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10 Characteristics of Really Interesting People

Illustrator Jessica Hagy spoke to a room of 200 or so SXSW attendees this afternoon about how not to be boring.
Jessica Hagy speaking at Pop!Tech 2007.
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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: 

   Adventurous
   Generous
   Active
   Strange
   Caring
   Humble
   Daring
   Original
   Brave
+ Self-assured
   ---------------
   Interesting

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.

Last updated: Mar 8, 2013

ALLISON FASS | Staff Writer | Deputy Editor, Inc.com

Allison Fass is deputy editor of Inc.com. A longtime business journalist at Forbes and The New York Times, she has also held roles in venture capital and innovation at Hearst Interactive Media and digital strategy at a start-up consultancy.




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