I just landed in Austin, and among the hundreds of speakers, workshops, and panels, one of the first that caught my eye--because, frankly, it might make for a catchy headline--was How to Be Interesting, a 20-minute presentation led by Seattle-based cartoonist Jessica Hagy, pegged to her new illustrated how-to guide with the same name.
Though that title was already taken by Hagy's 272-page book, which originated as a wildly-popular blog, there's more where that came from.
Here's what I would call Hagy's 10 characteristics of really interesting people, a boiled-down equation, followed by what she means for each:
1. Adventurous. The world outside is always HD, 3D, color, and smellavision.
2. Generous. Share what you discover.
3. Active. Even the slowest progress is progress forward.
4. Strange. Shine a spotlight on your weirdness. Get it insured.
5. Caring. If you don't give a damn about anything, nobody's going to give a damn about you.
6. Humble. Minimize the swagger. Egos get in the way of ideas.
7. Daring. Try and fail, and try a few more times.
8. Original. Hop off the bandwagon. Host a shindig of your own.
9. Brave. Grow a pair. You need to be ballsy to get it done. Ladies, yours need to be massive.
10. Self-Assured. Ignore the scolds. Boo to those who say, "Sit down. Behave yourself. Keep your head down. Get in line." It's their problem, not yours.
Who is Hagy? "I'm not a social scientist, I have no PhD in anything, I'm just a cartoonist," she admits. "These findings have absolutely no back-up."
So what's her inspiration? "I eavesdrop all the time."
On her flight down to SXSW, for instance, Hagy said she overheard a tedious conversation between a man and woman.
"She talked about herself for three straight hours and didn't ask what his name was till we landed," she says.