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Among the cynicism and complaining that usually accompanies conferences of its size, SXSW manages to deliver a healthy dose of inspiration. Tina Roth Eisenberg gave a keynote address that quickly became one of this year’s highlights. Growing up in mountainous Switzerland, and being influenced by renowned Swiss design and “a lot of fresh air”, Eisenberg moved to New York and began establishing various businesses despite the uncertainty that surrounded the onset of her life in the Big Apple.
Often referred to as “SwissMiss,” she now runs a popular design blog out of Brooklyn, New York, which has an audience of 1.3-million monthly unique readers from all over the world and was chosen to feature on The Times Top 50 design blogs.
Eisenberg also runs a Brooklyn-based collaborative workspace called Studiomates, organises a monthly lecture series titled Creative Mornings (a breakfast talk given by a respected figure in the industry) and she also invented the to-do app called TeauxDeux. Added to that list, she also started a temporary tattoo shop called Tattly that has taken off to the point where celebrities love it.
The core belief in Eisenberg’s life is: “taking your side projects seriously will lead to your success.” It’s one of the 11 values and rules by which she lives her life, and she imparted her passion and knowledge through her keynote address, outlining how they work in both her professional and personal life as a wife and mother of two (she has a great Tumblr dedicated to her son’s tantrums.
1. Invest your life in what you love
Eisenberg has placed her time and energy into a number of various side projects that have turned out to be successful, and she’s done it on her own terms.
2. Embrace enthusiasm
Eisenberg is known among her team for being super enthusiastic and isn’t afraid to show it, whether it’s through excited dances upon receiving good news or keeping an idea going until it’s fully realized.
3. Don’t complain, make things better
This attitude is the reason that Eisenberg started her temporary tattoo company Tattly, after she became frustrated with the poor quality of the temporary tattoos her daughter was wearing. Rather than complain, she made her own solution.
4. Trust and empower
Eisenberg has a team of people whose input she deeply values, and she calls them her “Swiss Army.”
5. Value experiences over money
She says she chooses to make decisions on what she will get out of the experience rather than the money she will receive from it. “Money is not my driving force. By concentrating on being authentic it comes on its own. A labour of love always pays off.”
6. Surround yourself with like-minded people
Eisenberg asked her team why they work for her rather than Google, and they essentially value meaning over money. “Real connections are not made from behind a computer screen.”
7. Collaborate with these like-minded valuable people
Eisenberg’s Creative Mornings and StudioMates are both places where sharing and collaboration are encouraged. Creative Mornings take place now in nearly 50 cities around the world, and StudioMates started with four people and now hosts 40, many of whom she’s worked with on new ideas, including the To-Do list app called Teaux-Deaux.
8. Ignore “haters”
The Swiss Miss believes in not giving haters any time or energy. “There’s a line between those who create things and those who destroy them. You have to figure out which side you’re on”
9. Make time to think and breathe
Eisenberg consciously schedules in time to take a time-out: “Wonderful things can happen when your brain is empty.”
10. If an opportunity scares you, take it
Eisenberg is a big advocate of overcoming the fear. She was once in invited to talk on the same panel as one of her heroes but didn’t feel like she was ready for the opportunity, yet she threw herself in and ended up winning compliments from him and everyone else in the audience.
11. Be someone’s eccentric aunt
Eisenberg believes in stroking the flames of craziness that set her apart from others, embracing her eccentricities and letting others tell stories about them.
Before ending, Eisenberg left the audience with one of the her favourite quotes as a summation of her life’s philosophy: “Whatever you are, be a good one” – Abraham Lincoln.