"Absolutely unmixed attention is prayer."
-Simone Weil
"I have found that all ugly things are made by those who strive to make something beautiful, and that all beautiful things are made by those who strive to make something useful."
-Oscar Wilde
"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete."
-R Buckminster Fuller
"One’s destination is never a place but a new way of seeing things."
-Henry Miller
"Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.
"I should say: the house shelters day-dreaming, the house protects the dreamer, the house allows one to dream in peace."
-Gaston Bachelard
"We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down."
-Kurt Vonnegut
"The future is already here––it's just not evenly distributed"
-William Gibson
"Happiness is not about more––it's about less"
-Anthony Douglas Williams
"We've multiplied our possessions but reduced our values. We've learned how to make a living, but not a life."
-George Carlin
"We are buried beneath the weight of information, which is being confused with knowledge; quantity is being confused with abundance and wealth with happiness."
-Tom Waits
"Painting is easy when you don't know how, but very difficult when you do."
-Edgar Degas
"In most large houses, the table furniture, the
cooking materials and utensils, the sink, and the eating-room, are at such distances apart, that half the time and strength is employed in walking back and forth to collect and return the articles used. "
-Catharine Beecher
"Une maison est une machine-à-habiter."
-Le Corbusier

It was an astounding experience to be invited to attend President Barrack Obama’s SXSL event at the White House.

Hopefully I can put down some salient thoughts about it at some point after it’s all percolated enough. Inspired by SXSW, the President decided to host a festival at The White House that was part maker faire, part activist showcase, part live concert, part policy discussion.

The White House seems kind of humble when viewed from Pennsylvania Avenue, so I was caught by surprise at how stately and majestic it appears from the South Lawn. Even the much maligned Eisenhower Executive Office Building looks pretty good from that perspective.

I was also surprised by the incredible intelligence and dedication of White House staffers and pretty much everyone I met working in the Obama administration. I guess the political news cycle can be so numbing that it’s easy to lose sight of how many wickedly smart people are busting their asses every day to make the government work better. I was especially impressed by the work done at the US Digital Service, headed up by the deeply inspirational Megan Smith, Chief Technology Officer for, well, the nation.

Not as surprising was that the festival itself was pretty great. Meeting community leaders from all around the country and interacting with stunning innovations was downright dreamy. Also the bands, panel discussions, and Congressman John Lewis admonishing everyone to “make more trouble!” was all pretty awesome.

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