It all started with a conversation about financial strategy. Which led to a vineyard tour in Sonoma County, a published book, a trip planned to Austin, a pandemic, another trip planned to Austin, and then opening the Podcast Stage at South by Southwest.
The Journey to Austin
Over the years, a dynamic friendship formed between three hilarious, humble and authentic individuals. The journey began when Meghan Phillips, founder and CEO of Honey, connected with Jason Blumer, a brilliant accountant and owner of Blumer CPAs. Jason then connected Meghan with Adam Davidson, NPR’s Planet Money co-founder and New Yorker Economist, and the rest is history.
These three bonded over Adam’s book, The Passion Economy, in which Meghan and Jason both serve as critical examples of Adam’s idea of the passion economy. “The economy is bananas, scary even. But some people are thriving” and his book outlines how this is so. Through expert storytelling, we’re able to learn from ordinary folks, entrepreneurs like Meghan and Jason, about how to find success at the intersection of profitability and passion.
Once The Passion Economy was published, we celebrated by purchasing copies and sharing with everyone we knew, and even those we didn’t know. We had the wild idea to pitch Adam, Meghan and Jason as a panel at South by Southwest, a conference and festival that celebrates tech, music, film, education and culture all in one place – the city of Austin.
The Passion Economy panel was invited to take the stage at SXSW in March of 2020, and the team here at Honey nearly fell off our chairs when we found out Meghan would be speaking at one of the most recognized conferences of our era. Just days before our departure for the conference, life as we knew it changed when COVID-19 came into our lives. As we settled into our new Work From Home office set-ups, we tucked away our excitement to cheer on Adam, Meghan and Jason on the stage at SX. Until they decided to throw their hat in the ring one more time.
In fall of 2021, the idea of the passion economy felt more relevant than ever, as the economy was beginning to recover from the fallout of the global pandemic, with passion, of all things, as the driving force for success. With the panel re-submitting their pitch, we had our fingers crossed for a second invitation to Austin in 2022.
Hitting the Stage
On March 13, 2022 Meghan Phillips joined Adam and Jason on the podcast stage at SXSW. Their conversation focused on the rigor needed to pursue passion in the value economy, and the importance of masterful storytelling. They talked about their professional journeys, the realities of owning a business, and the grit required to reach profitability while pursuing passion.
It was a fun conversation, in which Adam moderated a thoughtful and insightful discussion with these two. Give their live podcast a listen – it’s best told in their voices.
The Passion Economy on the podcast stage at SXSW 2022.
Also, do yourself a solid, and order The Passion Economy, you’ll be glad you did.
What We Heard from Other Sessions
I had the honor of joining Meghan in Austin, and it was a life giving experience. I walked away with what felt like a lifetime’s worth of insight, new experience, and inspiration.
Beyond The Passion Economy, we were humbled to wander the streets of Austin, popping between the Convention Center and various activated spaces throughout the city, to catch sessions, workshops and art installations. If we weren’t tuning in for a culture track on Design Leadership: Creativity Driving Business, led by Katrina Alcorn of IBM, Christie Dames of Tech/Talk Studio and Sandy Fershee of Ford Motor Company, we were power walking in our white tennis shoes + blazers to listen in on Diversity Drives Profit: Investing in Cannabis with a panel made up of Christine De La Rosa of The People’s Group, Christina Hollenback of Impact Investor, Frederika McClary Easley of The People’s Ecosystem and Kelly Perrez of Cannabis Doing Good / The Cannabis Impact Fund.(These women were powerhouses!)
Top takeaways from our favorite tracks
(this just skims the surface)
01 – Workplace inclusivity is essential. Period.
02 – Burnout is real. And burnout is not the only way.
03 – Designing for the future requires creative problem solving + critical thinking.
01 – Invest in diversity.
02 – We are consuming and buying with ease, but is it sustainable for our planet?
Meghan and I would divide and conquer between Culture, Design, Cannabis, Consumer Packaged Goods sessions and exhibits. We’d take notes, furiously scribbling in our Moleskine notebooks, and compare insights and favorite stories over a glass of wine, bellied up to a bar. We’d conspire on how we would share everything we learned from a week’s worth of brilliant sessions with everyone we knew. We’re still figuring that out, but this is a start.
Being our first trip to SXSW, we had our eyes open to experience the culture, creativity, and human interactions in a world slowly emerging from a pandemic. We took our lessons learned, both from taking the stage, and being amongst the audience, and began plotting next year’s trip to Austin. Starting with the fact that it is, in-fact, dubbed “South By” (written “SX”) rather than “South by Southwest”. Now we know.
PS – we love food + traveling
Don’t get us wrong, we walked more than 20,000 steps a day, hustled between sessions and installations, which means we also ate. And I mean ATE. One of Meghan’s hidden talents is developing personally curated travel guides for her favorite cities, including Austin. We planned ahead, made a few reservations, and celebrated one of our favorite things on earth: good food and good drinks. Check out a list of our must try finds below, and keep your fingers crossed Honey’s next blog post is a Miniseries: City Guides by Honey with more goodies like this (hint hint @ Meghan)
Food + Drink
Natural wine, dinner under oak trees. This restaurant blew us away. Make a reservation after sunset.
Sit at the bar, ask for a Manhattan, and order steak frites. You won’t be disappointed.
Elizabeth Street Cafe
The cutest Vietnamese cafe and French bakery. Dreamy seating inside, outside, at the bar. No matter where you sit, the experience will be as beautiful as the food.
Joann’s Fine Foods
We love a perfectly branded restaurant, and Joann’s makes you feel right at home. Located on adorable South Congress street, perfect for after brunch window shopping.
Terry Black’s BBQ
Texas BBQ. Enough said.