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XOXO Festival 2013: They did it again

They did it again.

That is really all that has to be said. They did it again, and somehow improved upon last year to make something even more special.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, take a look at my post from last year. Andy Baio and Andy McMillan once again put on XOXO, the life changing festival in Portland, OR. They filled each and every badge-wearing attendees weekend with inspiring talks, video games, tabletop games, movies, concerts, and more.

From the second you pick up your wood-engraved badge, you know you are in for an unparalleled experience. Whether it was playing Johann Sebastian Joust (this time with armies), playing Cards Against Humanity, or watching clips from Stripped, the festival events were once again spectacular.

Then of course there was the conference. From Vi Hart's talk, which had everyone clapping their hands and singing, to Cabel Sasser's talk, which left the crowd in tears, every speaker had a wonderful story to tell and none disappointed. If you didn't leave jealous, um I mean *inspired* and ready to make your dreams come true (thanks Tim Schafer) well then you must be dead inside, because it was something truly magical.

Among others, Mike Rugnetta spoke rapidly and brilliantly, Vi Hart blew our minds and then performed, Jonathan Coulton gave us a pep talk and said that we’re doing it right, Christina Xu gave a great talk with a bit of a different perspective, Jack Conte told of us his successes and mistakes, Max Temkin told his origin story that made me tear up multiple times, Tim Schafer explained how we should replace the word ‘jealous’ with ‘inspired’ in our lives, Marco Arment revealed his latest project, Maciej Ceglowski was fantastic, and Cabel Sasser told us to make him proud.

I also had the pleasure of meeting and talking with some of my idols. I posed in front of rainy windows with Vi Hart. Tim Schafer ripped my jacket off so we could show off our matching shirts for a photo. Seriously.

See that’s the amazing thing. For me, the most incredible thing about XOXO is the feeling of equality. I’ve been to a lot of conferences and festivals, but none have felt so open. There are always tiers of people in attendance, gate keepers, more successful individuals, etc., but with XOXO you don’t get any of that. I felt totally comfortable eating lunch with and shooting the breeze with lead creators of the internet world.

Once again, I’m inspired, amazed, and in wonder of all that I’ve experienced over the past weekend, and have fresh ideas of what to do with my future.

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