SXSW Recap

11 rules for life from SXSW Interactive keynote, Tina Roth Eisenberg

11 rules for life from Tina Roth Eisenberg

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Tina Roth Eisenberg Photo by Matt McGinnis
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Tattly Tattoo Design
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austin photo set: news_matt_sxsw keynote_mar 2013_2

Known for introducing new technologies and showcasing amazing digital advances, this year’s SXSW Interactive introduced a new twist on the meaning of “interactive.” Designer and blogger, Tina Roth Eisenberg, gave a more personal meaning interactive in her keynote presentation.

Eisenberg, a hyper-kinetic entrepreneur, grew up in Switzerland, and attributes her artistic aesthetics to an unconventional aunt and minimalist Swiss design. She emphasized the role of art in her early days saying, “The Swiss dedicated the faces on their money to artists, writers, designers, and historians.”

Those influences led her to the decision to become a graphic designer. After graduating from college in Munich, she convinced her parents to let her go to New York for three months, where she immediately got a design job and never returned to Switzerland.

13 years later she has become a bit of a business incubator, running a workspace called Studiomates, organizing a multi-city lecture series called CreativeMornings. She also co-created a to-do app called TeuxDeux, and started Tattly, a temporary tattoo company. Her business empire is built in part on the success of her design blog,, that has an insanely devoted audience of 1.3 million monthly readers and serves as a platform for sharing information about her other ventures.

How does one woman do all of this, and have a family with two small children? It comes down to interactions with others.

Eisenberg shared her philosophies on integration and secrets to her success in her 11 rules for life.

1. Do what you are passionate about: Eisenberg says she doesn’t distinguish between her work and her play, which further fuels her creativity.

2. Embrace enthusiasm: She showed a video of herself doing a silly dance around her apartment to demonstrate her own enthusiasm for something as simple as making her blog more interactive.

3. Don't complain, make things better: When she is confronted with something she doesn’t like, she either lets it go or does something about it. Eisenberg shared an anecdote about her daughter bringing home temporary tattoos from a birthday party. They offended her aesthetics, so she decided to start Tattly to create temporary tattoos with art from designers.

4. Trust and empower: Let the great works of your team shine.  

5. Experience > money: Have a purpose in your life that is more important than making money. If you make the best product, the money will come. “I believe that when things fall into place it is the universe telling you to keep going,” she said.

6. Surround yourself with like-minded people: She shared examples of the synergies of creative thoughts that come about in the shared workspace, Studiomates. It started with four people and is now almost 50. That experience gave rise to her Creative Mornings monthly lecture series that started out as a small gathering in Brooklyn. It’s now hosted in 49 cities around the world, with a group starting in Austin this month.  

7. Collaborate: Working with other people can help you take an idea to a reality faster and with better results. Her app, TeuxDeux, started as an idea she shared with a friend. That friend helped her turn it into a product and now it is tremendously successful.

8. Ignore haters: ‘Nough said.

9. Make time to think and breath: Eisenberg recommends we outsource tasks that don’t make us happy and use time wisely. “Wonderful things can happen when your brain is empty.”

10. If an opportunity scares you, take it: Risks are at the heart of creativity.  

11. Be someone's eccentric aunt: Just as her aunt inspired her creativity, Eisenberg encourages others to pass on the gift.

These 11 rules are infused with healthy doses of human interaction. They are great reminders to any entrepreneur or company as ways to inspire greater results.