Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

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Impressions From SXSW Interactive 2012: Q&A With Mark McKinnon, Political Innovator…and The Most Interesting Man in the World!

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When I realized I had a way to reach out to and speak with Austin’s-own “political innovator” Mark McKinnon, a former Bush media strategist and longtime political maverick, at SXSW Interactive 2012 I seized the opportunity.

Mark has been a familiar part of the American political landscape for several decades, having worked for causes, companies, and candidates ranging from 2008 Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain, late former Texas Governor Ann Richards, Congressman Charlie Wilson, Lance Armstrong, Bono, and many others.

Most recently, McKinnon has served as Global Vice-Chairman of Hill & Knowlton Strategies, an international communications consultancy, and the President of Maverick Media. He is also co-founder of No Labels and serves on the Board of Advisors of Americans Elect, an organization whose stated goal is “to nominate a presidential ticket that answers directly to voters—not the political system.”

We spoke with Mark about a number of topics, not the least of which included his experiences working with Congressman Charlie Wilson, the role of social media in politics, and the opportunity Americans Elect has to alter the U.S. presidential election landscape.

The Test, The Tour, and the Tiger

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For those of you who celebrated American Independence over the long weekend, I hope you and yours enjoyed yourself and didn’t find yourself impacted by any stray fireworks.

The heat wave continued here in Austin, apparently reaching at least 105 degrees Fahrenheit in some parts of town…but that didn’t seem to put a damper on the celebration.

It certainly made for good weather to stay indoors and watch Roger Federer take his 15th Grand Slam tennis major, this time at Wimbledon.

Austin’s own Andy Roddick played an unbelievable match, pouring his heart and soul into taking on RF, but it just wasn’t to be.

Keep your chin up, Andy.  You made us Austinites incredibly proud!

And back at the ATT Congressional, just after texting Roger Federer his congrats for breaking Pete Sampras’ record of 14 tennis majors, Tiger Woods continued his reign of golf terror at the tournament he also hosts.

Upstart Anthony Kim got his wish to be paired with the Great Golf One, but then promptly watch his tied lead go promptly south as Tiger plopped one approach after the other, proving once again that golf is as much a game of strategy as it is of “grip and rip.”

When Tiger didn’t take a second shot run on the par-5 16th, a hole he eagled on Saturday — instead deciding to lay up 100+ yards out from the green — I knew it was all over but the crying, and that I was once again watching a golf maestro.

Speaking of maestros, I would be remiss in also not recognizing the comeback efforts of another Austin sports great, our own Lance Armstrong, as he returns to the Tour de France to seek his record-breaking eighth title.

After the first two stages, Lance was only 40 seconds off the pace and in a very strong tenth position, although rivaled by his Astana teammate, Levi Leipheimer.

It remains to be seen if Lance has enough stuff to take the eighth, but no matter the ultimate outcome, his continued rallying cry to continue emphasizing healthier lifestyles and cancer survivorship will echo during Le Tour around the globe.

If you want to hear directly from Lance, check out his Tour blog.

As for technology use this weekend…well, I did my level best to stay away from it, and mostly succeeded (although I do admit I’m a BlackBerry junkie on the golf course, if for no other reason than to kill time between slow holes).

As for my own golf game, I turned in an 83 in the searing heat yesterday out at Riverside, the golf course where Little Red Book golf master Harvey Penick taught the game for so many years, and where Tom Kite and Ben Crenshaw cut their golf teeth.

In 100+ degrees, I’ll take an 83 every day of the week!

Written by turbotodd

July 6, 2009 at 5:26 pm

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