening and there was  some big screen and comedy action for us. Austin's own Richard Linklater Dream is Destiny documentary premiered this year. The famous director and producer of films like Slacker, Dazed & Confused, School of Rock, and many more, discussed how he came to the once quaint town of Austin and began his creative projects in film; making waves by standing out in a world dominated by large studios and succeeding at various levels in the film industry. Judd Apatow and Friends had a stand up showcase with various comics including Robert Klein, Nate Bargatze, and Hannibal Burress a totally hilarious showdown with boucoup Bill Cosby impersonations at the legendary Paramount Theater.

 
Upon leaving the theater it was clear this was the first time of relaxation we've had from what seemed to be a nonstop, show to show, panel to panel two week run. This got the engines turning and the ideas a-flowing on what would come next after SX so we soaked up the rest of the festivals good vibes with a vision in mind of what would come next for IE.
Up Close and personal at The Woodies, Jack Garratt brought Anderson Paak on and we hooked up the talented bloke with an Art Never Sleeps Pocket Square he humbly accepted, thanks Mate!
Kevin Garrett Soulfoul Sounds at Pandora Stage
Image via Missio Facebook
Austin Local Missio prescribing the ATX vibes at The Blind Pig 
Enjoying some amazing Art by Santana at Old School Bar
Robot Dance at the Tech Tradeshow in The Austin Convention Center
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Second Annual "Live at the BBQ" Mass Appeal Madness with 2 milly, Mannie Fresh, BasBuckshot, Smif & WessUn, Black Moon,Sean P bday celebration & DUCK DOWN RECORDS family reunion, Large Professor from Main Source, Yo Gotti, Trae Tha Truth pre Wyclef, DJ Kahled, Bun B, 2Chainz, & Nas  1991 who premiered New Track with JDIlla “The sickness”. 
 
Bas and the Dreamville team at The Belmont
In closing SXSW 2016 we saw various shades of uniqueness, inspiration, and changes not unlke our crazy weather the scene out here changed daily but it was all very inspiring. Each panel, demo, or performance had its own flavor or a different style yet the most important take away of this years festival was in realizing the similarity that is the lives of every single person we got to interact with or see in passing. All the knowledge and advances and parties are part of a bigger human need we all have and that at a human level we all have the same story in a sense; we all want to enjoy life, we all have fears, aspirations, we all have people we admire and people who depend on us. Everyone was coming for their own reasons, for their own purpose to an extent but seeing that we are each others counterparts can be so powerful. In remembering that each day everyone is on their journey and having awareness of your path while learning about what others' might makes the experience as a person or business to serve your community more rewarding. We look forward to next SXSW with the intention of building our story as these great teachers we met during the festival have built theirs and by looking at our culture, city, and neighbors not as statistics but humans who provide so much we can use as insight and info on how to benefit them- in business and personal generosity this is how impact is made, heres to SXSW 2016!
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