'How XOXO Pushes the Web Forward'

Speaking of XOXO, Casey Newton of The Verge filed this report from the festival:

Portland is at ease with its own strangeness, and XOXO happily took it up a level. Andy McMillan, one of two Andys who organizes the event, calls it "a beautiful catastrophe"; the other, Andy Baio, prefers "consensual hallucination." It took place at the Redd, an abandoned iron works in east-central Portland recently converted into an events space. The Andys had the exterior painted with murals, then surrounded it with food carts, rental drones, and a library of old photography equipment. Nearby blocks played host to rock concerts, a film and animation series, an evening of storytelling, and an indie arcade. During the conference portion of the event, mostly independent writers, artists, and other makers of web culture step forward to confess their biggest problems. Between talks, everyone hugged. XOXO is an embrace of independence and creativity, but it’s also a rejection: of soulless day jobs in corporate America; of the received wisdom of the TED talk; of the glib startup hucksterism of TechCrunch Disrupt. Rachel Binx, a designer who specializes in data visualization, gave a talk about how freelance culture-making can leave you perpetually on the brink of financial ruin. She illustrated her point with a looping GIF of a dolphin rising out of the water only to splash down in the jaws of a shark. In this world there is no safety net. "Be your own fucking hero," she said.