The best SXSW Panel: Collaboration is the way of the Net, w/ Allee WIllis Kenyatta Cheese + Mary Jo Pehl

This was my 13th SXSW and this was the most thought and heart-provoking panel I’ve done yet for me personally. The room was almost completely “old timers” (we’re not actually that old, just on the web) and so we went pretty deep, eventually ending up in a place that made me question whether or not money itself would change. WIl we really need it if we fluidly make together and continue the current vector of open making? How will we make it if not?

The audio podcastof the conversation. I’d embed it if SXSW would make that possible.

Since the web began we’ve been talking about artists having a career without a label and going directly to fans. We finally have examples of this working, so what does it look like? I sat down with successful collaborating indie artists: Allee Willis (September, Boogie Wonderland, The Colour Purple, Theme from Friends over 50 million albums sold), Mary Jo Pehl (actor, Mystery Science Theatre 3000, writer RIfftrax, NPR) and Kenyatta Cheese (Know Your Meme) and the super smart room formerly known as the “audience.”

The Net links almost every form of artistic making, so it makes sense that we’re in an era of increasing collaboration and creation in many forms. We discussed how limitations and openness serve us in an era of “personal brands” and how to deal with rights, friendship and creating the best space in which to collaborate. We dug into their collaborative process in making social experiences, music, video and comedy and find out how they’ve succeeded creatively and in every other way.

Highlights that stuck with me (as I recollect them. Not direct quotes):

•My name is Kenyatta Cheese and I am of the web.

• I don’t feel that I can own anything anymore – Kenyatta

• When AOL and MySpace came along I was so upset. But I learned to get over it. It’s ego. You have to let that go to create. The web keeps encouraging you to let go of ego – early social network creator Allee WIllis

•My focus is on the process – Allee WIllis

•What do you really need money for? Will the culture

•This conversation had a major impact on my personal theme that came out of this SXSW: the difference between celebrity and software culture. Post forthcoming.

How do you know someone is a good collaborator for you? Do you think of “everyone/audience” as collaborators and if so what made that thinking happen for you?

tag: #collab